Table of Contents

28 Top Japan Packing List Items for 2024 + What to Wear & NOT to Bring

28 Top Japan Packing List Items for 2024 + What to Wear & NOT to Bring
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Japan is one of my favorite countries in the world. It has a climate, a culture, and a history all its own, so be prepared for a truly unique and memorable experience.

Most travelers to Japan do a variety of activities and the cultural etiquette is unique, so it’s important to pack smart and avoid taking anything you don’t need!

Below you’ll find what to wear in Japan, what NOT to bring, and FAQs to help you understand the local dos and don’ts. Plus, I have a bonus guide to the custom of gift-giving which may be unfamiliar to new travelers to Japan.

28 Top Japan Packing List Items for 2024 + What to Wear & NOT to Bring
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What to Pack for Japan – 28 Essentials

  • 1. Jet Lag Relief Pills

    Don’t let the long flight to Japan and time change weigh you down. Jet lag can put a serious dampener on your trip, so you should try to prevent it if at all possible. This natural jet lag relief (with no drug interactions) will help you prevent it before it happens and can also help treat it after the fact if needed.

    jet lag relief

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  • 2. Universal Power Adapter

    You can get away with plugging US-style two-pronged cords into Japanese outlets, but any devices you may bring that require three prongs (such as laptops) won’t work. It’s a good idea to bring a universal adapter to prevent any trouble and then you’ll be able to also use it if you travel to any other countries. This one works in 100+ popular countries and comes with a lifetime replacement guarantee.

    Universal Power Adapter

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  • 3. Virtual Private Network (VPN)

    Japan was ranked in the top 5 most cyberattacked nations in the world and stands out as a key target in this particular region, according to a Global Threat Intelligence Report. Hackers regularly compromise personal data in this area through payment fraud, data breaches, and IP theft. I’ve had my credit card number stolen while connected to (what I believed) was a safe connection at my Airbnb. Now, I always travel with a VPN.

    A secure network will shield your data and ensure hackers cannot access your passwords and credit card numbers. Another great use of a VPN is that Eastern countries have FAR more online censorship than Western nations. Since you could be blocked from using your favorite websites (like Netflix, YouTube, Facebook, and more) – we strongly recommend a reliable provider like NordVPN. Plans are very affordable and there’s a 30-day money-back guarantee, but I promise you won’t need it.

    Virtual Private Network (VPN)

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  • 4. Lipstick-Sized Portable Charger

    You’ll be out and about taking part in activities all day, so you really don’t want to be obligated to return to your accommodations if one of your devices runs out of “juice.” This portable charger holds a couple of charges so you can use it several times before having to plug it back in. It uses standard USB charger cables, and it can be actively charging your phone, camera, or other device even while tucked away in your bag when you’re on-the-go.

    Lipstick-Sized Charger

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  • 5. Comfortable Slip-on Shoes

    Visiting temples, homes, inns, and even restaurants will require you to take off your shoes. Since you’ll find yourself stepping in and out of your shoes a lot in Japan, it’s worth it to bring shoes that don’t require lacing up! A good thing to keep in mind is: if you see “tatami mats” on the floor, that means you should remove your shoes. (FYI, flips-flops are also a “no-no,” and it’s considered rude to go barefoot in someone’s home, so make sure you bring a pair of socks in your bag.) If you are planning to visit bigger cities like Tokyo, you will also want something super comfortable for walking.

    Comfortable Slip-on Shoes

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  • 6. Travel Insurance for Japan

    This one’s a no-brainer. I’ve had too many overseas experiences where I or my friends have had baggage stolen, hotels canceled, or had an unexpected medical emergency that otherwise would have had us paying a fortune in out-of-pocket expenses. Keep in mind that your domestic provider does not cover you overseas (including Medicare and Medicaid). Japan’s hospitals are predominantly private, which could cost a fortune on an already expensive trip, and you never know when you’re going to get sick.

