Traveling in Japan is a wonderful experience, and everyone should try to make it at least once. That said, the country has a host of challenges for visitors that are not present for most other countries. Here are five absolutely essential items to take with you on your trip to Japan.
1.) A wheeled trolley bag and a practical day pack
You’ll definitely want to take bags that don’t weigh you down while you go about your business. Having a heavy, impractical suitcase or a backpack that digs painfully into your shoulders might be fine for a couple of minutes at a time, but you likely won’t have ready access to a car when you’re in Japan. And even if you do, you’ll still find yourself doing a lot of walking.
A lightweight wheeled trolley bag is absolutely essential if you’re taking a lot of stuff with you. You should also take a practical, lightweight backpack, messenger bag, or shoulder bag for your activities outside of the place you will be staying at.
2.) Practical shoes
One thing a lot of visitors to Japan don’t always expect is the sheer amount of walking they will have to do to get anywhere. While an International Driver’s Permit is valid in Japan, it’s not generally practical to rent or buy a car unless you foresee staying in Japan for an extended period.
In any case, even Japanese people who do own cars do a lot of walking, especially in urban areas, thanks to a combination of an excellent mass transit system and a lack of parking spaces. As a visitor to Japan, you will probably find yourself doing the same, especially given how expensive taxi rides are in most metropolitan areas.
If you’re not used to doing a lot of walking, it’s worth it investing in a proper pair of shoes a few months before your trip. Make sure the pair you get is comfortable outside of the box and needs no break-in. Some extra room might be a good idea as your feet will surely expand from all the walking. If you’re going to a business meeting or a formal event, you can opt to have practical walking shoes when you’re out and about and a more presentable pair to change into just before your meeting.
3.) Pocket Wifi
You will not easily find open wifi hotspots in Japan. This is somewhat surprising for many visitors, given Japan’s tech-savvy image. Renting a pocket wifi device from Japan Wifi Buddy will allow you to enjoy high-speed internet anywhere in Japan without having to pay excessive rates for international roaming fees. You’ll definitely one because if for no other reason, Google Maps does not offer an offline function in Japan.
4.) Cash money
It may be one of the most advanced countries in the world, but Japan is still largely a cash-based society. This often surprises visitors who expect that they will be able to get fine with just a credit card. While this problem may be more acute in rural areas, even it’s definitely an issue even in Tokyo and other major Japanese cities.
Make sure to exchange slightly more currency than you believe you will need. Given Japan’s incredibly low rates of street crime, carrying large amounts of cash is not a major issue in most cases.
5.) Universal adaptors, chargers, and power banks
You’re going to have a pretty bad day if your devices run out of juice while you’re out and about. Japan’s unusual power grid also complicates things slightly for travelers. Having a good power bank and universal adaptors on hand in your day pack will help you avoid these issues by allowing your devices to stay charged and ready for action wherever you are. You’ll definitely want it so you can keep your pocket wifi topped up so you can stay connected.