The Essentials for Travel to Japan
You recently booked your dream trip to Japan, and the excitement awaits! Your journey might be months away, but let’s begin with the right packing list so you are well prepared and can relax.
Below is a list of essentials, as a starting point, that you’ll want to bring along to help you prepare.
Japan allows “visa-free” entry for up to 90 days to tourists of 67 countries, including the United States. Make sure your passport is valid, and be advised that immigration and customs will deny your entry if your passport expires during the duration of your stay.
It is always a good idea to make a photocopy of your passport and store it in your suitcase (not where you store your actual passport), in case you lose your passport. In Japan, you are required to carry a passport at all times by law.
Note: this packing list is based on 7-14 days, traveling across Japan on JR Pass (similar to Quintessential Japan), the most economical and sustainable way to travel in Japan.
- One suitcase (with rollers) that you can comfortably lift.
- One day bag large enough to hold 1-2 days of clothing and essentials.
- One small purse (cross-chest)/fanny pack/belt bag that will store valuables such as your passport and wallet.
- One collapsable bag for the trip home with all the marvelous findings.
Starting in 2020, most shinkansen trains added fees for large luggage without reservation. Click here to learn more.
Luggage forwarding system
For a hassle and hand-free travel experience, try the luggage forwarding system during your trip. Simply drop off your luggage at the hotel, airport, and other venues, then receive your luggage at your next destination. It is a simple and reliable way to ship your luggage.
Packing for clothing depends on the season, duration of your trip, and destination. Below is the clothing list recommended for Quintessential Japan in spring or fall.
- 3-4 comfortable short and long-sleeve shirts.
- 3-4 short or long pants or skirts
- 1 light jacket, fleece jacket, or cardigan to keep you warm during flights, chilly nights, and early mornings.
- 1 lightweight windbreaker or rain jacket, because it rains a lot there.
- Bring a casual dress for women and a pressed shirt for men for fine evening meals and performance dinner.
- 5-6 pairs of socks and undergarments: many hotels offer cleaning services or have coin laundry services for your convenience.
- Hats and scarves are a great addition to provide protection and give warmth.
In Japan, most people dress in dressy casual (one step above casual and one step below formal): many men wear khaki and pressed pants and not many jeans or shorts. For women, skirts and casual dresses are more common than pants.
Although most hotels have nightgowns and yukata robes (cotton kimono) for you to sleep in, we suggest bringing something comfortable to slip in to help you with a good night’s sleep.
We recommend that you bring 2-3 pairs of comfortable shoes on your trip.
- One walking shoes such as sneakers (for city walking and sightseeing)
- One pair of casual street shoes or slip-on (for going out to dinners, performances, etc.). You will be asked to remove shoes upon entering some restaurants, traditional hotels, and temples.
Bring your basic toiletries such as toothbrushes and toothpaste, however, most hotels in Japan have basic toiletries at their disposal such as shampoo, body wash, hairdryer, etc. There will be many drugstores and convenience stores that sell basic toiletries so over-packing such is unnecessary.
Don’t forget to pack your medications and vitamins that you are used to taking.
For all other travel questions, visit Japan Travel Q & A.