    Ultimately, it’s one of the cheapest parts of your trip. You can’t afford to go without it. Faye is our go-to provider because they are revolutionizing the industry! They’ve reimbursed me so quickly during an emergency through their mobile app, at a time when I most needed support. And they made the daunting claims process a piece of cake! I felt so well taken care of – I’ll use them for life.

    Travel Insurance for Japan

    Get a quote in less than 60 seconds with Faye ➜

  • 7. Neck Wallet

    It’s a very good idea to keep your ID documents on you when you’re traveling, and it’s also best to keep your money and credit cards stored safely in a place where they can’t be accessed by pickpockets. A passport pouch, a.k.a neck wallet, is brilliant because it can be concealed beneath your clothing, out of sight and away from danger. It also helps you avoid looking like a tourist since it stays hidden until you’re ready to take it off.

    neck wallet

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  • 8. Hanging Toiletry Bag

    This gorgeous toiletry bag makes me feel so fancy when I use it! I ended up choosing this one after a long and exhaustive search for a good toiletry bag. Finding the right balance between affordability, luxury, and utility can be tricky! This leakproof bag is the bee’s knees and will serve you well while traveling by keeping your toiletry items orderly and contained.

    It has 4 large pockets on the inside for all toiletry bottles, makeup, lotions, haircare products etc., and 3 smaller zippered compartments on the outside. Leave a corner of your suitcase reserved for all this bag and it’s WAY easier to unpack than tons of little plastic sacks and loose bottles. It’s a sanity saver for small bathrooms or zero storage space.

    hanging toiletry bag

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  • 9. Luggage Straps

    The journey to Japan is long, and baggage handlers have built a reputation for being rough with passengers’ suitcases. They’re even told during training not to “baby the bags,” and fragile stickers are often disregarded. Use these adjustable luggage straps to reinforce your zippers, ensuring your bag doesn’t fly open or throw out all of your belongings. This happened to one of my friends, and trust me – you want to avoid this experience!

    These colorful belts are also fantastic for quickly identifying your luggage to save precious time at baggage claim (since every person ties the standard red ribbon on the handle of a basic black bag and people walk off with the wrong case all the time). We love that they’re TSA-approved if you’re selected for a random check, and there’s a built-in contact tag in case your suitcase gets lost.

    Luggage Straps

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  • 10. Activated Charcoal

    Japan’s food scene is incredible, but it’s also full of a lot of uncooked fish. Add that to the stress of travel, and stomach upset is a common problem. Activated charcoal is a very effective and natural way to shorten the duration of food poisoning or traveler’s diarrhea. It works by naturally absorbing toxins in your system so that you can get back to enjoying your travels. I have found it incredibly helpful, and I even use it when I’m not traveling.

    Activated Charcoal

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  • 11. Quick-Dry Travel Towel

    Did you know that many Japanese restrooms don’t offer a method for drying your hands? That’s where having a compact towel comes in very handy. This one is compact, super absorbent, and dries 10x faster than cotton, so you don’t have to worry about carrying around a damp cloth in your daybag. It also is useful if you find the towels at your accommodation less than ideal.

    travel towel

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  • 12. Japan eSIM Data Service (Avoid Roaming Fees!)

    While paying outrageous roaming rates has been the standard for international data usage – now there is a better solution! An eSIM allows you to skip the cybersecurity risks of joining sketchy public Wi-Fi networks or relying on a physical SIM card that may not even work upon your arrival.

    An eSIM offers the ultimate convenience since you can activate it before your trip and manage it remotely. There are so many perks to this service by Saily – lower roaming charges, fewer cybersecurity risks from hackers, the ability to swap carriers in different countries, and you only pay for the amount of data you plan to use. So you can save your Japanese yen for something more exciting things like saki and okonomiyaki!


    Pick a data plan at ➜

  • 13. Stylish Raincoat

    A raincoat will definitely be important in Japan, as will a bit of style and class. This raincoat will serve you well, and will keep you feeling and looking good. It’s also not excessively heavy like some trench coats, so don’t worry about adding too much weight to your luggage. Columbia is an adventure brand known for its quality and ability to last.

