What to pack for Japan: 23 Travel Essentials | Solo Female Travel

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When you plan a solo trip to Japan, you have to keep in mind hundreds of things. Apply for leaves, book your ticket, book your accommodation, phew! And then comes the most dreaded of them all: Packing and with a barrage of questions come to mind. What to pack for Japan? What should I not bring? How many dresses are too many dresses? so on and so forth.

But fear not because I have listed 24 absolute travel essentials you must pack for your trip to Japan. So while you fret over the other aspects of your trip, this is one where you don’t have to.

1. Jet lag pills

Imagine travelling for almost 10 hours with layovers in between, and then when you reach Japan, all excited to explore the country for the first time, you are hit with jet lag, and you are exhausted. 

To avoid that, do carry some jet lag pills but consult a doctor before popping them. You can take No Jet Lag pills that have worked wonders for me. Pop a pill just before landing to avoid jet lag or one if you have fallen prey to jetlag.

2. Universal power adapter

As a female solo traveller, it is necessary to keep all your appliances charged at all times, and for that, a universal power adapter is a must. The best thing about travelling to Japan is that there is no shortage of charging points but while your two pin chargers may work in most places, charging your three-point laptop chargers will be an issue. So universal power adapters are the answer to all problems. 

To be on the safe side, buy two power adapters so that you can use the other even if you misplace one.

3. Small portable charger

A trip to Japan is always a packed and hectic one. Blame it on the country which has too many sights to behold. So, there will be times when you are on the road, your phone is dying, and there’s not a single charging point in sight. For times like these, carry a small portable charger. There are fancy and cute looking ones on the internet, and they are so little that they don’t take up a place at all.

But remember to charge your portable chargers before setting out for the day. Items like these should be on your list for any trip. Check out more on my blog here

4. Update your Spotify playlist and take a pair of earphones

As a female solo traveller, music is always your constant. There is no better companion on those solo trips than your favourite melody playing in your ears. So, remember to update your Spotify playlist or any other playlists that you prefer. You can even download your favourite audiobooks and podcasts for those long journeys on bullet trains in Japan.

While traveling in a country that always abides by rules, always carry your earphone or headphone, never disturb anyone else.

5. Comfortable shoes

Japan is a fast-paced country, and you have to always be on the move. High heels and uncomfortable shoes are a big no-no in Japan. You cannot be expected to strut down in your heels among the sea of people at the Shibuya crossing or walk up the plentiful stairs around the country. 

So no matter how much it doesn’t look good in your Instagram pictures, always opt for the shoe where you walk comfortably for miles. You are also required to take off your shoes in many places in Japan (someone’s home, inns, temples, and shrines, and even some restaurants), so avoid wearing anything with laces as it will be inconvenient for you. Pack lots of socks. It will be helpful if you don’t want to walk barefoot when you take off your shoes while in Japan. 

6. Japan Railway Pass

The best and the most efficient way to travel in Japan is on a train, and it would be a shame not to experience some of the fastest trains in the world. Buy your Japan Railway Pass before travelling to the country as it is cheaper when you purchase it outside Japan. 

The pass is valid on all JR lines and covers bullet trains. You don’t have to worry about buying tickets from the station and haggling with cash. Just show your pass at the turnstile, and you are good to board the train. 

7. Travel insurance

Japan is undoubtedly a very safe country, but one can’t be too careful. As solo female travellers, we have had some bad experiences, like stolen baggage or maybe we have taken ill in the middle of our trip. It is always advisable to buy travel insurance to prevent such a situation, and Japan is no different. While a simple medication off the counter is generally reasonable, a more serious medical condition that would require hospitalization could burn a hole in your pocket. So getting travel insurance is highly advisable. 

I have always chosen World Nomads as they are quite affordable and will give you peace of mind.

8. Comfortable yet cute clothes

The clothes you pack for your trip to Japan depend on what season you have chosen to visit. If you are going to Japan in summer, pack your tank tops and shorts. While Japan is a relatively progressive country for women’s clothing, especially for visitors, pack something that covers your shoulders for visiting temples and shrines. If you have tattoos, I would ask you to keep them covered if you can as it is frowned upon in a lot of places. Interestingly, onsens or hot water springs in Japan usually do not allow people with tattoos. 

If you visit in the spring to see cherry blossoms in Japan, be sure to pack some cute dresses in bright colours for that perfect contrast in your photos. To know more about the ideal spots, click here. But it gets chilly in the evening so pack a light jacket. For the winters, pack your usual winter wear if you are visiting in the colder months. Carrying proper clothes for the country you are visiting may prove very tricky. Please read about the mistakes I made while packing for Egypt.

9. Stylish raincoats, umbrellas

Carry a pocket folding umbrella or pack a stylish raincoat for Japan. An elegant raincoat will make you feel good, so choose your favourite pop colours because why not. Try to pack something which is light so that it doesn’t take up too much space in your suitcase.

Pack shoes for a rainy day if possible so that walking in the rain gets easier. If you do not want to carry an umbrella, it’s fine as you will find them at various shops at a low price. 

10. Visa credit and debit cards, cash

Something that surprised me during my first visit to Japan was that despite the country being a hub of cutting-edge technology, it was heavily cash-reliant. Though the scene has changed over the years, some small eateries and coffee places take only cash. 

As a solo woman traveller, you might be a little worried about carrying a wad of cash in your purse in a foreign country, and though Japan is a safe country, it’s still a reckless move. Fret not. There are plenty of ATMs around the country where you can withdraw cash from.

