Japan Packing List

So I promised a while back to post a list of what I’ll be taking on my travels to Japan. Although I wanted to choose the minimalist approach to travel packing from reading a bunch of blog posts about it, I want to understand for myself so I learn from my mistakes.

When I went to Vietnam and Cambodia, I took a 75L rucksack and 30L daysack with me and I thought that the size was perfect as I had space for souvenirs and team kit. I’d like to downscale this time and take a 66L rucksack and 18L daysack and fit the daysack in my rucksack when I’m going from one location to the next.

At first, I couldn’t believe that people can spend a month comfortably carrying everything in a 40L rucksack or less, but I now know that it very much possible. However, I do not think it is worth the investment just yet as I want to use what I own already without spending further money.

Without further ado, here’s what I’ll be taking to Japan:

The Important Stuff:

  • Pre-departure information – includes my coach tickets from my hometown to the airport. It’s important to have a Day 1 schedule for that piece of mind and know you have everything in place before you depart.
  • Flight information and tickets – while this will be available in my email and on the airline app, it’s always nice to have a physical copy – plus it’s good to have proof of onward/return travel when you arrive at the country.
  • Insurance information – In emergency situations, you need access to this fast. Having physical and digital copies will always make the process a lot easier.
  • Passport – Need I say more?
  • Passport photos – I had a few spares laying around and it’s always good to have if anyone needs it for documentation etc.
  • Wristwatch – Preferably waterproof and reliable. Mine’s been in rivers, through jungles and up mountains and it never has once let me down.
  • Wallet – I packed a couple; one of which is a dummy wallet. It’s good to make sure they hold the cards well and they are well protected for whatever you are doing. I wouldn’t need a waterproof one, but for some people, it’s good to have.
  • Debit/Credit/Prepaid Travel Cards – My cards will be spread out between my wallets, bags and money belt.  I’ll also be sure to leave one in the hostel locker just in case I manage to lose one when I’m out and about.
  • Cash – Same for the point above, it’s good to spread your cash out so they are not in one place. Place some in your money belt, rucksack, daysack, and locker.
  • Japan Rail Pass – This will be on me, in my money belt or daysack, at all times. It’s worth more than my phone!
  • iPhone with Data SIM – Same for the point above as I’ll need this for navigation and essential logistical tasks.
  • In-country emergency information – This includes details for your embassy and any in-country contacts you know. Also, it may be a good idea to keep numbers of your hotel/hostel so that they are able to help too.

What’s going in it? (Essentials)

  • T-Shirts X 4 – Try to avoid cotton and wear breathable materials because it lasts longer without needing a wash and for when you wash them, it drys faster.
  • Collared shirt – Good for the occasional night out and you want to dress a bit nicer.
  • Hiking trousers X 2 – One’s waterproof and the other is lightweight and breathable. Good for travelling in and whilst they are not the most fashionable, they are certainly the most comfortable.
  • Shorts – I’ll bring these just in case it gets nice and warm in Japan, perfect for hiking in too.
  • Jeans – Although these are heavy and takes ages to dry, I’ll probably wear these a lot and may only need to be washed very occasionally.
  • Microfleece X 2 – Great for layering and packing light. This can easily fit in my daysack for when it gets a bit chilly.
  • Underwear X 5 – You never will want to run out of underwear.
  • Socks X 5 – You never will want to run out of socks.
  • Travel towel – Lightweight, microfiber towel which can be easily washed and quickly dried.
  • Padlocks X 2 – I’m bringing a small one for my daysack and a larger one for a locker.
  • First Aid and Survival Kit – As a trained first aider, I didn’t want to go over the top on this but I’ll be taking pain killers, tablets for diarrhoea, plasters, tape, anti-bacterial wipes, whistle, blister plasters/powder and a few other things.
  • Ear plugs and eye mask – Useful for the flight and in hostel dorm accommodation.
  • Sun hat and glasses – Well, I do hope it gets sunny!
  • Head torch – For the nights and early mornings when I need to rummage through my rucksack in the dark. Also good if you manage to get lost in the woods at night.
  • Hiking shoes – I didn’t want to bring hiking boots because I wouldn’t think I’ll be doing anything all that extraneous, but it’s good to bring hiking shoes since I’ll be doing a lot of walking. My current ones are waterproof but not very breathable so I need to debate whether it’s worth taking any breathable running trainers with me.
  • Flip flops – Still under debate, I need something to wear indoors but I’m not sure if slippers will be available at the hostels/hotels I will be staying at.
  • Waterproof rain jacket – Easier to carry than an umbrella and it’s always good to be prepared for an unexpected shower.
  • Empty water bottles – Learnt to bring this as a tip when reading a few blog posts. Saves a few pounds/yen to refill your water bottle than to keep buying bottles of water.
  • Notebook and pens – To document the experience for you guys.
  • Multitool – It has it all.

What’s going in it? (Toiletries)

  • Toothbrush and toothpaste – May bring this in my carry-on for the flight, and toothpaste is easily replenishable in-country.
  • Hair/Body/Face wash – Multi-purpose ones are far easier to pack and harder to lose if everything is kept together.
  • Roll-on deodorant – More packable than aerosols and it lasts longer.
  • Electric travel shaver – Just my personal preference.

What’s going in it? (Electricals)

  • GoPro and accessories – I used my GoPro in Vietnam and Cambodia and I loved the footage and photos I collected during my month there. I hope to take more accessories as the head/chest straps as I only brought a GoPole with me last time.
  • Cheap Digital Camera – Great for quick point and shoots.
  • Memory cards – Would like to buy a few before I leave, but inserted in my GoPro is a 32GB Micro SD card and in my cheap digital camera has an 8GB SD card.
  • Chargers and travel adapters to go with it.
  • Batteries – Easily found in stores but it’s good to bring a few just in case.

What it’s all going in:

  • Trespass Trek 66L Rucksack with waterproof cover – This was bought for around £13 and I haven’t had the chance to use it yet. So I decided to give this a go and see whether I can travel comfortably in it.
  • Kathmandu Mirage 18L Daysack – This a very old daysack owned by my mum, but it is very comfortable and has a wide variety of pockets to store all of my essentials. It’s very durable, strong and seems reliable enough to keep all of my valuables/documentation in.
  • Samsonite Double Pocket Money Belt – I have used this in Vietnam and Cambodia and this has been brilliant to use throughout my entire trip. Lots of space to store emergency cash, passport and documents.
  • Exped Fold Dry bags – They’re waterproof, colourful and ideal for compressing my kit in the bag. They keep things organised and speeds up packing and unpacking. Since I had these, there was no need to buy packing cubes so I shall see how they do this time around.

I still got until next Wednesday before I leave and should be mostly packed by next weekend. If there’s anything I missed or that you would suggest or recommend, please comment below. (I’m sure there’s something I’ve forgotten)

I hope my packing list does help you out whether you are going to Japan or elsewhere.

Only 10 days to go!

Thanks for reading and until next time,



3 thoughts on “Japan Packing List

  1. Japan is sometimes called the Switzerland of Asia and it’s very safe so there is no need for a dummy wallet or to separate your cash. I often leave everything I have in the lockers of the sento even my camera and I don’t feel any worry. I haven’t taken a money belt to Japan for years ^^


    1. I have researched and I assumed the same – but that was until I heard about someone being pickpocketed in Tokyo. Increased tourism would mean its more likely to happen so I don’t want to be complacent. It will most likely be fine but there’s no harm in being more security-conscious. :)


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