    Stylish Raincoat

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  • 14. Discounted Tickets on Japan Tours

    Whether you want to spend the day at Mount Fiji or Disneyland, Japan has so many cultural and eclectic experiences to enjoy. We use Get Your Guide to book most of our excursions around the world because they offer discounted tickets on the most popular tours.

    While in Tokyo, indulge in the local cuisine and use the hop-on-hop-off bus to get around. From peaceful Kyoto, you can explore gorgeous temples and natural landscapes while getting in touch with your spiritual side. One of our favorite experiences was taking part in an authentic tea ceremony.

    Discounted Tickets on Japan Tours

    See all Japanese attractions at ➜

  • 15. Packing Cubes

    Packing organizers are a game-changer and once you try them, you won’t go back. No more suitcase explosions across the hotel or digging to find a sock’s matching pair. This set will organize your items into different cubes and comes with separate laundry bags to organize your dirty and clean clothes.

    packing cubes

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  • 16. Deodorant Wipes

    Traveling and days out in the sun can make many travelers, including myself, feel sticky, stinky, and unclean. Many bathrooms in Japan have no way to wipe hands or faces, so unless I can take a shower right away, I sometimes have to feel uncomfortably dirty for a while. I’ve found that deodorant wipes are a life-saver in these scenarios. These are smooth and lightly scented, plus they’re good for sensitive skin.

    Deodorant Wipes

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  • 17. Comfortable, Cute Clothing

    Japanese culture is more modest than that of the West. Women generally cover their shoulders even in the summer, and a level of propriety is expected when visiting people or spiritual places. A cute, comfortable, and casual dress like this one is perfect to bring. In summer months, it will keep you cool — but won’t show off too much skin.

    Comfortable, Cute Clothing

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  • 18. Windproof Travel Umbrella

    When it rains, it pours in Japan. Most of the rainy season spans through the summer months, but Okinawa can see rain earlier, so it’s wise to pack a lightweight travel umbrella. This one weighs 1 pound and comes with a convenient carrying case. It can cover two people and is very durable.

    Windproof Travel Umbrella

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  • 19. Lightweight Daybag

    You’ll need to have a bag with you to carry all of your essentials. This lightweight backpack is made for travel and perfect to hold the items you need – camera, phone, water bottle, umbrella, etc. – but small enough to be unobtrusive.

    Lightweight Daybag

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  • 20. TSA-Approved Luggage Locks

    We attach luggage locks to our backpacks, sometimes purses, definitely checked suitcases, and even lockers! After having something stolen out of our checked bags on an international flight, we feel you can never be too safe. These locks are 10x harder to crack than 3-digit locks and we bring a couple of sets everywhere we go.

    TSA-Approved Luggage Locks

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  • 21. Filtered Water Bottle

    While the water is clean in Japan, it’s wise to have autonomy over your water supply when drinking from the tap. This Brita bottle purifies water with a built-in filter. It noticeably improves the taste of water and can be put in your backpack pocket (empty) when going through security so you have it for the whole trip.

    Filtered Water Bottle

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  • 22. Modest Swimsuit

    As mentioned, Eastern Asian culture is quite modest and humble. You do not want to trot around in a string bikini or thong, so it’s recommended to wear a full-coverage one-piece bathing suit. You will blend in with the locals better and show a display of respect for their customs.

    Modest Swimsuit

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  • 23. Packable “Just in Case” Bag

    You KNOW you never have enough room in your bags for the flight back because shopping is one of the best ways to take a piece of the vacation home with you. Use this “just in case” duffle bag for all of the surprise purchases you make in Japan. It counts as your personal item for the return flight so you can fill it with chopsticks, yukatas, kimonos, matcha, tea, Samurai swords, or any other local goods your heart desires!

