Travel Tips: Summer in Japan

I am traveling to Japan in the summer of 2023! I am so excited, and I have, therefore, been doing a ton of research on what you should know about traveling in Japan.

We are in a post-pandemic world (for the most part) so a lot of the restrictions have been lifted at this point. After scouring blogs, YouTube and TikTok, I have compiled a list of things to know about traveling in Japan. We will be traveling in the summer (June, the rainy season), so some of my tips will be catered to that time of year.

If you are planning to travel to Japan this summer, check out these travel tips so you won’t make any typical tourist blunders and can be super prepared!

Disclosure: Some of the links below are affiliate links. This means that, at zero cost to you, I will earn an affiliate commission if you click through the link and finalize a purchase. 😍

Travel Tips for Summer in Japan

  • Get a data only SIM card or a Pocket Wi-Fi at the airport for your devices.

Since it is recommended that you use things like Google Maps and Google Translate when you are out and about, it is a very good idea to get a data-only SIM card or a Pocket Wi-Fi to use for your devices. You can get either of these at the airport when you land in Japan.

SIM cards are available to purchase for limited periods of time, so you can purchase one that will only last the length of your trip. If you are traveling with a group, a Pocket Wi-Fi is a great option because more than one person can use it, though it is a bit more bulky to carry around.

  • Bring a portable charger for your phone.

Since you will be using your phone for large parts of your day, both for directions and for taking pictures and videos, it is highly recommended that you have a portable charger for your phone while you are out and about. I recommend the iWalk phone charger. It is very small and will fully charge your phone once per charge. There are also chargers that will last longer, but they are a bit more bulky and harder to use while you are actively sight-seeing.

iWalk Portable Phone Charger for iPhone ~ iWalk Portable Phone Charger for Android

Anker PowerCore Portable Charger

  • Make sure to use Google Maps and Google Translate.

Google Maps is very accurate in Japan and the best way to find your way around. There are many streets with no names, so using Google Maps is the best way to make sure you don’t get lost. Google Translate is very convenient both for asking directions and for deciphering menus.

  • Do not tip in restaurants.

Speaking of eating out, do not tip in restaurants in Japan. It is actually considered rude to do so, and they will generally not accept the tip. Save yourself some time and potential embarrassment and don’t tip.

  • Be prepared to carry your trash with you.

You will notice that there are very few, if any, public trash cans in Japan. However, it is also very clean! This is because Japanese people will carry their trash with them until they get to where they are going. Make sure you carry a small plastic bag with you to hold your trash until you can find a convenient trash can.

  • Keep a pair of socks with you and wear shoes that are easy to remove.

Many places in Japan will require you to remove your shoes before you can enter (most commonly temples and shrines). It is recommended to bring a pair of socks, with no holes, with you so you are not barefoot in these establishments. It is also recommended to wear shoes that are easy to remove, such as sandals and slip-on sneakers or loafers.

Kizik Slip-On Sneakers

  • Keep a hand towel/hand sanitizer with you for public restrooms.

While Japan is generally a very clean country, one thing that you might want to carry with you is a hand towel and hand sanitizer. Many public bathrooms will not have any means to dry your hands, or sometimes even to wash them. It is easy to get both of these things in convenience stores all over Japan.

  • Wear breathable, quick drying clothing for summer.

June and July in Japan are very hot and humid (and rainy, if you are traveling in June). Wearing breathable, quick drying clothing will help you to regulate your body temperature and not overheat. It is a good idea to wear quick drying clothing so you can wash your clothes in your hotel room after a long, sweaty day out sight-seeing.

  • Bring a rain jacket with you, or purchase a small, travel umbrella.

As I said above, traveling in Japan in June means it will likely be rainy. It is a great idea to bring a light-weight rain jacket with you. This one is fantastic because it is thin and waterproof, and it comes with a convenient carrying bag for when you aren’t using it anymore. You can absolutely bring a small, travel-sized umbrella with you (this one is fantastic), or you can easily buy one in a convenience store once you arrive in Japan.

Avoogue Women’s Lightweight Waterproof Raincoat ~ Packable Lightweight Men’s Rain Jacket ~ BAODINI Travel Mini Umbrella

  • Japan is still a cash society.

While many stores have started to accept credit cards, Japan is still largely a cash society. It is recommended that you carry cash on you at all times so that you don’t get caught without a way to pay. Make sure you bring a money pouch or coin purse with you, as many of the smaller denominations of Yen are in coin form.

  • Have all documentation you can for medicines, and double check before you go if your medicine is illegal in Japan or not.

There are many medications that are legal in the United States, but are illegal in Japan. If you do not have your documentation with you, it could cause you a lot of problems at customs when you arrive (even arrest, if it is an illegal medication).

  • Bring surgical masks, not cloth ones.

Japan has become a bit more lax with their mask mandate, but it is still recommended that you keep a mask with you when you need to go inside a crowded area. It is also recommended that you use surgical masks, rather than cloth masks, as they are viewed to be safer by Japanese people.

  • Have passport copies for your hotels and all bags.

Make sure that you keep a copy of your passport in all of your bags, and make copies for your hotels. If the unthinkable happens and you lose your passport, it will be so much easier to replace it if you have a copy. This is also a good way to make sure any lost luggage makes its way back to you.

  • Everything in Japan is super punctual.

Organizationally minded people, rejoice! Japan is a super punctual country. This means that if you have a ticket for a train at a certain time, you had best be on the train at that time, otherwise it will be leaving without you.

  • Items like tampons, toothpaste (American brands) and deodorant can be hard to find.

While you can still find these items, it might be much more difficult in Japan. Sometimes you can find the item, but it might not be in the form you are used to. If you have specific products that you need, it might be best to bring your own from home.

  • Convenience stores are amazing.

Called “Conbini” by locals, convenience stores are very different in Japan. They really have everything that you could need, and the food is really good. 7/11 is very popular and prevalent in Japan. ATMs are easily found at convenience stores for all of the cash you will need to carry with you.

  • Smoking is prevalent.

While Japan is notoriously very clean, there is a lot of smoking in the country. Be aware that smoking in public areas, including restaurants, is much more prevalent than it is here in the United States.

Etiquette Tips

  • Don’t talk on your phone on a train.

This is an etiquette tip – it is rude in Japan to talk on your phone on the train. In fact, most people don’t really talk at all on trains, or at least talk very quietly. Don’t be the rude, American tourist. Wait to talk on your phone until you get off the train at your next stop.

  • People in Japan do not walk and eat/drink. They don’t eat on trains either.

Another etiquette tip – Japanese people do not eat/drink on trains, or even while they are walking around. If you buy food from a convenience store, most Japanese people will eat the food there before they leave. This is another reason why there are very few public trash cans in Japan.

  • Instead of pointing with one finger, use your entire hand.

Another etiquette tip – it is considered rude to point with one finger. If you are wanting to gesture in this way, use your entire hand instead.

  • Do not stick your chopsticks straight down in your rice.

This tip was very interesting to me when I saw it. Avoid sticking your chopsticks straight down into a bowl of rice when you aren’t using them. This resembles a funeral ritual. Use the chopstick holder next to your plate instead.

What are some travel tips that you swear by? Have you travelled to Japan before? Did you find any of these tips helpful? Let’s chat down in the comments!

Love and happy traveling,


2 thoughts on “Travel Tips: Summer in Japan

  1. Pingback: How to Pack: Summer in Japan – Whit Reads Lit

  2. Pingback: Monthly Wrap-Up: April 2023 – Whit Reads Lit

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