I am traveling to Japan this summer with a group from the school where I work! I am so excited to get to explore this beautiful country. After doing a ton of research, I have compiled a list of things that are essentials to pack for this time of year.
I will be traveling with a large group (around 35 people), and we will be traveling all over the country. It is a good idea to think about what size suitcase you should bring based on the length of your trip, as well as the convenience of dragging said suitcase all over the country, especially if you are in a large group.
Here are my tips for what you should pack for your summer trip to Japan!
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My group will be traveling with EF Tours, an educational tour company that aims to bring opportunities for experiential learning to students. I will be traveling as a chaperone on this tour, and I am so jazzed.
EF Tours provided us with a very helpful packing list for the Japan trip, which I will share with you here:
Based on this packing list, as well as the research I have done for summers in Japan, I have found many options for things you should consider bringing with you in your suitcase.
I absolutely recommend that you bring a carry on suitcase and personal item only. Do not check a suitcase. You do not need as much as you might think you need, for one thing. For another, airlines are really struggling with checked bags lately. If you want to be sure that you arrive at your destination with all of your belongings, please do carry on only!
Also, remember that, especially if you are traveling all over the country like my group is, you don’t want to be lugging around a giant suitcase from city to city. You want to travel light, because you are the one who is going to have to haul around your belongings.
With that said, here are some fantastic options for suitcases that meet the carry on size restrictions on most major airlines. I personally prefer a soft-sided suitcase, but I know that there are some fantastic hard-sided suitcases to be had.
For my group, each person will be receiving a special EF Tours backpack, so you might not necessarily need to get a travel backpack. I have always loved my Travelon backpack, however, and might still bring it along. It has locking features that help to prevent theft (though Japan is one of the safer countries in the world, as far as theft goes).
A travel purse is another thing to consider. The brands PacSafe and Travelon have some great options. A bag with safety features built in will give you peace of mind, and can be used on any future trips you might take as well!
I am a huge proponent of packing cubes! They have revolutionized my packing strategies. It helps to keep your suitcase organized, which is helpful when you are trying to find something quickly. It also helps you to be able to make more space in your suitcase, and space is always at a premium when you travel (especially if you go carry-on only, which you absolutely should!!)
There are traditional packing cubes, which I have used for years to great effect. I just recently got some compression packing cubes, which I am excited to start using. They compress your clothes down even more to give you that extra bit of space that you can use to bring home a couple more souvenirs 😉
What to Wear:
June in Japan is the rainy season, so you need to be mindful of this fact when you are deciding what to pack in your suitcase. While it is rainy, it is also hot, so you need to aim for light-weight, breathable fabrics.
It is also a good idea to bring fabrics that can be washed and dried easily. You can try to use a laundromat, a hotel laundry service, or wash your clothes yourself in your hotel room.
Here are some nice options for shirts, shorts and dresses that you could bring with you on the trip. All of these are options that can be worn multiple times, and can then be washed in your hotel sink or bathtub. Here is a great option of travel laundry soap that can be easily tossed in your bag.
I highly recommend packing 3 tops, 3 bottoms and a dress or two if you are a lady. Remember, you will be wearing one outfit on the plane there, and I suggest putting one outfit in a packing cube in your personal item so that you have a change of clothes on you if your luggage gets lost.
That means, you will actually have in total 5 tops, 5 bottoms and a dress or two. This is plenty to pack for a 9 day trip, especially if you re-wear items and do laundry along the way. Also, remember that you might want to buy clothing while you are in Japan. The less you bring with you, the more room you have in your suitcase for the trip back home!
Comfortable walking shoes are key when you go to Japan. You will be doing a lot of walking, so you absolutely do not want to bring shoes that you cannot wear for long walks. I recommend bringing shoes that are easy to get on and off, as you will also have to remove your shoes for any temples you go inside. Some more traditional buildings also require removal of your shoes, so be prepared for this inevitability. If you are wearing sandals, I also recommend that you carry a pair of socks with you to put on when you remove your shoes in public buildings.