    Packable “Just in Case” Bag

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  • 24. Warm Pajamas

    Many places are without central heating – the traditional architecture and minimalist style are key parts of Japanese culture, and so it’s not surprising that certain “extras” are not widely available. Since it can get cold at night during any season, I recommend bringing a warm pair or two of pajamas so that you can remain comfortable at night.

    Warm Pajamas

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  • 25. Mosquito-Repellant Wristbands

    Mosquitos are common in Japan, just as prevalent as cockroaches and cicadas! Use these wearable wristbands to repel nasty critters, using citronella and natural essential oils rather than harsh chemicals. While the mosquito-borne Japanese Encephalitis Virus is quite rare, it’s still a possibility, and it’s best to be safe than sorry.

    mosquito repellent wristbands

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  • 26. Modesty Shawl & Scarf

    A cotton scarf can keep you plenty warm but also be spread out to become a thin shawl when you find yourself needing to cover up your shoulders or chest in a more modest place. This is ideal for temples or sacred areas that will require covered shoulders and arms.

    Modesty Shawl & Scarf

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  • 27. Cooling Towels

    Japan can get hot, humid, and muggy! Especially in the summer months when it can reach up to 90 °F (32 °C). These cooling towels are absolutely magical. Simply add water and wring them out. They will stay chilly for up to an hour and just need more water added for continued relief. They make outdoor exploring much more fun and tolerable. You’ll find plenty of uses for them for camping, festivals, and tropical destinations.

    Cooling Towels

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  • 28. Travel Sheets

    You never know where you may end up falling asleep during international travel – at the airport, a plane, a train, an Airbnb, a taxi cab, or a hostel. Even if you’re sleeping in uncomfortable places or with less-than-clean sheets, it’s thoughtful to bring your own sheets and ensure you have a sanitary surface to lay on. I’ve slept in some pretty funky places with these, and it feels much cleaner.

    Travel Sheets

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What to wear in Japan

The Japanese are open-minded about fashion – you can wear pretty much whatever you feel comfortable in, including shorts and tank tops as long as they’re not too revealing (and the weather permits). It’s still best to air on the side of conservative apparel when possible.
Layers are always good, as are shoes that you can slip on and off easily – remember you’ll be taking them off and putting them back on frequently. Be sure to bring a light rain jacket if you’re visiting in a rainier season!

We mentioned this above but it’s worth repeating: it’s considered rude to go barefoot inside most places and flip-flops are a no-no, so bring plenty of comfy socks to wear or carry with you!

What should WOMEN wear in Japan? – (Click to expand)
Below is a sample women’s clothing list. (All items link to for your convenience).

Fashion in Japan offers quite a broad spectrum of different looks and trends. Cleavage is considered to be ‘revealing’ but legs are widely flaunted without much concern – so show them if you so choose! Dress a bit more conservatively when visiting temples, or when you spend time with local families. Shoulders are also considered to be inappropriate with the older generations, so it’s best not to pack strapless dresses or even tank tops with very thin straps.

Slip-on shoes are crucial since you’ll be taking them off and putting them on repeatedly. For dressing up, bring your kitten heels or a pair of dressy sandals. For the warmer seasons, you’ll do well with a crisp white t-shirt, a statement belt, and a pair of skinny jeans for dinner. In winter, you’d definitely need a thicker parka and a chunky scarf for the northern parts of the country.

What should MEN wear in Japan? – (Click to expand)
Below is a sample men’s clothing list. (All items link to for your convenience).

Generally-speaking, Japanese men tend to dress more conservatively, so stick with a more muted, modern look. You will still find plenty of Western inspiration wherever you go, so you shouldn’t stand out like a sore thumb. In the bigger cities, you’ll find more fashion-forward attire, but you can’t go wrong with the clean-cut a sophisticated look no matter where you are.

