Japan Travel Prep Guide! A Packing List for Your Trip to Japan, Everything You Need Before You Go, and Tips on What to Get When You Arrive

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Feeling a little lost while packing for your trip to Japan? Not sure what to bring for summer or winter? Need a travel checklist, and maybe a packing list as well? Got the basics, but not sure what you’re missing, and what to buy in Japan? Check out our little packing list for your trip to Japan!

First Things First – Musts for Japan Travel



So many of us dream of visiting Japan for years before we finally make the trip, so it's easy to fret about all the preparations necessary before you head out on your way. First, we'll start with a few things to think about in the days before you leave!

① Travel Insurance
While we all hope for the best, emergencies do happen, and when you're preparing for a long trip to Japan, you might just want a little back up in case of the worst. (As we write this article, Japan has seen a sudden rash of trip cancelations due to worries over COVID-19. Imagine the pain of those who didn't splash out for insurance right now!) In the end, whether or not it seems worth it will depend on the person and the trip, but it's something to consider.

② Pocket Wifi
You absolutely do not want to end up paying for data roaming while you're all the way in Japan! There are a few choices that will keep you connected to the world even while you're on a Japanese getaway, each with pros and cons. Travel sim cards often give you your own phone number for temporary use, which means you can make phone calls, and just generally continue to use your phone as normal. Often the best deals for internet and social media lovers, however, are pocket wifi devices. Make a reservation and you can pick up a device right at the airport, giving you all the data you could want, throughout your trip.

③ Electric Adaptors
What you need to bring to Japan will depend on your country of origin. Coming from the United States? Well, you're in luck, the plugs are the same shape, so you only need to worry about devices that use a lot of power at once. For those coming from Europe or other parts of the world, the plug shapes and voltage are likely to be different, so make sure you grab an adaptor before you go!

④ Chargers, Backup Batteries, Mobile Batteries
Simple enough – we all use a lot of electronic devices these days, so don't forget your charger or run out of power halfway through the day!

⑤ Transportation Passes & Advance Tickets
During your travels, you might just end up using services or visiting attractions with tickets that are either cheaper or actually more easily available from overseas. Japan is really accomodating to tourists, in some ways! If you're planning on taking more than one trip on the shinkansen (bullet train), look into the JR Pass before arriving. If you're more of a Ghibli Museum kind of person, or perhaps you're looking forward to a theme park or two, check out the ticket situation as far in advance as possible!

While You’re Traveling

While we all know to bring some shirts and some shoes (comfy ones, hopefully!) for the trip, we want to tell you what you'll probably want to bring with you every day during your travels!

Our choice for carrying all the necessary travel items all day? Naughtiam (check out their stuff here). It's a Japanese accessory brand that sells backpacks, bags, pouches, coin purses, wallets, and more, which makes it easy to organize all your stuff!



And, first things first, we really recommend you pick up a good backpack for your time in Japan! They can be used as convenient carry-ons on the plane, sure, but they also slide seamlessly into the role of "everyday bag" for many travelers. Japan is pretty low on pickpocketing, so you can safely stash your wallet and other necessities on your back without much worry.



If you take your social media really seriously (thinking about vlogging your experiences in the land of the rising sun?), you might just become dependant on a bag organizer like this one. It's a computer/tablet case with pockets for all the cords and batteries (and maybe even gopros) that you need to pack alongside.



Stay organized, and make life simple for yourself. So convenient!



One important tip that tourists somehow often miss: you must carry your passport with you at all times in Japan! It's not only an important ID, but it's illegal not to have it with you. Plus, you need your passport to get tax-exempt discounts.



Which is why it's good to have a travel wallet that holds your passport and credit cards. Again, you're unlikely to get your pockets picked, but a subtle design like this one isn't a bad idea. And staying organized, so you don't lose your passport by accident, is even more important.



Often, one of the hardest things for foreign visitors to adjust to in Japan is the cash culture. Things are changing pretty rapidly, but especially in rural Japan, cash is still king! And that means you get a lot of coins back from just about every transaction. Trust us, these coins are worth something, don't go ignoring them or even throwing them away! Stash them in a little coin purse so you'll remember to actually use them during your next purchase.



