This is Koko, Japanese Illustrator Mom. Welcome to my blog!
I blog about How-To-Draw / Doodles, but sometimes I talk about Japanese Traveling Tips.
I’m originally from Tokyo and I visit Tokyo every year, even though I had moved to Europe.
So I know very well how it’s like to travel to Japan / Tokyo. 😀
Today we’re talking about What to pack, for Japan Travel.
I break down this post as : General advice, and Seasonal advice. There may be surprising things that you had never thought of … well, lucky that you’re reading this before your Japan trip! 😆
ALL YEAR AROUND
You may say “Doh, I know this already…” – don’t go away!!
I am talking about, money – cash. Not a credit card.
Japan, we love cash.
Japan is probably one of a few countries that prefer getting cash to pay. Heck, My father paid down payment in cash when he bought a house in Tokyo. (true story!!)
We Japanese understand Credit Cards are handy, but they are just not so adapted to our society so much. In fact, if you go to some small stores like mom and pops stores, most likely they accept cash only.
There are countless of convenience stores in Tokyo. I’ve never seen people shopping with credit cards.
Of course, most of the places do accept credit cards. Buying a train tickets, shopping at a mall…. but remember this, you may want to get 50% of your whole traveling budget – ready in cash. It’s faster to pay cash in many occasions.
You can get Japanese YEN cash easy at the airport in Japan, or ATMs. Nowadays Japanese are using more credit cards, but it’s still cash is dominant in Japanese society. – Strange, I know!
HUH? Yes. You heard it right. Please bring plastic bags. Small bags, just fold it and always put in your pocket when you go out in Tokyo. Why?
Because there are no trash cans outside!!!!!
No trash cans at parks. streets. stations.
You can’t throw trash away, once you step outside of your hotel !!!!!!
One reasons why no garbage cans, is back in 1995 we’ve had a Subway Terrorism . Since then, public garbage cans disappeared.
If you come from a country where publish trash cans are everywhere, (lucky you), you will find this extremely frustrating.
Everybody has some small stuff that they want to throw away, when you are outside…shopping, sightseeing, what not. Imagine you can’t throw them away. You have to keep garbage in your bag and pockets?
That’s so annoying!
I asked my mom what she does about garbage.
She carries a small plastic bag in her purse and collect garbage, take it back home, and throw away together with home garbage.
So I thought I’d share this tip with you, who’s planning on traveling to Tokyo.
It seems like almost everywhere in Japan, there aren’t that many public trash cans. Not only Tokyo, but Osaka, Kyoto,…. if you don’t bring own trash bags, you will be having a hard time. Thos bags don’t have to fancy, just something small will do!
Honestly, wifi situation in Japan maybe one of the WORST in Asia.
I hate to say this for my mother country but I gotta be honest. It sucks.
Everytime I go back to Tokyo I struggle because…..
There isn’t that much free-wifi outside!!!! I haven’t seen that many cafes or restaurants have free wifi for guests.
Starbucks, McDonalds, those US chains tend to have more.
It’ll be quiet shocking to you I bed, because people think Japan is one of the advanced countries, but when it comes to WIFI… mmmm I am not impressed honestly. ☹️
GET SIM Card, or Pocket Wifi!!!!!!!! Do not think that you can catch free wifi easily because you can’t.
To make your Japan Trip easier, I strongly recommend buying a SIM card.
*All the hotels do have Free wifi for their guests.
If you’re traveling lots on trains, include Shinkansen, you may want to take a look at JR Pass.
They have a pass for 7 days, 14 days, and 21 days duration.
Need a Tokyo Special Info?
By the way, I’ve collected Emergency Contact Information of Tokyo. In case you may need to go see a doctor…do you know where to call? Ambulance, Firetruck, etc etc. I’ve stored it in my password protected Resource Library.
Please sign up for my newsletter, I will send you a password. You can find the list under Tokyo Travel section – it’s ready for download!
Mid March ~ May
Spring in Japan is tough to know what’s the weather is going to be.
One time I went to Japan with my husband and child in April.
Believe it or not, Japan was colder than Denmark! Denmark, where we live now, located way north than Japan, and almost always Japan is warmer… but that Spring days, it was cold.
So I suggest a jacket, not a heavy winter jacket but something between heavy and light.
On the other hand, it can be very warm and make you sweat. If you don’t like your armpits sweat, there is an awesome product (made in Denmark), that will help you stop sweating. Check out this product! It’s awesome…I use it.
Be Careful with Rainy Season!
June ~ end of July.
Japan has rainy season, called TSUYU = 梅雨.
If you’re traveling that period, you must bring some rain gears.
Try to use a traveling-friendly, light weighted, compact umbrella.
Don’t think you need rain boots, as they will take so much space in a suitcase, but shoes that get dried easy, will be nice.
Late June~Late September
What can I say. If you travel to Japan in the summer…. really be careful with the heat.
Maybe it’s only me…. but I feel like Japanese sunglasses are, un, rather flat. Honestly, western people have taller nose. Japanese sunglasses may not fit to your face. If you’re Asians, no problem, but if you have different bone structured face, you may want to buy sunglasses from own country. Honest opinion!
Care for a mini cartoon about Sunglasses? This is a true story between my husband and I. 🤪
I run a personal cartoon blog -ScandiAsia – a life as Japanese Person in Denmark. Come and join 🙂
You will be sweating like waterfall. If you wanna stop armpits sweat, check this out . It’s a life saver product for me because I never have to worry about my armpits sweat, as they are always dry now.
However, even though it’s a dead hot during the day, it’s wise to bring a long sleeves thin jacket in case it gets windy or somehow, magically cooler.
Fall weather can be warm or cold, it’s hard to expect. Usually it starts to get cold after November.
You may want to bring some thick shirt, but remember some days can be still warm.
So I will bring mix of summer and thicker clothes, so you can switch according to the weather.
I personally like this season to travel, the best 😄
WARM PAJAMAS!!! Waaaaarm!
ok. Honesty, Japanese houses are bitch cold in Winter in Japan.
It’s not our custom to keep a heater on all night long. You are pretty much required to turn off the heat when you’re off to sleep. yes, I hate it too, but that’s how it is in Japan…
that being said,
If you’re staying at vacation rentals, you need a WARM PAJAMAS. You will wake up seeing your breath…
This microfleece pajamas look pretty warm!
And you know, other winter items such as hat, gloves,
I mentioned that you need a jacket for Spring, Fall and Winter. (basically anytime but Summer)
Bringing what type of jacket is always the problem for me… because I just don’t know! 😅 so what do I do?
I usually bring a semi-thick jacket.
AND, something I can wear as inner – thin fleece or cotton room jacket. so yes, I wear 2 layers. If it gets hot, I can take one of them. That way I can adjust the temperature.
Fleece jacket is recommended because it’s light, and easy to get dried if you wash it.
Do you have any questions?
Do you have any questions regarding what to pack, what to bring to Japan?
Go ahead and write in comment or send me contact, I will answer your questions!
Thank you for reading – if you enjoy it, or thought it was useful, please share it on Social Media!
Much appreciated. 😄
Koko / Japanese Illustrator Mom