Think khakis, nice slacks, tailored button-downs or sweaters, and nice-looking footwear. Shoes should include walking shoes, for sure, and maybe a trendy pair of suede sneakers or leather loafers for nicer occasions. Any footwear should be fairly easy to remove and put back on – you’ll be doing it a lot. During colder months you’ll need warmer sweaters and a heavier jacket.

You’ll find that the Japanese way of life is easy to love, and the culture is fascinating. Pack light because you’ll definitely want to shop, but be sure to select a versatile wardrobe that will allow you to switch between exploring, shrine visits, shopping, and semi-formal dinner outings.

Packing for the Seasons in Japan

SPRING – March, April, May:

Mild and pleasant weather plus blossoming trees make this an ideal time to enjoy Japan. They are also what make spring such a popular tourism time, so prepare for crowds. Rains can happen, and you’ll see some fluctuation in the weather so be prepared with good layers that can be easily added and removed.

Bring a light jacket and soft pants and tops to keep you comfortable and breezy. Temperatures average between 40°F to 55°F (4°C to 13°C).

SUMMER – June, July, August:

Most places in Japan are hot during the summer, with humidity that makes it worse. Tourism is a little lighter this time of year.

Pack clothes that will keep you cool in the heat, but try to remain respectful and tasteful when possible. Light fabrics, pretty blouses, breezy skirts, and a sun hat will serve you well. Mountainous regions of Japan are less hot and more enjoyable. Temperatures average between 65°F to 80°F (18°C to 27°C).

FALL – September, October, November:

This is typhoon season, but when there are no storms the weather is generally mild and pleasant, albeit a little unpredictable.

Pack for any weather: comfortable pants and skirts, blouses and sweaters. Bring a rain jacket that can also keep you a little warm – anything that can be used for multiple purposes will save you room in your luggage.

Temperatures average between 55°F to 65°F (13°C to 18°C).

WINTER – December, January, February:

Winters in Japanese high country areas are snowy and gorgeous. Lower elevations still see some snow, but mainly enjoy crisp and cool days that you’ll still need warm gear for.

Layers, layers, layers! sweaters and a jacket or coat are needed, plus hats and gloves if you feel you’ll need them (most people do). Temperatures average between 25°F to 35°F (-4°C to 2°C).

How to dress for the activity in Japan – (Click to expand)
Religious Sites: The Kiyomizu-dera, Fushimi Inari and Senso-Ji are but three of the most well-known shrines and temples that form part of a massive collection that sprawls all over the country. Visiting these sacred sites is a very important tradition in Japanese culture. It’s vital to keep in mind that as a tourist you are entering holy grounds. Respect the sacred value of the visit, and dress appropriately. Shorts at or below the knee, pants, shoulders covered – think “modesty” and follow the examples of the locals.

Gourmet Food: Japanese food…There is so much to say and so much to experience. From delectable sushi platters to richly flavored Soba and Udon Noodles to Tonkatsu and Yakitori. The Japanese take great pride in their cuisine and food culture is something that many social activities revolve around. Also, don’t be afraid to dine alone – it’s actually quite a common practice in Japan!

This is the country that has the most Michelin-awarded cities. There are 304 places to choose from in Tokyo alone, but this doesn’t always mean you have to dress up. It’s best to do your homework so that you don’t show up to a street stall wearing your finest garb. For casual dining, you don’t have to worry much about what you wear, but some establishments will ask you to remove your footwear. Nicer clothing is never bad, though, so air on the well-dressed side if you’re unsure.

Beaches: Japans’s unique structure offers plenty of coastline on either side of the country, and this means fun in the sun! Sunbathing and swimming seasons differ hugely from south to north and it’s said that the best beaches to visit are found in Okinawa (south) but there are other spots that offer some tropical vibes too. Bikinis are a natural choice for women, and as long as they’ll stay on during any of your chosen activities, they’re perfectly acceptable. Bring a cute cover-up for when you come up from the beach. Men tend to wear anything from speedo’s to board-shorts, so it all depends on your taste.