Got any daily meds? Need a little first aid kit that won't take up too much space in your bag? We recommend grabbing a little pouch like this one for things like painkillers and bandages, so you don't get stuck with a frustrating headache or a painfully rubbing shoe!

Gear up at Naughtiam



As we mentioned, here at JAPANKURU we're fans of Naughtiam, because it's really one of the best places in Japan to get bags, wallets, and other accessories of all kinds. They sell a pretty wide variety of popular brands, but they also produce their own items out of high quality materials like Italian leather. Swanky!





If you're looking for something that won't just be convenient during your trip, but an item you'll want to keep as a memento for years to come, check out their wallets! They've got some pretty cool options, from tiny little wallets that still hold everything you need, to larger items that act as canvases for some very cool art from Japanese illustrator Koichi Matsuda, based on Japan's world heritage sites (grab yourself a Mt. Fuji wallet before you go home)!



You can even customize some of the leather items, getting them stamped with your name or initials.

If you're interested in the brand, and thinking about picking up a travel bag for your trip or a sleek wallet or two while you're in Tokyo, just drop by Akihabara and head into the Yodobashi Camera store in front of Akihabara Station. Then get right back to sightseeing in this unique part of Tokyo!

Naughtiam Yodobashi Akiba Branch
Yodobashi Akiba 7F, 104 Kanda Matsunagacho, Chiyoda City, Tokyo
Hours: 9:30 – 22:00
Official Webshop (jp)



Did we remind you of anything you're glad you didn't forget to prepare for your trip to Japan? Give you any useful suggestions for how to pack things up? We've got even more travel prep information in our Travel Tips for Beginners article, but do you have any packing tips that are even better? Any favorite travel gear? We'd love to hear! Let us know on twitter, instagram, and facebook!

Details

NAME:Naughtiam (Yodobashi Akiba Branch)

MAP

ADDRESS:

Yodobashi Akiba 7F, 104 Kanda Matsunagacho, Chiyoda City, Tokyo

ACCESS:Akihabara Station

OFFICIAL WEBSITE:

https://naughtiam.com/

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・Volcom日本旗艦店東京澀谷登場 本格派滑板街頭潮流藝文新據點
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MAP OF JAPAN

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    • HOKKAIDO

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      Hokkaido (北海道) is the northernmost of the four main islands that make up Japan. The area is famous for Sapporo Beer, plus brewing and distilling in general, along with fantastic snow festivals and breathtaking national parks. Foodies should look for Hokkaido's famous potatoes, cantaloupe, dairy products, soup curry, and miso ramen!

    • Niki, in south-west Hokkaido, is about 30 minutes from Otaru. The small town is rich with natural resources, fresh water, and clean air, making it a thriving center for fruit farms. Cherries, tomatoes, and grapes are all cultivated in the area, and thanks to a growing local wine industry, it's quickly becoming a food and wine hotspot. Together with the neighboring town of Yoichi, it's a noted area for wine tourism.

    • Niseko is about two hours from New Chitose Airport, in the western part of Hokkaido. It's one of Japan's most noted winter resort areas, and a frequent destination for international visitors. That's all because of the super high-quality powder snow, which wins the hearts of beginners and experts alike, bringing them back for repeat visits. That's not all, though, it's also a great place to enjoy Hokkaido's culinary scene and some beautiful onsen (hot springs).

    • Otaru is in western Hokkaido, about 30 minutes from Sapporo Station. The city thrived around its busy harbor in the 19th and 20th centuries thanks to active trade and fishing, and the buildings remaining from that period are still popular attractions, centered around Otaru Canal. With its history as a center of fishing, it's no surprise that the area's fresh sushi is a must-try. Otaru has over 100 sushi shops, quite a few of which are lined up on Sushiya Dori (Sushi Street).

    • SAPPORO

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      Sapporo, in the south-western part of Hokkaido, is the prefecture's political and economic capital. The local New Chitose Airport see arrivals from major cities like Tokyo and Osaka, alongside international flights. Every February, the Sapporo Snow Festival is held in Odori Park―one of the biggest events in Hokkaido. It's also a hotspot for great food, known as a culinary treasure chest, and Sapporo is a destination for ramen, grilled mutton, soup curry, and of course Hokkaido's beloved seafood.