A rain jacket is essential when traveling in Japan in the summer. Try to get one that is light-weight and easy to carry. I have included some nice options above that are very travel friendly. You can also choose to carry an umbrella with you. You can bring a travel-size umbrella from home, or you can purchase one after you arrive in Japan (this could make a good potential souvenir).
Sweatshirt or Light Jacket
Even though it will be hot during the day, keep in mind that it can get cool in the evenings. It is also likely that the AC will be on in some buildings, so it is a good idea to bring a sweatshirt, cardigan, or light jacket with you to help keep you warm when the sun goes down. A travel scarf is another good option for this, especially if you are trying to save space and don’t want to bring a bulky sweatshirt.
Japan is much more conservative with respect to the Covid-19 pandemic than we are here in the United States. While the mask mandate has been lifted, it is still very common for people to wear masks when they are indoors, and even in crowded outdoor areas. Even before the pandemic, it was quite normal for people to wear masks in Japan if they were feeling under the weather, so it is very accepted to wear masks in public there. I recommend bringing a stack of masks with you on your trip.
You can absolutely bring things like sunglasses, sun hats and jewelry with you on the trip. There are many fantastic jewelry traveling cases for this purpose. I will make a suggestion though – you can buy these things once you get to Japan and bring home a great souvenir that you might actually still use once you get home!
Toiletries can be tricky, especially when you have to go through security at the airport. I recommend finding products that are solid forms of traditionally liquid products to help cut down on the number of liquids you have to account for with TSA.
These are some great products that I personally enjoy using that can help you have less liquids to pack. For the liquids you do pack, I recommend the clear zipper pouches above to get through security at the airport. They are TSA approved, and can hold more than a standard quart-size ziplock bag.
Here is a great toiletry bag option. I have used this one from eBags for years, and it has held up so well. It is also a good idea to decant your liquids into smaller containers, like these silicone jars, or these refillable squeeze pouches if you don’t want to try to (or cannot) find travel-size bottles of all your favorite products.
Below is a list of what I recommend bringing with you in your toiletries bag (this will go in your carry-on suitcase):
- Toothpaste (solid)
- Nail clippers/file
- Sunscreen stick (solid)
- Body Lotion (solid)
- Makeup (lipstick/chapstick, eyebrow pencil, blush, eyeshadow, blush brush, beauty blender)
- Feminine products
- Hair accessories
Here is what I will be packing in my liquids bag to get through security:
- Shampoo (there are solid shampoo bars that you can try to avoid this liquid)
- Hair gel
- Face Wash
- Face Scrub
- Body Wash (you could bring bar soap to avoid this liquid)
- Dry Shampoo (you could bring a powder form to avoid this liquid)
- Face Moisturizer
- Foundation (yes, makeup counts as a liquid)
- Mascara (yes, mascara counts as a liquid)
- Hand sanitizer
What to Pack in your Personal Item:
I have another blog post going up soon for what to bring on a long-haul flight. It will go into more detail than I will here. This is a short list of things that I recommend bringing in your personal item (backpack) on the airplane.
- Travel pillow
- Sleeping mask/Earplugs
- Reusable water bottle
- Electronics Organizer
- Portable phone charger (another version)
- Phone/Watch chargers
- Wet wipes
- Travel tissues
- Travel first-aid kit (bandaids, ibuprofen, imodium, bonine, airborne, etc)
- 1 Mask
- A pen
- Medicines (in original containers – very important for Japan travel)
- Coin purse (lots of Japanese currency is in coin form)
- One change of clothes in a packing cube
- Debit card/credit card
- Passport holder/wallet
- Copies of your passport in all bags
- Vaccine cards
- Copy of itinerary
- Copy of necessary prescriptions
Be sure to check out my other travel posts, especially:
Amazon Travel Essentials & Must-Haves for 2023
Are you traveling to Japan this summer? What are you most excited to see or do? Do you have any packing tips that you swear by? Let’s chat down in the comments!
Love and happy traveling,
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