Baseball: Baseball was first introduced to Japan in 1872 and is probably one of the most popular spectator sports in the country. The highest level of professional baseball in Japan is the Nippon Professional Baseball League. The first of each 144 regular season games kicks off in March each year, and a 7-game contest series in October determines the winner of the Nippon Series.

While both March and October are probably not the warmest of months, you’d do well in jeans, canvas sneakers, and comfortable hoodies and sweaters. You might also want to refrain from wearing anything related to baseball from other countries – purely out of respect. Expect sunny days in March and October, so bring along a pair of sunglasses for outdoor games.

What NOT to bring to Japan

  • 1.DON’T PACK heavy books or too many books

    Most bookstores carry books in English that you can pick up along the way, or you can bring a Kindle. Don’t weigh down your pack with too many books (easier said than done, I know)!

  • 2.DON’T BRING spray tan or heavy bronzer

    Sun protection and healthy skin are fashionable in Japan. Nothing bad is gonna happen if you lay on the bronzer, but you may get a few funny stares, and you’ll stick out in a crowd.

  • 3.DON’T TAKE too many electronics

    Japan is the land of electronics, but even so it’s nice to disconnect. Outside of city centers you’ll find peaceful villages and beautiful nature. Leave any non-essential electronics at home, and try to keep your connectedness to a minimum!

  • 4.DON’T PACK a sleeping bag or camping gear

    Unless you plan on doing a lot of backcountry hiking, this isn’t necessary. Hostels are equipped with sheets, and even some of the hiking trails have small guesthouses along the way. These items just add bulk and weight.

  • 5.DON’T TAKE lots of cash

    Credit cards are accepted in most major towns, though you’ll still need cash in some places. However, there are plenty of ATM machines to resupply. Carrying loads of cash is a risk not worth taking!

  • 6.DON’T BRING an Asia-wide guidebook

    Getting a guidebook that’s not Japan-specific won’t give you the detail and guidance you’re looking for, and you may find yourself frustrated and missing out.

What NOT to wear in Japan – (Click to expand)
Cities like Osaka, Ginza, and Tokyo are considered to be the fashion capitals of the country. In Japan, fashion is very progressive with the younger generation. You can get away with wearing almost anything in Japan, but you will want to be respectful and aware of cultural norms that are observed within their society.

Most commonly, you will be asked to remove your shoes at certain public establishments and the homes of people you visit. Bare feet are not okay in most places, so bring socks! Avoid flip-flops. Most homes and public places have a small vestibule called a ‘genkan’ where shoes are removed and kept. In some cases, slippers are provided.

This rule also applies to most shrines and temples. Dressing appropriately when visiting these religious sites is imperative.

Other than that, you are all set to head out on a stunning adventure in the Land of the Rising Sun.

Gift-giving: How to follow Japan’s gift customs

While tipping is generally frowned-upon in Japan, giving gifts to your hosts is common practice. Here are a few things to be aware of:

  • The numbers 4, 9, and 43 can mean bad luck! Don’t give gifts in these numbers.
  • Hand the gift over with both hands (gifts should also be received with both hands).
  • Food (especially sweets), flowers (but not lilies, lotus blossoms or camellias which are associated with funerals), and alcohol are the best kinds of gifts to give.
  • Food or alcohol from your home country is even better (ie. Maple syrup from north-eastern America).
  • If the gift is wrapped, your host will probably not open it right away, this doesn’t mean they aren’t excited, it’s just the custom, and a sign of respect.

FAQs about travel in Japan

  • 1. Is the tap water in Japan safe to drink?

    Is the tap water in Japan safe to drink?

    Yes, in most places in Japan the tap water is safe to drink. However, if you’re worried about mercury you can pick up bottled water at one of the many 7/11s, or carry your own filtered water bottle to resupply with fresh water when free opportunities to do so are available – the filter should set your mind at ease.


  • 2. How prevalent is English in Japan?

    Not very prevalent. In hotels, hostels, and tourist attractions people will speak English, but outside of that, I wouldn’t count on it.

