So, you have decided that Japan (日本) will be your next travel destination but what travel gear do you actually bring on a trip to Japan? Most of these items are generally useful for most countries, but I’ll throw in some Apps for your smartphone that are specific to Japan.
Knowing what to bring with you is essential to get the maximum enjoyment out of your trip.
People have different kind of travel styles. Some like to backpack, some like to travel with suitcases. I’m one of the second type and I’ll show you which suitcase I’m using.
For long-distance travel such as Japan, I highly recommend getting a hardcase suitcase to prevent any damage from the flight or the transport of your luggage.
Similarly, be sure to get a lock to make sure things don’t get stolen as it sadly happens sometimes.
My suitcase is quite a simple one for about 40$/€ and satisfies everything mentioned above. It has a unique design and comes in 10+ colors and three different sizes, so you have plenty of choice. I recommend this as an affordable option that is safe and doesn’t break the bank.
My backpack was almost as expensive as the suitcase at about 35$/€, although it was on discount. It’s a great backpack with an insane amount of space. A space for a laptop as well as a USB charger is also included. With this backpack you can easily do multiple days’ worth of trips without taking your suitcase with you. It has around 20 different spaces for storage and a total volume of over 40 litres.
A powerbank is a very useful thing in today’s day and age. Since you’re most likely going to be navigating a lot with your smartphone, having a second or even a third charge is very useful. You can use it for every electronical device that you bring with you. You can buy a more expensive one to get more charges or you can stick with the one I bought which is very affordable.
Camera + accessories
Every good trip gets even better if you keep the memories in form of a picture. That way, you can show friends and relatives what you experienced first hand. It is widely known that Japanese brands, e.g. Canon and Nikon, are very good cameras to get.
I myself use a Canon 4000D and can only recommend it. Many different camera modes available and good quality. It’s also not super expensive, so it makes for a good beginner camera.
Japan has different outlets and voltage than other countries. With 100 Volt, it is weaker than North America (120 Volt) and Central Europe (230 Volt). Outlets and plugs resemble the ones from North America, so most devices are fine to use.
Because of the difference in voltage, some devices might not function fully (esp. heating devices). If you plan on purchasing electronical devices in Japan, be sure to get the proper equipment to use it back in America, as it is produced for 100 Volt.
Central Europe has completely different outlets and plugs, which is why you will need adapters. Below, I will link the ones that I use for Germany. You can get ones specific for your country or universal ones that work everywhere.
Although technically no travel gear, smartphone apps are very useful to have, especially in a unique country such as Japan.
First, let’s start with the obvious ones: Google Maps and Google Translate. I think most people know how to use these two and appreciate its wide usability. If you have a mobile internet connection such as a SIM card or a pocket WiFi, you can use these apps to navigate your travel or translate words you do not understand.
If you do not plan on getting internet, you can use Maps.me which is a great offline map that I used myself. Simply download the city maps beforehand (in your hotel for example) and use it just like Google Maps.
Now, there are some apps that are specific to Japan that provide you with very useful information such as the Japan Official Travel App. With this, you can get info on trains, sights, restaurants and generally navigate your way through Japan.
A similar app to this is Navitime which offers almost the same content.
Planning on taking the Shinkansen (新幹線), Japanese highspeed trains, from Tokyo (東京) to Kyoto (京都) for example? Use Hyperdia to look up exact train schedules and fees. You can also use its normal webpage.
Lastly, there is an app which helps you navigate through Tokyo’s vast subway system.
For your mobile Internet options in Japan, check out my article about the topic.
Looking to do a lot of train travel between bigger cities? Get yourself a Japan Rail Pass, it will save you a lot of money!
For more info, click on the picture above.
Takeaway on Travel Gear
Being prepared is very important for a big international trip. Depending on where you are from, Japan might be a very far away and different destination for you. Figuring out your preferred way of travel is the first step. Once that is figured out, you can go ahead with the purchases.
A good suitcase and a backpack build the basis of your travel gear. Having a powerbank for backup, adapters for your devices and some useful apps to navigate will be the ultimate combination to master your trip.
That’s it for travel gear, I hope you enjoyed it!
If you found this article useful, please consider sharing it with your friends and family, it would mean a lot to me.
See you there.