    • Consisting of six prefectures, the Tohoku Region (東北地方) is up in the northeastern part of Japan's main island. It's the source of plenty of the nation's agriculture (which means great food), and packed with beautiful scenery. Explore the region's stunning mountains, lakes, and hot springs!

    • Akita Prefecture is on the Sea of Japan, in the northern reaches of Japan's northern Tohoku region. Akita has more officially registered important intangible culture assets than anywhere else in Japan, and to this day visitors can experience traditional culture throughout the prefecture, from the Oga Peninsula's Namahage (registered with UNESCO as a part of Japan's intangible cultural heritage), to the Tohoku top 3 Kanto Festival. Mysterious little spots like the Oyu Stone Circle Site and Ryu no Atama (Dragon's Head) are also worth a visit!

    • FUKUSHIMA

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      Fukushima Prefecture sits at the southern tip of Japan's northern Tohoku region, and is divided into three parts with their own different charms: the Coastal Area (Hama-dori), the Central Area (Naka-dori), and the Aizu Area. There's Aizu-Wakamatsu with its Edo-era history and medieval castles, Oze National Park, Kitakata ramen, and Bandai Ski Resort (with its famous powder snow). Fukushima is a beautiful place to enjoy the vivid colors and sightseeing of Japan's beloved four seasons.

    • YAMAGATA

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      Yamagata Prefecture is up against the Sea of Japan, in the southern part of the Tohoku region, and it's especially popular in winter, when travelers soak in the onsen (hot springs) and ski down snowy slopes. International skiiers are especially fond of Zao Onsen Ski Resort and Gassan Ski Resort, and in recent years visitors have been drawn to the area to see the mystical sight of local frost-covered trees. Some destinations are popular regardless of the season, like Risshakuji Temple, AKA Yamadera, Ginzan Onsen's nostalgic old-fashioned streets, and Zao's Okama Lake, all great for taking pictures. Yamagata is also the place to try Yonezawa beef, one of the top 3 varieties of wagyu beef.

    • Japan's most densely populated area, the Kanto Region (関東地方) includes 7 prefectures: Gunma, Tochigi, Ibaraki, Saitama, Tokyo, Chiba, and Kanagawa, which means it also contains the Tokyo Metropolitan Area. In modern-day Japan, Kanto is the cultural, political, and economic heartland of the country, and each prefecture offers something a little different from its neighbors.

    • Gunma Prefecture is easily accessible from Tokyo, and in addition to the area's popular natural attractions like Oze Marshland and Fukiware Falls, Gunma also has a number of popular hot springs (Kusatsu, Ikaho, Minakami, Shima)―it's even called an Onsen Kingdom. The prefecture is popular with history buffs and train lovers, thanks to spots like world heritage site Tomioka Silk Mill, the historic Megane-bashi Bridge, and the Watarase Keikoku Sightseeing Railway.

    • TOCHIGI

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      Tochigi Prefecture's capital is Utsunomiya, known for famous gyoza, and just an hour from Tokyo. The prefecture is full of nature-related sightseeing opportunities year-round, from the blooming of spring flowers to color fall foliage. Tochigi also has plenty of extremely well-known sightseeing destinations, like World Heritage Site Nikko Toshogu Shrine, Lake Chuzenji, and Ashikaga Flower Park―famous for expansive wisteria trellises. In recent years the mountain resort town of Nasu has also become a popular excursion, thanks in part to the local imperial villa. Tochigi is a beautiful place to enjoy the world around you.

    • Tokyo (東京) is Japan's busy capital, and the most populous metropolitan area in the world. While the city as a whole is quite modern, crowded with skyscrapers and bustling crowds, Tokyo also holds onto its traditional side in places like the Imperial Palace and Asakusa neighborhood. It's one of the world's top cities when it comes to culture, the arts, fashion, games, high-tech industries, transportation, and more.

    • The Chubu Region (中部地方) is located right in the center of Japan's main island, and consists of 9 prefectures: Aichi, Fukui, Gifu, Ishikawa, Nagano, Niigata, Shizuoka, Toyama, and Yamanashi. It's primarily famous for its mountains, as the region contains both Mt. Fuji and the Japanese Alps. The ski resorts in Niigata and Nagano also draw visitors from around the world, making it a popular winter destination.