    However, people are still very friendly and will try their best to help you even if they don’t understand. This is where a Japanese phrasebook comes in handy!

  • 3. Is Japan safe for women and solo travelers?

    Yes it is. Thanks to its diverse and accepting culture, tourists don’t tend to have problems in Japan. If anything, you may find that you get a little too much excited attention if you stand out as a tourist! However, standard practices should absolutely be followed. Don’t walk alone at night, don’t carry excess cash, keep your valuables close and to a minimum, and always know where you’re going.

    Scammers and pickpockets do exist so do your best to avoid being a tempting target! Carry yourself confidently and show plenty of respect to the locals, and you’ll more than likely avoid any problems. However, make sure you look at travel warnings about your destination before booking your trip, just in case!

  • 4. When is the best season to visit Japan?

    When is the best season to visit Japan?

    September/October are ideal for pleasant weather. You’ll find that April-June months are good for the cherry blossom festival (if you can catch it – it’s evanescent!). Of course, if you’re there for skiing I’d recommend December-March, and the summer months if you want to do some island-hopping.

  • 5. Is it worth getting a Railpass?

    Yes! I actually failed to get the rail pass before I went, and was slumming it on overnight buses and local trains to recover the cost.

    If you plan on traveling to more than a couple of locations, the rail pass is definitely worth the investment, and much cheaper than buying individual tickets in Japan.

  • 6. Do I need to tip in restaurants in Japan?

    There is generally no tipping in Japan. Sometimes a tip may even be refused. Instead, slurping your noodles and making appreciative noises show you’ve enjoyed your meal!

  • 7. Where should I eat in Japan?

    try sushi and nigiri in Japan

    Everywhere! The food is delicious! Osaka is a foodie paradise and has a lovely market where you can sample interesting cuisine. You’ll find Ramen bars dotting the streets in any city you go to with people standing up to slurp their noodles. Katsu curries, sushi, and soba noodles are also abundant.

    Trying an Izakaya (an informal pub-type place which offers small tasting dishes) is a great way to experience local culture. The Japanese are passionate about their food and aim to find fresh ingredients. It’s hard to go wrong with the food!

  • 8. What is the best way to get around Japan?

    The train is the easiest way to travel. It’s comfortable and reliable. However, busses are also clean and comfortable, though slower.

  • 9. Do I need a visa to visit Japan?

    Most countries will get a visa stamped on arrival but check with your embassy’s website to determine what requirements there are for your nationality.

  • 10. How can I watch Sumo in Japan?

    I recommend finding the dates of the Sumo tournaments online. To see a sumo match without breaking the bank, arrive at the stadium at 10 am (or earlier) the morning of the match. You will then stand in the most organized rush ticket line you’ve ever seen. Everyone stands quietly and orderly and proceeds in the queue. They’ll then sell all the remaining tickets for the day at around $20 a piece. Just be sure to get there early to avoid disappointment!

    P.S. One of the excellent things about sumo matches is that you can bring in your own food and drink!

  • 11. How can I travel on a budget in Japan?

    Japan has a reputation for being expensive and, compared to China or SE Asia, it certainly is. But there are many ways budget travelers can enjoy Japan. The people are very hospitable so Couchsurfing can be a lovely experience (though apartments are small so be prepared to sleep on a sleeping mat on the floor). You can also find cheap hostels or business hotels which will have either a small single room with a mattress or a tube with a bed you can sleep in. These hostels and business hotels go for about the same rate as you would find in North America.

    Going to markets or cheap restaurants/ramen bars is a great way to save. I found that for around $10 (US) I could get a very tasty meal. Of course, you can also cook your own food and if you stay with a host I’m sure they’ll be happy to share their favorite recipes with you! Even take-away sushi or noodles from the supermarket is as tasty as what you’d find in a lot of Japanese restaurants back home. Slow travel is also a great way to make any trip more affordable.