What To Pack For Japan

Just a few months ago, my family was fortunate enough to take a truly memorable trip to Japan. Despite the challenge of traveling with four kids, Japan was everything we hoped it would be and more. With so much to see and do, it’s no wonder that it’s one of the most popular, family-friendly travel destinations in the world. 

There are four distinct seasons in Japan and each season has its own activities and challenges. Packing the right items is key to making your trip more exciting and less stressful. 

I spent a lot of time researching and planning what things I needed to bring to ensure we had the best time on our trip. The good news is, you don’t have to spend nearly as much time planning as I did. Today, I’m sharing a round-up of items that you’ll want to pack when you travel to Japan. 

Japan Travel Essentials

For me, the most stressful part of any trip is the packing and planning that’s required beforehand. It’s overwhelming trying to ensure you have everything you need before you go. Yet somehow, I always manage to forget at least one thing. 

If you follow this packing guide, you can rest assured that you have what you need. This way, hopefully, it will save you a load of stress, and also potentially save you money from buying random items at local convenience stores. 

What To Pack For Japan

General Packing Tips For Japan

General Packing Tips For Japan

Bring Comfortable Shoes

When deciding which shoes to pack for Japan, make sure to pack a pair of comfortable walking shoes and/or shoes that you can easily slip on and off. 

During your trip, you’ll likely visit several places that require you to remove your shoes. If you get to a place with tatami mats, you’ll want to slip off your shoes. Keep your socks on though, as it’s sometimes considered poor manners to be barefoot. 

Comfortable walking shoes are a must because cities like Tokyo and Kyoto are best explored on foot. (Check out my post on things to do in Tokyo with kids!) If you’re worried about packing dirty shoes, use a shoe bag to keep your clothes and shoes separate while traveling.

Pack Light

Easier said than done, I know, but if there’s ever a time to pack light, it’s for your trip to Japan. It’s so much easier to travel to and around Japan with a small suitcase, backpack, or duffel bag

This is especially the case if you plan on purchasing a Japan Rail Pass to take advantage of the country’s user-friendly railway networks. The train stations and train cars can get pretty crowded. It’s much easier to navigate them when you don’t have to worry about large and heavy luggage.

Keep Plenty Of Japanese Yen On Hand

While nearly everything seems to be digitized these days, Japan is still a very cash-oriented country. It’s a good idea to keep plenty of Japanese Yen on hand. You’ll still encounter a decent number of shops and restaurants that will accept your credit card or debit card, but especially in rural areas, cash is often the only option. 

If possible, get some Japanese Yen before you arrive in Japan. If you can’t, there will be currency exchange and ATMs available at the airport where you can get some. You’re better off to take care of it there though, since it’s not always easy to find currency exchanges in Japan.

Invest In Travel Insurance

It’s a good idea to purchase travel insurance anytime you travel internationally. Things tend to happen when we least expect them, including emergencies. There’s no way to plan for or prevent unexpected emergencies, but things happen. 

Travel insurance is a way to protect yourself from the hassle of trips canceled by unforeseen circumstances. 

Pack International Travel Essentials

These are items I consider essential to pack anytime you travel, especially when you visit Japan:

What To Pack For Winter In Japan

Waterproof Insulated Winter Coat

It can get pretty cold in Japan during the winter. Depending on which parts of the country you plan to visit, you’ll want to pack enough of the right clothes to keep you warm, especially if you’re going to spend a decent amount of time outside. 

Arguably the most important thing you can pack to wear in Japan in the winter is a good-quality waterproof insulated winter coat.

Winter Clothing

A good coat will help keep you warm, but don’t forget to pack all the other cold-weather clothing you’ll need for an enjoyable trip. For winter in Japan, I recommend packing:

  • Winter knits or thermals
  • Layering tops (both lightweight and heavier options)
  • Winter hat or beanie
  • Scarf
  • Waterproof walking shoes or winter boots
  • Warm socks
  • Jeans
  • 1-2 outfits for special occasions
What To Pack For Spring in Japan

What To Pack For Spring In Japan

Warm And Cold Weather Clothing

Mixed and matched clothing is the key to enjoying a trip to Japan in the spring. At the start of spring, the weather tends to be chilly with a few warm days mixed in. But closer to summer, the temperatures start to rise, calling for more breathable, lightweight clothing.

For spring in Japan, I recommend packing:

  • Lightweight waterproof jacket
  • Comfortable walking shoes
  • Lightweight sweaters
  • Jeans
  • Lightweight, breathable pants
  • Comfortable sleepwear
  • 1-2 outfits for special occasions

Allergy Medicine

Depending on where you’re traveling from, you might think you will be escaping seasonal and environmental allergies. If this is the case for you, you might be surprised if you’re visiting Japan in the spring. Spring is Cherry Blossom season, which means if you’re allergic to pollen, you’re going to want to have plenty of allergy medicine on hand. 

What To Pack For Summer in Japan

What To Pack For Summer In Japan

Light, Breathable Layers

Light and breathable clothing is essential for a trip to Japan in the summer, as it can get pretty hot and humid during the day. But layers are just as important because it often gets chilly in the evenings. Make sure your packing list includes:

  • Lightweight t-shirts
  • Shorts, pants, or skirts (made from a breathable material)
  • Dresses
  • Long-sleeved tops or lightweight sweaters for the evenings
  • Comfortable sleepwear
  • 1-2 outfits for special occasions

Raincoat Or Travel Umbrella

Summer is the rainy season in Japan. If you don’t want to get caught in a rainstorm or be forced to stay inside until the rain stops, pack a lightweight raincoat or a compact travel umbrella.

Swimwear & Beach Essentials

If you’re visiting parts of Japan near the coast, you’ll want to pack swimwear. I recommend one-piece swimsuits over bikinis. 

Also, be sure to pack beach essentials like sunscreen and a sun hat if you plan on spending a good amount of time in the sun. 

Comfortable Shoes

As I mentioned earlier, you’ll want to pack a comfortable pair of shoes that you can easily slip on and off. To accommodate the sweltering heat and humidity in Japan during the summer, pack a pair of hiking sandals. Just don’t forget socks! ‘

What To Pack For Autumn In Japan

Plenty Of Layers

Japan experiences a wide range of temperatures and weather conditions during autumn, depending on whether you’re visiting closer to summer or winter. Regardless, packing plenty of layers is crucial to being prepared for your fall trip to Japan. 

Your autumn Japan trip packing list should include:

  • T-shirts
  • Long-sleeved tops
  • A warm coat
  • Sweaters (at least one light and one heavy sweater)
  • Jeans
  • Comfortable boots
  • Warm socks
  • Comfortable sleepwear
  • 1-2 outfits for special occasions

Raincoat Or Travel Umbrella

Although you probably won’t encounter as many rainstorms during the autumn as you would during the summer, it’s better to be prepared. Pack a waterproof jacket or raincoat and an umbrella to stay dry. 

Japan Packing List

Japan packing list all seasons
What essential items do you make sure to pack when you travel internationally?

My hope is that this packing guide covers just about everything you could need for a delightful trip to Japan. But I also know that what I consider essential, may not be as important to everyone else. Is there an essential item that I didn’t mention that you always pack? Tell me in the comments!

If you’re interested in reading about a family-friendly activity to do while you’re in Japan, check out my post on the Pokemon Cafe Tokyo.

Then, for more travel tips, family vacation ideas, and all things motherhood, head over to the blog.

Join the Conversation

Keep Reading

View more
This error message is only visible to WordPress admins
There has been a problem with your Instagram Feed.