What to Bring to Japan

Packing for a trip is generally very easy for me, just pack the necessary clothes plus my laptop/tablet, phone and camera.  All of my trips thus far have been relatively short, or the weather was pretty constant and therefore packing was very simple.  This time around I am heading to Kyoto, Japan where they have all 4 beautiful seasons; I hear it is similar to North Carolina’s weather so it shouldn’t be too bad, but packing is a different story.  In addition to the difference in climate, there’s the culture too; Japan being quite unique.  Thus, I researched what I needed to bring; I already spent the past couple weeks researching other cultural differences, save that for another time.

As with anything unknown to me, I started to research on the Internet.  I started with YouTube J-vloggers; I spent days watching videos on random topics related and unrelated to packing for Japan.  After realizing that I spent too much time on YouTube and that I had an incomplete packing list, I resorted to a simple Google search.  I do not know why I didn’t start with Google like I always do.

Anyways, below are the most important and common items that I came across and a brief explanation as to why people included/mentioned them on their lists/videos:

  • Deodorant – it is not common to wear, and the only available products are spray
  • Shampoo – medicated kinds like for dandruff are unavailable
  • Cologne – not part of the culture nor sold in stores
  • Rice cooker – even used ones being sold are more expensive than those in America
  • Can opener – apparently can’t be found easily
  • Spices – bring favorites as not all are available in stores, even import stores
  • Presents – for teacher colleagues at schools as it is a custom, typically edibles like candy
  • Hand Towel / Hand Sanitizer / Tissues – for public restroom use
  • Bug spray – expensive
  • Apparel and Footwear – larger sizes are unavailable, if you’re larger than an average asian then prepare; keep in mind the culture too, like switching into other shoes/slippers entering buildings

You may be thinking, “EWWW they don’t use deodorant?!” Yeah, it’s true.  I heard that the Japanese only started selling spray deodorants not too long ago.  I haven’t heard any complaints about distinct body odors though; the way I think of it is it can’t get worse than the summer evening rush hour in NYC on the 4 / 5 trains from Grand Central to 14th St Union Square!

Anyways, in the end I packed everything above except the can opener.  I kind of forgot about it and did not bother because I’m sure I can find one!  Hopefully…

Might do a part two to this post in the future if there’s a need!

Feel free to comment if you have questions or concerns or just email me at humblewanderlustblog@gmail.com!  Don’t forget to subscribe for further info; won’t just pertain to Japan!  My next post may be about some magical world… 🙂


  1. Yup Nan. After being here and looking around, you don’t need to bring a can opener; they’re in convenience stores and even ¥100 stores. It’s true that there are no speed stick deodorants, and only sprays. Also, you can easily get a hand towel, hand sanitizer, and tissues at convenience stores; but you may want to bring a little bit if any because the restroom I used at the airport train station didn’t have towels/tissues or a hand dryer machine.

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