This is the essential Japan travel checklist of things to pack for your travel to Japan and some things to organise before going. I have spent several months in Japan in all seasons, and this is my recommendation on what to wear in Japan in spring, summer, autumn, and winter.
Depending when you go is naturally going to affect what you pack. In summer all the hiking routes are open. Autumn the weather cools, but it’s also the time of year for typhoons in parts. Winter brings on the ski/snowboard areas exploding to life.
But the cherry blossoms in spring in Japan come to life everywhere, bringing people out for several weeks to celebrate. I would say that spring in Japan is the best time to visit overall.
This post is generally for the backpacker travelling reasonably light. If you want to carry a suitcase with lots of stuff then this is not for you. If you find yourself needing to buy anything to wear or use when in Japan you will have absolutely no problem finding it there.
To make things easier I have included links to the products I personally use where you can learn more about them or purchase them.
Japan Travel Checklist
The Backpack for Japan
Take a backpack as this is the easiest to carry. I generally find that a 30 – 40 litre backpack is plenty for your basic needs.
I only used a 30 litre pack but I know some people want that little extra space. Having a small pack will save you having to pay extra on budget airlines for checking in your bag as well.
The backpack I currently use is the The North Face Recon Backpack. I find it to be very comfortable for carrying and it has pretty of organiser pockets, as well as outside pockets for storing food, water, etc.
It also is a zippered backpack which is great for staying in hostel dorms, or for general piece of mind, as you can padlock the zips together so no-one can easily access your stuff.
There is a laptop sleeve as well.
If 30 litres isn’t enough for you then take a 40 litre pack, but no more. I have used the Osprey Farpoint 40 Backpack which is a great overall travel backpack, although would not be good for long hikes.
What to wear in Japan in spring, summer, autumn, and winter
Clothes wise it depends if you will be up in the mountains or not. This as a general rule will cover the bases for most places you will go.
If you visit in summer and are planning to just visit the cities in the south then you won’t need any kind of jacket as it’s very hot.
Pack light and take maximum 2 pairs of trousers with you. I only took one pair of trousers and one pair of one pair of casual shorts. I would wash them before going to bed every few nights and they would be dry in the morning.
If you will be only in cities then don’t worry about taking rain clothing, take a compact travel umbrella instead in case it does rain.
3 pairs of socks will do the job and underwear would be your choice on what makes you comfortable.
For footwear a comfortable pair of running shoes like the Inov-8 X-Talon Unisex will be a good option. They are light and will cover most activities you would want to do. These are the shoes that I use but naturally there are many to choose from. Take your favourite runners.
That will cover you as a simple set of clothing. Again if you are visiting in winter then you should take a warmer jacket with you like the Arc’Teryx Cerium LT Hooded Jacket which is warmer then the previously mentioned Atom Lt Hoody.
As for electronics there is a lot of advice that can be given on this.
At the end of the day if you already have a camera/laptop/smartphone/tablet that you already use then just take that, don’t worry about getting new gear, unless you want to upgrade your camera gear.
If you do need to purchase electronics take a look at my longer post about what to pack for world travel where I have a detailed section on what electronics to bring that is also valid for what electronics to bring for Japan travel.
Packing For Japan Travel
This gives you a simple but good idea on what to pack.
Don’t think to much about it, just pack light with what you have and go. If you need anything extra then purchase what I have recommended on Amazon, or similar products, or buy them when in Japan.
Happy travels in Japan!
Useful Japan links:
If you want to learn more about Japan then have a look at my in-depth guide to Japan.
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