Japan is a wonderful blend of ancient traditions and modern marvels. Whether it’s your first time visiting the Land of the Rising Sun or you’re a seasoned traveler, there are certain essentials that will make your trip more comfortable and enjoyable.
Here’s a checklist of five things that are particularly useful when traveling in Japan.
After a lengthy flight, maneuvering through bustling stations or narrow elevators becomes a breeze with a 4-wheeled suitcase. Instead of lugging around a backpack, having a suitcase that effortlessly glides alongside you can make all the difference. This is especially true in Japan where spaces can be tight and crowds move swiftly.
Also, it’s a good idea to have a smaller bag to go out with. A 4-wheeled suitcase is easy to handle, but it’s still bulky and you will find it uncomfortable to bring such a large case into a train (as you know, the trains in Japan are much more crowded than you think, especially in the hours when people are commuting). If you stay at one hotel for several days, you can leave your large suitcase in your room and carry a smaller bag with essential items when you go sightseeing.
When you’re exploring a city in Japan, it’s advisable to use the automatic lockers often found at airports or stations. Carry only the most essential items to keep your load light. In this scenario, again, a smaller bag is an optimal choice. You can stow your suitcase in a locker and keep necessary items in your bag for easy access.
Japan’s indoor spaces can be quite comfortable due to powerful air conditioning, even during hot or cold months. On the other hand, the outdoors can be sweltering in summer, freezing cold in winter. To tackle this, ensure you have clothes that can be easily layered or removed. Breathable fabric is a boon for extended walks or sightseeing.
Travel-savvy people know that clothes are one of the most voluminous items when you go on a trip, and they may advise you to bring as few clothes as possible and to buy ones at the destination country if needed. However, remember that Japanese clothing sizes might differ from what you’re used to. As a rule of thumb, Japanese sizes are generally one size smaller than Western standards, so it may be difficult to buy clothes that fit you at stores in Japan. Especially if you are taller or bigger than the average size in your country, let’s put your favorite clothes in the suitcase in advance.
On the other hand, the advice from seasoned travelers can be applied when you fly back home. Let’s pack your clothes and ship them to your address from Japan. This way, you can save space in your suitcase, in which you can put another souvenir, perhaps.
The Japanese custom of removing shoes upon entering homes extends beyond private residences. Many hotel rooms, traditional restaurants, and even some business offices uphold this tradition.
To make your experience smoother, and to respect the customs, pack laceless shoes which are easy to put on and off. Also, since you’ll be taking off your shoes frequently and you will have to walk on slippers or without footwear, having some pairs of fresh socks is a good idea. Walking barefoot or in dirty socks is unsanitary.
Embarking on a journey always makes you excited, and you may want to buy a new pair of shoes to walk on the street in Japan, but a new pair of shoes will not always turn out to be your best friend. In the second worst scenario, they may cause a blister on your foot (the worst scenario is, of course, blisters on your feet). When you find that your new pair of shoes should be tamed first to place yourself on comfortably, you have to find another pair of shoes that are more comfortable to wear. Of course, however, it can be challenging due to the size difference among countries.
While Japan boasts an extensive range of pharmaceuticals, the ingredients and brands may differ from what you’re familiar with. Even the product that looks the same as the one available in your country may have different ingredients due to the difference in the pharmaceutical laws between countries. Moreover, language barriers can pose challenges when seeking specific medications.
It’s always a good idea to bring along essential medicines you might need, such as painkillers or cold remedies. This ensures that you have access to trusted remedies without the hassle of deciphering foreign drug labels and that you can get the effect you always expect.
Of course, if you have to take a prescribed drug daily, that will be indispensable. The prescribed, specific drug may be unavailable in Japan for some reasons, like due to its ingredients or expected effects. Don’t forget to ask your doctor to prescribe a necessary amount of the drug in advance.
With the plethora of digital navigation tools, apps, and camera usage on your smartphone, having a mobile battery or power bank is something you can’t miss. Not only is it useful during long flights, but it also ensures that you remain connected and well-prepared during your adventures in Japan.
Especially, if you use a mobile WiFi spot (or a mobile hotspot, pocket WiFi, portable router, or whatever you call it), that device that allows you to connect to the Internet on the go will also need electricity. So, carrying a spare mobile battery will be a lifesaver when your pocket WiFi device runs out of power.
As for electricity, you have to remember something: The difference in the outlet shapes and voltage used among countries. In Japan, the Type-A outlet is used; therefore, if the shape of the outlet in your country is not Type-A, you have to bring a conversion plug for Type-A. Also, the voltage at which the electricity is supplied in Japan is usually 100V. So, let’s check the device and the adapter you use and confirm that it is usable at 100V, too. If not, have a portable voltage converter or use another device available at 100V.
Now we’ve covered almost all the necessities you should bring when visiting Japan. And, there is one more thing you can’t miss: access to the Internet connection. In order to ensure that you are always connected to the Internet on the go, you have to have a sim card usable in Japan or a pocket WiFi device. Without them, the smartphone you usually use in your country will be isolated from the global Internet connection until you find a free WiFi spot somewhere in Japan.
Do you have difficulties finding the optimal choice about whether you should use a prepaid SIM card or a mobile hotspot and what option is the best for your journey? Check out the comparison or the detailed article!