    • Nagano Prefecture's popularity starts with a wealth of historic treasures, like Matsumoto Castle, Zenkoji Temple, and Togakushi Shrine, but the highlight might just be the prefecture's natural vistas surrounded by the "Japanese Alps." Nagano's fruit is famous, and there are plenty of places to pick it fresh, and the area is full of hot springs, including Jigokudani Monkey Park―where monkeys take baths as well! Thanks to the construction of the Hokuriku shinkansen line, Nagano is easily reachable from the Tokyo area, adding it to plenty of travel itineraries. And after the 1998 Nagano Winter Olympics, ski resorts like Hakuba and Shiga Kogen are known around the world.

    • Aichi Prefecture sits in the center of the Japanese islands, and its capital city, Nagoya, is a center of politics, commerce, and culture. While Aichi is home to major industry, and is even the birthplace of Toyota cars, it's proximity to the sea and the mountains means it's also a place with beautiful natural scenery, like Saku Island, Koijigahama Beach, Mt. Horaiji. Often used a stage for major battles in Japanese history, Sengoku era commanders like Oda Nobunaga, Toyotomi Hideyoshi, and Tokugawa Ieyasu left their own footprints on Aichi, and historic buildings like Nagoya Castle, Inuyama Castle, and those in Meiji Mura are still around to tell the tale.

    • NIIGATA

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      Niigata is a prefecture on Japan's main island of Honshu, situated right on the coast of the Sea of Japan, and abundant with the gifts of nature. It's known for popular ski resorts such as Echigo-Yuzawa, Japanese national parks, and natural hot spring baths, plus local products like fresh seafood, rice, and sake. Visitors often spend time in the prefectural capital, Niigata City, or venture across the water to Sado Island.

    • SHIZUOKA

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      Shizuoka Prefecture is sandwiched between eastern and western Japan, giving the prefecture easy access to both Tokyo and Osaka. Not only is it known for beautiful natural attractions, with everything from Mount Fuji to Suruga Bay, Lake Hamanako, and Sumata Pass―Shizuoka's Izu Peninsula is known as a go-to spot for hot springs lovers, with famous onsen like Atami, Ito, Shimoda, Shuzenji, and Dogashima. Shizuoka attracts all kinds of travelers thanks to historic connections with the Tokugawa clan, the Oigawa Railway, fresh eel cuisine, Hamamatsu gyoza, and famously high-quality green tea.

    • Kansai (関西) is a region that includes Mie, Nara, Wakayama, Kyoto, Osaka, Hyogo, and Shiga Prefectures. Kansai contained Japan's ancient capital for hundreds of years, and it's making a comeback as one of the most popular parts of Japan. Kyoto's temples and shrines, Osaka Castle, and the deer of Nara are all considered must-sees. Plus, the people of Kansai are especially friendly, making it a fun place to hang out.

    • Kyoto flourished as the capital of Japan between the years 794 and 1100, becoming a center for poilitics and culture, and to this day it's a great place for close encounters with Japanese history. The cobbled streets of Gion, the atmospheric road to Kiyomizudera Temple, Kinkakuji's golden walls and countless historic attractions, even Arashiyama's Togetsukyo Bridge―Kyoto is a place of many attractions. With new charms to experience throughout the seasons, travelers can't stop themselves from returning again and again.

    • Nara Prefecture's important history reaches back to 710, a time now called the Nara era, when it was once capital of Japan. Called "Heijo-kyo" during its time as a capital, it's said that nara was once the end of the silk road, leading it to flourish as a uniquely international region and produce important cultural properties of all kinds. To make the most of each season, travelers head to Nara Park, where the Nara deer who wander freely, or climb Mount Yoshino, a famous cherry blossom spot.

    • Osaka is known for friendly (and funny) people, but its history is nothing to laugh at, playing a major part in Toyotomi Hideyoshi's 16th century unification of Japan. Thanks to long years of economic activity, it's one of Japan's biggest cities, and Osaka's popular food culture earned it the nickname "The Kitchen of the Nation." To this day Osaka is the model of western Japan, and alongside historic structures like Osaka Castle, it also has major shopping malls like Umeda's Grand Front Osaka and Tennoji's Abeno Harukas. Osaka is a place to eat, eat, eat, with local specialties like takoyaki, okonomiyaki, and kushi-katsu, and for extra fun, it's home to Universal Studios Japan.