11. Camera gear

As a traveller, clicking loads of pictures to keep a memory book is of utmost necessity, and packing your camera is always the hardest. As a solo traveller, it’s still a good idea to carry a tripod so that you don’t have to haggle with others for a photo. Please read my blog on some awkward moments female solo traveller faces here.

But tripods tend to take up a lot of space in your cabin luggage. So buy a good camera bag and tripods that are flexible so that you can tuck them in the corner of your bag. 

While a good phone camera does the trick, carry a good camera along with it so that you can capture the beautiful and photogenic country to the fullest. Also, take loads of videos just so that you relive those moments again later when you see them. Take a handstand so that the videos are not shaky.

12. VPN

Countries like China highly restrict your internet, and you need a VPN to access the web. Fortunately, Japan is quite relaxed when it comes to internet restrictions. But it’s better to be safe than sorry. 

So use a VPN for that extra layer of security your personal data needs in a foreign country.

13. Pocket Wi-Fi

When in Japan, it is doubtful that you will ever have connectivity issues but then again, as I said earlier, better safe than sorry.

Carry a pocket-sized portable WIFI, which will not take up any space and prove to be a saviour if things go awry.

14. Cute day bag

what to pack for Japan

Also, make sure it adds a pop of colour to your outfit!

When you set off for the day to explore different Japanese cities, your backpack is too huge for you to carry around, and your purse is too small for you to fit in essential things.

So, pack a day bag which is not too big or too small. Carry your documents, passport, ATM cards, cash, portable charger, and other things you deem necessary. Opt for a cute tote bag so that it adds glam to your pictures too.

15. Sunglasses and scarves

No matter the season in Japan, sunglasses are always a must. It is summer essential, and also, it is needed in the spring, especially when you keep looking at the cherry blossoms. Even during the colder months in Japan, you will find some clear days where a sunglass is a must-have. I would advise you to take at least two pairs of sunglasses and keep one in your backpack and another in your day bag. If you are blind without your contacts, then be sure to carry proper backup and lens solution. Do not forget your glasses and carry more than a pair if possible.

A scarf is another must in your suitcase. Not just for covering your head, but you can style it in different ways to make your wardrobe extremely stylish.

16. Medicine

My ultimate travel-friendly first aid kit!

For frequent solo travellers taking your medicine box is a no-brainer and when it’s Japan bringing extra medicine for an upset tummy is a good decision. 

While being delicious, Japanese cuisine might not go down well with a lot of us who are not used to eating a lot of raw fish. Hectic travelling schedules may also wreak havoc on your digestion, so carrying medicines is a good idea. Also, pack a few band aids, some antiseptic, and your anti-allergy tablets for your trip to Japan.

17. Tampons and menstrual cups

As a female solo traveller, carrying extra tampons and menstrual cups are always advisable. Even if you are done with your menstruation for the month and think that you would not need it, do take it. When you are travelling across time zones, sometimes your menstrual cycle can go for a toss. So be prepared for it.

18. A small hand towel

The Japanese public toilets are spotless, and though they usually have a supply of toilet paper, they don’t have paper towels or air dryers to wipe your hands. So carry a small towel in your daily bag for this purpose. 

You will also have to wash your hands as a part of Japanese culture when you visit temples and shrines throughout the country. So, a small hand towel is an absolute must.

19. Toiletries and a bag

what to pack for Japan

This bag is like my holy grail!

I have had numerous occasions where I have forgotten either my toothbrush or toothpaste, and I’ve had to hunt for it. To avoid that, make a list of every little thing you need, purchase small bottles for body wash, shampoo, conditioner, and label them. Get a toiletries bag online so that you have everything in the same place. Keep a bottle of dry shampoo handy for those extremely hectic days where taking a long bath is not an option.

I have seen that almost all the places in Japan have a blow dryer, so you don’t have to carry yours.

20. A good book

As female solo traveller journeys are all about being far from the chaotic life and enjoying a bit of tranquility. A good book is your best companion for this. Pack the book that you bought but never got a chance to read. Don’t carry books that are too heavy because it is unlikely that you will finish the whole book. Instead, choose ones you can carry easily, even on your day trips. 

21. A map of Japan

Though we live in a digital world, it’s ok to go old school at times. We may have everything at a fingertip, but there may be times where all electronics fail, and we have to rely on a map to help us out.

Imagine you go up a mountain in Japan for a hike to watch the cherry blossoms or ski along a slope in winter; keep a map of the place in your pocket with you. It will be there when everything fails.

22. Some instant ramen noodles

what to pack for japan

The best of all!

Well, when you travel to the land of ramen noodles in Japan, this might not be a necessary item to pack. Nevertheless, you won’t be sorry if you do. And even if you don’t, try procuring some once you’ve landed from a store.

There will be days when you won’t feel like going out to eat or ordering room service. Open the noodles, pour some hot water, and voila! Dinner is served.

23. A journal

Travelling is nothing but a life experience, especially for a female solo traveller. When we see things and experience them, we go through different emotions. We are overwhelmed, touched, happy, or just sad. Later, when we come back from the trip, we remember the places, the people, the food, the sights, but these emotions take a back seat. 

The best way to keep these emotions alive is to take a few minutes each night before going to bed and journaling them. If you love to sketch or paint, you can also put colours on your emotions. 

what to pack for Japan

Don’t forget your polaroid camera too!

There you have it. Now tick off everything from the list above and set out on your journey to Japan. 

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Swagachi

An introverted solo female traveller on an adventure around the world.

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