Planning what to pack in your holiday luggage for a holiday to Japan will prepare you for a more comfortable trip. This article, part of the Japan Travel Tips and Planning series is a checklist to be used as a guide to packing your luggage. This Japan travel checklist is not exhaustive, but is quite a comprehensive guide to what to pack for a trip.

There is also a section at the end of this article with information on what to bring if you are moving to Japan to live.

TIP: TRAVEL LIGHT! You’ve probably heard this 100 times, and think that there are so many things in your luggage that you can’t do without. Japan is become more and more “westernised” and you can find most things you need at department and convenience stores.

Japan holiday luggage checklist

Japanese Yen for travel packing checklist

  • Driver license (as an additional form of identification)
  • Flight tickets or print outs of e-tickets
  • Travel insurance information print out
  • Japanese currency – see articles on getting a good AUD/JPY exchange rate and spending money and Japan holiday costs.
  • ATM card and a Mastercard/Visa credit card – see the article on using your money in Japan.
  • Japanese phrase book, if you do not speak Japanese – 2 good books are The Original “Point And Speak” Phrasebook English (ISBN: 9784795818439) and Lonely Planet Japanese phrasebook (ISBN: 9781741042313). Learn the essentials of travel Japanese with 7 days 60 minutes Japanese.
  • Travel power adapter
  • Camera
    • Digital camera
    • 2 x rechargeable batteries
    • 2 x memory cards
    • Camera bag
    • Mini tripod
  • Either laptop and charger, or a journal with pen and paper. It is a good idea to keep a small travel journal, or a blog while travelling.
Happy Japanese Luggage
Happy Luggage Times!
  • Clothes
    • Pack depending on the weather, research the weather before leaving for Japan. Using Wikipedia, you can also research the cities/areas you are travelling to and find average temperatures and weather conditions. It can become very humid in summer and snows across much of the country in winter. You will need to swap certain items, e.g:
    • Pack light, you can always buy cheap clothes in Japan. Note that if you are overweight or taller than about 170cm you may have problems finding some clothes (especially pants and shoes).
    • 2 pairs of shoes (one pair of general/walking shoes and one pair of smart casual shoes for going out).
    • Thongs or sandals
    • Sleeping clothes
    • Waterproof jacket or poncho
    • At least 3 pairs of socks
    • At least 3 underwear garments
    • Belt
  • Medication and toiletries
    • Prescription mediation, bring enough for your trip and bring a copy of the prescription to validify that it is yours
    • Any normal medication (like asthma inhalers, women should bring the pill if they take it)
    • Condoms/safe sex precautions.
    • Antibacterial hand wipes/gel.
    • Toothbrush and toothpaste.
    • Everything else can be bought from a chemist (known as Drug Stores) in Japan.
  • International Drivers Permit – these are very cheap from your local motoring services office (see IDP Authorities in Australia)

Things to put in your carry on luggage

Direct flights to Japan take about 8-10 hours. Many flights have a stop over and the trip can take anywhere from 10 – 18 hours or more, depending on the stops. Make sure you have what you need on hand in the airplane cabin, packed away in your carry on luggage. Some of these things are listed in the luggage checklist above.

Tootbrush, toothpaste, floss

  • Phone with USB charger (most planes have a USB port)
  • Magazine, newspaper or book to read
  • Toothbrush, toothpaste and floss (mouthwash if you like)
  • Gum or mints
  • Snacks like fruit, nuts or chocolate
  • Loose pair of socks
  • A light jumper or jacket
  • From the luggage checklist: passport; ticket print outs; Japanese currency; bank/credit card; phrasebook; camera; laptop.

Before you go – portable WiFi

A must have for worry-free and easy travel is to rent a portable WiFi device for your Japan holiday. Every time I go to Japan I get one of these. It’s super easy, the device is delivered to your hotel, so as soon as you check-in you’ll be up and running.

Packing checklist for photographers

As you can see from over 160 Japan photos of mine, I’m an avid photographer. Here’s some additional specific items I pack – I’m paranoid about losing my photos, so I always have two copies of my photos on the devices below.

  • External hard drive
  • Small laptop

When in transit, always pack these items in separate bags. That way, in the rare case of a bag becoming lost, you’ve got a copy of your shots.

At the end of a day of travel I transfer all photos to my computer, with the external hard drive connected, which is automatically set to backup when the hard drive is connected.

Moving to Japan to live/work? Here are some additional things you should bring

  • Some candies or typical Australian (or your home country) snacks. Check that these can be taken to Japan first. These are great as they can be used for small gifts, there are many traditions in Japan which sees a small gift being given (e.g. you might give a small gift to your new neighbour, or to some new friends when visiting their house).
  • Photos or any nick-nacks you can put in your new place to make it feel a little bit more homely.
  • Pack clothes for the current and next season. Then, get your family to post some more clothes for subsequent seasons. If you have room, you can pack more clothes.

Related articles

Did I miss anything? Is there anything else that you think is a “must-have” for packing in your holiday luggage?