5 Things You Didn’t Think to Pack for Japan


It’s that time again.  In 3 days I’m leaving for  16 day trip to Japan (Tokyo, Hakone, Kyoto), Hong Kong, and South Korea.  

Not having ever been to this part of the world, I started Googling what I should pack and came across this amazing list from Lonely Planet on “The 5 Things You Didn’t Think to Pack for Japan.”  Love!

Is there anything that’s missing from this list?  Anything specific to Hong Kong or S. Korea that should go into my suitcase?  Let me know what you think!


Non-Lacing Shoes

One of Japan’s best-known customs is removing shoes upon entering a home. But a lot of other places you might visit – ryokanstemplesmuseumshistorical sites, even some restaurants – may require that you doff your footwear at the door, too. Make things easier for yourself – and save time – by forgoing those high lace-up boots for shoes that simply slip on and off, or else have Velcro fasteners.


If you’re eating out casually in Japan – in cafes, getting takeaway, etc – you’ll notice that napkins often aren’t given out to customers. It’s a good idea to carry a travel packet of tissues with you for snack times (especially if you’re travelling with kids).


Public bathrooms in Japan usually don’t have paper towels, and there are some that don’t even have hand dryers (or else there’s only one, which might mean waiting). Keep a small towel or washcloth in your bag for drying your hands after you’ve washed them. (A cool, moist towel on your neck will also help keep you cool during Japan’s hot and humid summer.)

Hand Sanitiser

Similarly, some bathrooms you encounter may not even have soap, especially on shinkansen (bullet trains). A small bottle of hand sanitiser will come in handy, even for the non-germophobes.


Even if you’re visiting outside of ‘plum rain’ season (June and July), Japan’s island-weather system means it can rain almost any time of the year. Inexpensive umbrellas are available for purchase, of course, but they don’t fold up, and you may find that a compact travel umbrella is easier to carry when the sun comes out again

Read more: http://www.lonelyplanet.com/japan/travel-tips-and-articles/37418#ixzz2MgQBSzrF

1 Comment

Filed under Asia, Hong Kong, Japan, South Korea, Travel (General)

One response to “5 Things You Didn’t Think to Pack for Japan

  1. All of those things are true, and if you stay at a ryokan they will require you to take a bath upon entering. I had the odd experience of being yelled at by a complete stranger for not taking a bath…

    Little Japanese Woman speaking through the door of my room at 10pm: “Please Sir, you have to take a baff!”
    Me: “You’re not my mother! Go away I just want to sleep!”

    True Story. Also, it’s worth deciphering the transit systems to find the best options. This website is priceless: http://www.hyperdia.com/en/

    Getting around Japan is absurdly expensive and unnecessarily complex compared to other countries, but a little prior investigation can help mitigate your losses. Look into the Japan Rail Pass if you’re going to be moving around a lot.

    If you’ve got the time, you actually get a better exchange rate on Traveler’s Checks than you do for ATMs or cash – and you’ll need a lot of cash, many places do not take credit cards.

    Your best ally in Japan is a competent person who speaks both Japanese and English. Some things just aren’t possible when you don’t know the language, but you can definitely get by (awkwardly) using only English.

    I’ve got some recommendations for Kyoto too, but I don’t want to outblog you on your own blog if you know what I’m blogging. Call me.


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