What should I bring to Japan?

Some packing wisdom

  1. Travel light! You will have to carry your own luggage, and you’ll regret taking an unwieldy amount. Be sure to leave space in your bags for items you want to bring back from Japan.
  2. Invest in covered luggage tags for your luggage and bags. In your carry-on bag, pack necessities for at least a two-day stay in Tokyo in case your checked baggage is lost.
  3. Practice carrying all your packed luggage ahead of time.
  4. You’ll be walking a lot in Japan, so bring a good pair (or two) of walking shoes. Sizes are generally smaller than in the U.S.; larger-sized shoes may be especially difficult to find in Japan.
  5. Keep in mind that, generally speaking, Japanese people tend to dress more conservatively than Americans.
  6. Bring heavy socks, especially for the winter months.
  7. Because of high summer humidity and the relatively few automatic dryers in Japan, bring clothes that dry easily and don’t wrinkle badly.
  8. Bring clothing appropriate to the climate in Japan. The climate may be very different from what you’re used to. Summer could be hotter and winter could be colder than where you now live.
  9. When in transit to Japan, always keep your passport, other important documents, and medication with you. Do not pack them in your checked luggage.
  10. The U.S. State Department provides a great traveler’s checklist.


  • 1 pair comfortable walking shoes
  • 1 jacket
  • 2 pairs of jeans
  • 1 dress slacks/skirt
  • 5 shirts (During hot season you may want enough spare shirts to change)
  • 2 sweaters
  • 1 pair slippers (must have for dorm)
  • 2 pairs pajamas
  • 5 pairs socks
  • 5 sets underwear
  • 1 pair gloves

Personal Items

  • Eyeglasses (and spare)
  • Contact lenses, solution (and spare)
  • Medicine plus copy of prescription
  • Toothbrush, paste
  • Motion sickness pills (if needed)
  • Travel mirror
  • Cosmetics, deodorant
  • Stationery, pens
  • Shampoo, soap
  • Hairbrush, comb


Travel Goodies

  • Travel umbrella
  • Travel first-aid kit
  • Two-prong adapter for appliances
  • Pictures, addresses, email of family, friends
  • Gifts
  • Camera and charger
  • Good map of Tokyo
  • Travel books on Japan
  • Sturdy waterproof backpack
  • Extra sheets (if staying in dorms)


Learning Tools

  • English-Japanese dictionary
  • Helpful textbook or study material you used in the past



  • Passport (keep a copy separate from original)
  • Traveler’s checks (keep copy of check #s separate from checks)
  • Airline tickets
  • Picture ID (driver’s license, student ID)
  • Credit card #s, phone #s for lost card
  • List of emergency contact #s
  • Medical info (allergies, blood type, immunization history)