Whether you’re planning to hike, shop or shrine hop throughout Japan on your next visit, there are a few things to keep in mind as you pack. Yes, toiletries, sensible footwear and season-appropriate attire is important, but there are some items you’ll need for this trip that are specific to Japan’s culture and customs.

So, before you zip up your suitcase and head to the airport, check out these five tips — and the associated items you’ll need — and you’ll be truly prepared to jet to Japan.


A tapped-out battery on a smartphone is a major inconvenience for the modern-day traveler. In Japan, you may rely on your phone for everything from navigating city (or country) streets on a maps app to taking photos and videos at every turn. Bring a portable charger along for back-up to avoid missing a beat.


The ritual of taking off your shoes in a Japanese household is not limited to the home; there will be times during your stay when you’ll need to take off your shoes in public (before visiting shrines and temples or stepping into a carpeted dressing room in a shop, for example). We recommend wearing clean, hole-free socks and slip-on shoes for ease. If your feet will be bare once shoeless, you may want to keep your toes tidy and well-maintained — a great excuse for a pre-trip pedicure.


From vending machines to specialty stores, there will be plenty of opportunities to snatch up cool souvenirs to bring back home with you. Prepare for that (almost guaranteed) eventuality by packing a lightweight, roll-up duffel bag that, at its smallest, is about the size of a pair of hiking socks. This will also ensure that you meet the luggage weight requirements on your flight back home.


Good to know: Most public bathrooms in Japan do not have paper towels so as to not produce waste. If you don’t want to shake your hands dry, bring a small washcloth along with you and tuck it in your pocket or handbag. You can also pick up silly patterned ones in gift shops across the country (yes, that is what they are for!)


Tattoos may be popular where you’re from, but in Japan, permanent body art is uncommon among Japanese residents. This cultural taboo may make it difficult for those with tattoos to enter an onsen (hot spring) or a public beach, so make sure you pack band aids or tattoo seals to avoid travel restrictions.