Getting ready to travel to Japan
When traveling to Japan as a student or a tourist, you’ll need to make sure you pack properly and while there are some items you might expect to pack for any trip, our Japan travel checklist makes sure that you have everything you need, especially when traveling in Japan.
Cash and Credit Card
Firstly, one of the most important things. Japan is still very much a cash-based society. This means that unlike in other countries where you might be used to paying on card for everything, you’ll need to carry plenty of cash. Even well-known chains and many restaurants won’t take a card and if they do it will be credit card only. It’s okay though because it’s so safe so people are used to carrying large amounts around with them.
This might seem obvious but it’s an easy one to forget and you don’t want to be searching around the shops when you arrive to find the right one. Japan’s power socket is only at 100VAC so you need to be sure your electrical and electronic equipment can work at this voltage level.
Whether you’re exploring the temples and shrines or just going to a fancy restaurant it’s likely you’ll be taking your shoes on and off a fair amount. So make sure you wear shoes that you can slip on and off easily so you’re not spending all your time crouched down tying and untying your shoelaces. Did you know that in Japan you can even get walking boots that have a zip to make them much easier for changing out of quickly.
The Japanese are very proud of their seasons and, in particular, the distinctiveness of them. It is claimed that there are 72 microseasons in fact. As such, you must make sure you are well prepared. Packing layers means that you can be prepared for the occasional rainstorm but won’t get too hot if things heat up a little.
Whether you’re looking to trek through Nagano Broadway for some new models or you’re exploring the hidden temples, you’ll find you do a lot of walking. Once you’ve finished the walking, there’ll be a lot of eating and in Japan that can often mean sitting on the floor. With these two things in mind, comfortable clothes are a must.
Sim Card/ Pocket Wifi
Staying connected can be useful and sometimes even a lifesaver. A local SIM Card or a Pocket Wifi will help you stay in touch throughout your trip and saves you time searching for the elusive wifi hotspot. You will, undoubtedly, be taking a lot of pictures and you’ll be wanting to make sure your friends at home are nice and jealous and a good connection means you can upload fast. It’s also helpful if you’ve been wandering the streets a bit too long and have got lost.
It’s likely that you’ll be out and about a lot as there’s a lot to do and see in Japan. Make sure you bring a portable power bank so that you don’t need to worry about getting back to your accommodation to charge your phone. You also don’t want to get lost and find you’ve run out of battery.
Japan Rail Pass
The Japan Rail Pass is a great way to explore outside of Tokyo if you’re looking to add a couple of weeks to your trip or extend your time in Japan before or after your study trip. Depending on which option you choose, you’ll be able to travel on most Shinkansen trains meaning trips to Osaka, Kyoto and beyond are a must.
If you’re staying in a homestay or you know you’re likely to be making some friends along the way, it can be a great idea to bring some gifts from your home. This way you can show your hosts that you’re familiar with Japanese omiyage culture and say thank you at the same time.
Wherever you travel, making sure you have some useful apps on your phone are a must. Whether it’s finding directions or learning the language, make sure yours are loaded up before you travel. For Japan, we recommend some useful language apps to help you decipher signs and communicate from the off. We actually have a full article on this available here but our top ones are hiragana quest (learn the basics) and google translate (you can scan signs and translate directly).
So now you’re all set for your trip whether you’re going on a study trip or just exploring the country make sure to check our handy Japan travel checklist before you go.