    • CHUGOKU

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      The Chugoku Region (中国地方) consists of five prefectures: Hiroshima, Okayama, Shimane, Tottori, and Yamaguchi. In Chugoku you’ll find the sand dunes of Tottori, and Hiroshima’s atomic bomb site, plus centers of ancient history like Grand Shrine of Izumo.

    • HIROSHIMA

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      Hiroshima Prefecture has everything, from world heritage sites to beautiful nature and delicious local cuisine, and it's either an hour and a half from Tokyo by plane, or four hours by train. Itsukushima Shrine on Miyajima Island and the Atomic Bomb Dome, two Hiroshima UNESCO sites, are famous around the world, but in Japan it's also famous for food. Seafood from the Seto Inland Sea, especially oysters, Hiroshima-style okonomiyaki, and Setouchi lemons are all popular, and the natural scenery alone is worth seeing.

    • SHIKOKU

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      On the other side of the Seto Inland Sea opposite Japan’s main island, Shikoku (四国) is a region made up of four prefectures: Ehime, Kagawa, Kochi, and Tokushima. The area is famous for its udon (in Kagawa), and the beautiful Dogo Onsen hot springs (in Ehime).

    • Kagawa Prefecture is on the northern part of the island of Shikoku, facing Japan's main island and the Seto Inland Sea. It's known for being the smallest prefecture in Japan, by area, but at the same time Kagawa is called the "Udon Prefecture" thanks to its famous sanuki udon. Aside from Kotohiragu Shrine and Ritsurin Garden, the prefecture's small islands are popular, and Kagawa is full of unique destinations, like Angel Road. They say that if you lay eyes on Zenigata Sunae, a huge Kagawa sand painting, you'll never have money troubles ever again.

    • Located in the most southwestern part of Japan, Kyushu (九州) is an island of 7 prefectures: Fukuoka, Saga, Nagasaki, Kumamoto, Oita, Miyazaki, and Kagoshima. The island's unique culture has been influenced by Chinese and Dutch trade, along with missionaries coming in through Nagasaki's port. Modern-day travelers love the lush natural scenery and fresh food, plus the natural hot springs found all throughout the area (thanks to volcanic activity)!

    • FUKUOKA

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      Fukuoka Prefecture has the highest population on the southern island of Kyushu, with two major cities: Fukuoka and Kitakyushu. Thanks to growing transportation networks, Fukuoka is more accessible than ever, and so are the many local attractions. On top of historical spots like Dazaifu Tenmangu Shrine, travelers shouldn't miss Fukuoka's food scene, with motsu nabe (offal hotpot), mentaiko (spicy cod roe), and famous Hakata ramen―best eaten from a food stall in the Nakasu area of Hakata. Plus, it's full of all sorts of destinations for travelers, like trendy shopping centers, and the beautiful nature of Itoshima and Yanagawa.

    • KAGOSHIMA

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      Kagoshima Prefecture played a major role in Japan's modernization as a backdrop for famous historical figures like samurais Saigo Takamori and Okubo Toshimichi, who pushed Japan out of the Edo era and into the Meiji. Because of that, Sengan-en Garden is just one of many historical destinations, and when it comes to attractions Kagoshima has plenty: the active volcano of Sakurajima, popular hot springs Ibusuki Onsen and Kirishima Onsen, World Heritage Site Yakushima Island, even what Japan calls the "island closest to heaven," Amami Oshima. Kagoshima might be found on the very southernmost tip of the southern island of Kyushu, but there's plenty to see.

    • OKINAWA

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      The island chain of Okinawa (沖縄) makes up the southernmost tip of Japan, which is why it's also the most tropical area in the country. Thanks to a history of independence and totally distinct political and cultural events, Okinawa has a unique culture, and remnants of the Ryukyu Kingdom are still visible all over the islands. Food, language, traditional dress, it's all a little different! It's also said to be the birthplace of karate.

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