To prepare for your upcoming Japan trip, you have to make a list of what things to pack so that you can enjoy a smooth-sailing and hassle-free journey from start to end. You have to do a lot of research in advance because you do not want to find out last minute that you have to apply for a visa to gain entry or not be allowed to board your flight as you do not have a return ticket to show your airline. So, to help you out, we have created a list of essential things that you must have before you fly to Japan:
Important Travel documents
- Passport – You have to secure a passport before your trip to Japan. Make sure that it is valid throughout the duration of your visit.
- Visa – Check if you will need a tourist visa to enter Japan. Some nationalities have to apply a tourist visa to gain entry to Japan, and others do not need one as long as they are staying for less than a specified time period. You can get in touch with the Japanese consulate in your country to find information about this.
- Plane tickets – Do not forget to print out copies of your flights and save the pdf files in your phone. You might be asked to present them when you check-in or at the immigration counter. You will also need them as reference for your flight details.
For Your Expenses
- Cash – Cash is still the most widely accepted payment method across Japan, especially at small restaurants and shops, shrines and temples, and flea markets. You can buy Japanese Yen from your bank before your trip, or exchange your foreign currency for Japanese yen upon your arrival.
- Credit cards – If you do not want to stash a lot of cash in your person, you can use your credit cards to pay for a variety of goods and services in Japan. All over the country, more and more department stores, restaurants, hotels, museums, and other attractions have started to accept credit cards as a mode of payment. Just let your credit card company know that you will be using your cards in Japan, so that they will not find it suspicious if they see your account racking up one international transaction after another.
Luggage And Clothing
- Clothes – The kind of clothes that you should pack for your trip depends on the time of the year and the region you are visiting. Spring season is from March to May, summertime is from June to August, autumn is from September to November, and winter is from December to February. However, the weather in the northern regions of the country tends to be so much different from the southern areas. For instance, in the middle of winter, Hokkaido is covered in thick piles of snow and has several below 0 days, while Tokyo and Kyoto see snow only a couple of times and have daily temperatures that hover around 0 to 5 degrees. Thus, you will need heavy winter gear if you are going to Hokkaido, and maybe a sweater and down jacket if only going to Tokyo and Kyoto.
- Shoes – The type of footwear that you should take with you also depends on what the weather conditions are and what activities you plan to do on your trip. If you will be doing a lot of hiking, you must buy a pair of hiking boots made of durable and strong material that can withstand high pressure and impact. If you are coming during the typhoon season, you might want to stick to waterproof high-cut shoes to keep your feet dry at all times.
- Bags – If you will be moving around Japan multiple times, it is best to pack light. You can get a carryon-size backpack or suitcase that you can easily take with you and store on overhead racks in trains or buses. This is especially a lifesaver during rush hours, as public transportation tends to get really packed, and finding a space for your luggage becomes almost impossible.
Electronics And Gadgets
- Smartphone – A smartphone is very valuable when touring Japan. It lets you capture the beautiful views and scenery that you visit. It allows you to connect to the internet to search for directions, translate Japanese stuff you come across, check your emails, post photos and videos to your social media accounts, and many more. It also helps you pass the time via your music playlist, downloaded movies and television series, or e-books for when you are on a long train or bus ride.
- DSLR camera – If you are into photography, taking your DSLR camera is highly recommended. You will not regret taking it with you once you see the stunning and breathtaking sites Japan has to offer.
- Battery packs or powerbanks – You need these as taking a lot of photos and videos, or activating the wi-fi drains your camera or phone battery faster.
- SIM card – If you want internet connection as soon as you land in Japan, you should order a Japan SIM card and have it shipped to your home prior to trip. With it, you can enjoy superfast 4G internet 24/7 wherever you are in the country.
Advance Reservations And Tickets
- Accommodation reservations – Just like your plane tickets, your hotel reservations are necessary when visiting Japan. Once you land in Japan, you will have to fill out a form that asks for information of your accommodations in the country. You might also have to print out copies if your hotel requires them upon check-in.
- Japan Rail Pass – You should get a Japan Rail Pass if you are planning to ride the Shinkansen at least a couple of times on your trip. You can go online to look for an authorized seller, or drop by an authorized travel agency in your country. You will receive a voucher that you must take with you to Japan, as it has to be exchanged for the actual Japan Rail Pass once you get there.
- Ghibli Museum – There are certain tourist sites and attractions, like the Ghibli Museum, which require visitors to purchase tickets a few months prior to their desired visit, as tickets are not sold at the site itself.