You may need to bring the following items to Japan in order to enjoy your trip more.
1- JR Rail Pass. You can only purchase the JR Pass outside of Japan. Once you arrive in Japan, it is already too late. If you have the JR pass you can ride the Japan Railway Trains, including the shinkansen bullet train for an unlimited time. It costs about $270 and people wonder if it is worth the cost. Just consider the fact that taking the train from Tokyo to Kyoto will cost you about $250. So if you are planning to visit 2 cities or more, the JR pass is definitely worth the cost.
2- Wi-Fi Router. Although Japan is a developed country , free wi fi is rare compared to other countries. It is a must to purchase a pocket wi-fi in Japan. You can purchase it at the airport.
3- International driver’s license. Even if you are not planning to rent a car, you may need it for some fun activities such as for renting go-carts.
4- Cash. Unlike many other countries, most Japanese stores still do not accept credit cards or digital money. Even some McDonalds branches and giant souvenir shops in the city centre will simply refuse to serve you if you don’t have cash. We recommend you exchange money at a bank office (any bank) in Osaka or Tokyo to get the best rate. You can check the current exchange rate at the Mitsubishi UFJ Bank here (updated daily).
5- Comfortable shoes. Japan is a compact country ideal for city walk and cultural observations. An extra pair of shoes will be your best friend along the journey. The textile products tends to be cheap in Japan though the shoes are not necessarily as cheap as the other countries and your size may be difficult to find.
6- Universal power adapter. If you are coming from the US, you do not need a power converter as the outlets are the same. Japan has the 100 Voltage system with 2 pinned outlets, different from Central Europe, Malaysia and Australia.
7- Painkillers, vitamins sleeping pills. Japan does not allow OTC sleeping pills and Japanese painkillers tend to contain less amount of active ingredients.
7- Mosquito repellents, sunscreens, hats in the summer. You can find these items in japan but they may be different from what you are used to. You may need the repellents if you will visit the country side, otherwise you don’t need to bother.
8- Swimsuits, short pants and sandals in the summer. If you are tall or a plus size person, it may be very difficult to find your size in Japan as an avg. Japanese woman is 52 kgs and 158 cm. Also remember that Japan has very high humidity, so you are strongly recommended to bring the short pants and khakis in the summer.
9- Dry shampoo. This is not necessary, but dry shampoo is less common in Japan compared to other countries.
10- Gluten-free or Halal Snacks. Most Japanese snacks use animal shortening and wheat so if you have these concerns you may want to bring your own snacks. Please note that the traditional soy sauce you find in every Japanese restaurant also has some gluten in it.
11- Smaller luggage. Since Japan is a relatively small island with the population of 127 million people, the personal space is rather small. If you have a big luggage, it may be difficult to carry it on the train or store in your hotel room. If you must bring a big luggage you may consider having a separate small backpack for your daily trips.
12- Travel insurance. It is difficult to purchase the travel insurance after you arrive in Japan. At the same time, if you chose to not get the insurance it may make you feel better to know that the healthcare costs in Japan tend to be cheaper than many other developed countries.
13- Easy to wear shoes & clothes. You have to take your shoes off at many places in Japan. So it is more convenient to not to wear boots. Also for kimono photo shoot we recommend a v-neck t-shirt, but the good news you can borrow one at Maikoya.
14- Moisturizer. There is no central heating system in Japan. Most hotels use air conditioners as heaters in the winter and the air in the room may get dry. Although there are moisturizers sold everywhere, you may not be able to read the labels in Japanese that explain the function of the particular skincare product.
15- Travel towel. Japanese hotels have the #1 service in the world and almost always provide a double set of towels in your room, but it is still useful to bring a light towel for outdoor experiences.
16- Rain jacket. If you are traveling to Japan during the rainy season (June 15 ~ July 15) then you can be sure that you will get wet in the rain. On the other hand the rain jacket may not be necessary if you don’t have much space in your luggage since you can grab a disposable umbrella from a convenient store just for 4USD.
17- Allergy and restriction notes for restaurants. You can ask us or use Google Translate to have your allergies and restrictions and then print them out on a piece of paper. Wherever you go, you can just show it to the personnel, so that you don’t have to explain them to the waiters all the time who may or may not speak good English.
18- Sleeping mask, ear plugs, apps, movies, digital books and magazines for a smooth flight. There are not many bookstores in Japan that sell English-language magazines or books. So you may want to bring them in your digital device. Also you can download some mapping apps that work offline such as Maps.Me.
19- Small gifts from your home country. Japanese people strive to do their best to serve their guests. They will be extremely happy to receive a small symbolic gift from your home country even if it is a piece of candy or just a tiny good luck charm. Our Australian guests made us a happy a few times giving us the cute koala figures.
20- Some useful tips
-You can find almost anything from any country on Amazon Japan. So if you forget to bring an item, you can just order it on Amazon Japan in English have it shipped to your hotel overnight.
– Japan is a developed country with more than 30,000 convenience stores located on every corner. Even if you forget to bring things back from home, you can find almost anything at a convenience store including but not limited to underwear, lunch box, imported beer and frozen vegetables. At the same time, tampons and pads are difficult to find at the convenience stores.
-If you have a heavy luggage, and if you don’t want to carry it around with you, you can always use the luggage forwarding service common in Japan.
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