AsiaJapanTravel Essentials

Your Ultimate Japan Travel Essentials Checklist

Japan’s astounding coastal plains, lush forests, snow-capped mountains, elaborate temples, and evocative shrines have a way of making you feel worlds away.

Japan, the world’s fourth largest island country and the second most populous island country, is home to about 6,852 islands. It is divided into five major islands: Honshu, Hokkaido, Kyushu, Shikoku and Okinawa. With 47 prefectures in eight regions, Japan is a fun place to travel to but it may not be as easy as it sounds. To pack for a trip to Japan, you must consider your transportation, the weather in every place you are visiting, the possible language barrier, and the culture in general, as these—especially the things you carry with you’ll be carrying with you—will definitely affect the way you travel.

So, before you embark on a journey to the “Land of the Rising Sun,” make sure your Japan travel essentials are all set:


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Your Itinerary

The things you will prepare for, from your clothes to transportation, are definitely based on your itinerary. Are you going to try skiing at Snowtown Yeti or are you having a two-day camping experience in Minoh

Aside from your plane tickets, passport, and IDs, prepare an itinerary that is complete with your flight information, the address of your hotel, the addresses of your destinations, and details of your tour tickets. Tip: book your tickets in advance through KKday to ensure a hassle-free trip in Japan. 



Cash, ATM, and Credit Cards 

Despite being known for their advanced technology, Japan still has a cash culture. There are shopping establishments and restaurants that accept cash transactions only. However, you may still bring your credit card if you want to.  

You can withdraw cash from ATMs but the ones that accept foreign cards are ATMs located at post offices (which are present in all parts of the country) and 7-Bank ATMs, which you can access at 7-Eleven and Lawson convenience stores. These cards include Visa, Plus, Mastercard, Maestro, Cirrus, American Express, and JCB. 


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Don’t forget to bring a camera and your phone. Make sure you can place them in pouches that will protect them from water or heat. Also, bring a power bank especially if you will be traveling to remote places in Japan. 



Clothes and Footwear 

The only way to know what clothes and shoes to bring to your trip in Japan is to determine the weather of the month you are leaving:

Spring Season in Japan: March-May
Summer Season in Japan: June-August
Autumn Season in Japan: September-November
Winter Season in Japan: December-February


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Upon Arrival at the Airport

SIM Cards and Wi-Fi

To make sure you can easily access information about your trip and upload your stunning photos on Instagram, get a 4G portable Wi-Fi rental from KKDay. This will allow you to access unlimited high-speed Internet while traveling. It can be picked up at multiple Japan airports, such as Narita and Kansai.

You may also get a prepaid 4G SIM card, and choose from a flexible 6-Day or 8-Day plan. The kiosks for pick-up for the sim card are easy to find at Japan’s major airports in Tokyo, Osaka, and Hokkaido.

To help you choose the best SIM card and Wi-Fi package, check out this post.  


Transfer to Your Hotel

After a long flight, you will appreciate a comfortable, private vehicle that will take you from the airport to your hotel in Japan. You can take a private transfer between Tokyo Haneda Airport (HND) and Tokyo or a direct transfer from Narita International Airport (NRT) to your chosen location in Tokyo City.


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Transportation in Japan

Japan Rail Pass

If you are a foreign tourist who will be staying in Japan for one, two, or three weeks, getting the Japan Rail Pass, also called JR Pass, is highly recommended. Perfect for long-distance travels, the Japan Rail Pass has two types: the ordinary and green car (first-class cars). 

You can use the Japan Rail Pass on trains operated on the JR network, including Shinkansen, limited express, express, rapid and local trains. The JR Pass is also valid for Tokyo Monorail to/from Haneda Airport trip, JR Ferry to Miyajima, and local JR buses.


Translation Apps 

The last thing you want to happen when traveling in a foreign country is to make a mistake because you do not understand the rules, instructions, names of places, or even gestures made by Japanese people. 

Download apps like Bravolol Japanese Dictionary and Waygo to help you with your translation needs.

It would also help if you’ll practice basic greetings in Japan:

  • Hajimemashite – How do you do? (to the person whom you met for the first time)
  • ohayoo gozaimasu – Good morning
  • konnichiwa – Good afternoon
  • konbanwa – Good evening
  • oyasumi nasai – Good night
  • ja mata – See you, Bye
  • mata ashita – See you tomorrow
  • sayonara – Goodbye


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Enjoy your vacation in Japan!