Oh, packing! Who doesn’t love packing? Well, me neither, but we have to do it and we have to be good at it, if we want each trip to at least have a chance at not sucking. And if you don’t know what to pack for a fall trip to Japan, I have created this packing list for 2 autumn weeks in Japan to help you out. I hope you’ll find it useful.
Travel essentials for 2 autumn weeks in Japan
Now, let’s start from the beginning. You first need to get there and to be able to move around. And we all know you cannot do that if you’re missing some very important things.
The official papers that you’ll need will, of course, depend on your passport. You will have to look this up way in advance, even before buying your plane tickets and reserving your accommodation. In any case, you usually need to bring with you your passport and visa plus maybe some custom forms, depending on what you’re bringing in your luggage.
A good idea is to also have another form of identification that you keep away from your passport, to use in case you lose your passport and need to talk to the Embassy for your trip back. Of course, travel insurance is never a bad idea, and printed versions of your outbound trip and accommodation reservations might come in handy as well.
As for getting around, you’ll probably either need your JR Pass exchange order (that you have ordered in advance, as I explain how to do here), or your driver’s license and/or international driver’s license if you intend to drive here. Don’t sweat over having the SuICa or ICoca cards, you can buy those in any major station.
And, before I close this boring, but important chapter, don’t forget to bring in cash and cards. Yes, I used the plural. There is a possibility your card might be rejected (Revolut worked for us), so the more you have, the best chance you have at getting to use them. In any case, having cash is not a bad idea as Japan is still very cash-based, especially if you’re going to more traditional places.
The best luggage for your Japan trip
You’ll have to pack all of your things in something, right? Big, bulky luggage is not easy to use while in Japan, since the public transportation system, while very good and efficient, lacks the space for this to be an option. Especially if you’ll travel at peak times, you will regret your decision if you’ll have huge luggage to carry around.
So, what suitcase size is better for Japan? What I recommend is either a small, rolling suitcase (but be prepared to also carry it up and down the stairs from time to time) or a backpack. The smaller the better, I would say, but you probably won’t be able to be very minimalistic when traveling to Japan for 2 weeks.
If you do have a big suitcase, try to use the luggage forwarding system they have implemented just for people like you (and me, I’ll admit). You can find one company at most hotels and for a small fee, they will send your bulky luggage to your next destination, so you’ll be able to enjoy your ride as well.
For day-to-day use, I recommend having a small day backpack and/or a small purse, if you wish. It comes in pretty handy to carry around a bottle of water and some snacks, plus some gear you might want to have with you. If the backpack is not very big, take also a light, packable tote bag for unexpected souvenir shopping, and plan some space in your big luggage for your souvenirs as well.
To keep you organized, I have four ideas for you: packing cubes, laundry bags, cable bags, and shoe bags. I’m not sure if you need all or any of them, for that matter, but most people find it easier to keep their luggage nicely packed when using these helpers, so I thought I’d throw them in here for you.
And if you hate taking the wrong back from the carousel bag at the airport, I think you might love the idea of having ID tags (you can buy some here, here, and here) on all your pieces of luggage with your data. It’ll make it easier to recognize and they’re so pretty, am I right?
Electronics to pack for a fall trip to Japan
If there’s one place in the world where you cannot go without electronics, Japan is that place. I mean, the country itself is known for the amazing electronic devices everyone has, and you can even go and have dinner in a Robot restaurant. So, let’s get to your favorite part of this packing list for 2 autumn weeks in Japan.
You will definitely need a pocket wi-fi or a phone that you can use with a SIM card to create a hotspot for you and your travel partner(s). We used the SIM card version as we’re cheap, but most people choose a pocket wi-fi as it’s easy to use and can serve more users with minimum effort, thus making it one of the most recommended items for 2 autumn weeks in Japan.
The next very useful gadget is a travel plug adapter. It’s great not only because you can easily use your home chargers, but you can also plug multiple devices in only one adapter. Please buy a general one like this one instead of an adapter for each country you visit! It’s not pricey and you’ll use it on all your trips.
Let’s get to the fun part! I won’t remind you to take your phone as probably no one leaves the house without it anyway, but also don’t forget your laptop or tablet if you use one, and the eReader that you’ll use intensively on the flight and maybe on bullet train trips. But I recommend you spend your time on the train watching the world around you instead. There’s plenty of time to read on that huge flight you’ll have to take back.
For the photographer in you to be happy, don’t forget your camera and additional accessories you might use. Most people have some sort of lenses they love and even I have a tripod these days (there’s so much anyone can take when you see blurred photos on a travel blog, right?). If you want to remember things in motion, bring your GoPro and take some cool shots at the Digital Art Museum.
Small, but important electronics are the following: chargers for all devices mentioned above, a power bank to keep them alive on the go, spare batteries (especially for that battery-eater GoPro), and SD cards, especially if not bringing in a laptop. You might also want an external hard drive if you want to be on the safe side of not losing all your photos and videos.
And for your flight, I cannot emphasize enough the need for ANR headphones. The quality of our flights has increased significantly since we bought ours, and we’re spending plenty of time praising this amazing invention to everyone. Now, if you can afford a nice Sennheiser, be my guest, but something less pricey might work miracles as well.
Of course, you can buy most of these things and even more while you’re there. There are so many things you can buy, from old game consoles to shiny new phones, but I’m sure you still need an indication as to what electronics to bring when traveling to Japan.
Recommended clothes for 2 autumn weeks in Japan
This list is getting bigger and you didn’t even add the clothes, right? What should you wear in Japan during autumn? Well, this will mostly depend on how good you are at combining pieces of clothing and accessories to get a sleek look every day, without carrying your whole wardrobe with you. Also, don’t forget you’re traveling to a shopping heaven so you might want to leave some room for new stuff as well.
In no particular order, I’ll mention the items you’ll need to take part of your autumn attire to wear in Japan based on the weather. How many of each will depend on the quality of fabrics and how clumsy you are (thus staining or otherwise messing your clothes while there). Plus, don’t forget about layers: combine multiple layers and you’ll pack less and enjoy your trip more.
Let’s start at the bottom. You will need one or two pairs of shoes that are easy to remove. Temples, shrines, ryokans, and even some restaurants have a “No shoes” policy you must follow, so you’ll need to take them off pretty often. Add a pair of flip-flops if you intend to visit an onsen or pool, in which case you also need a swimsuit.
Don’t forget to bring in plenty of pairs of socks (and don’t choose the ones with holes in them, people WILL get to see them more often than you think), tights (if you intend to wear dresses/skirts), and a pair of compression socks for your flight.
Have also a few pairs of pants and at least one belt, and you’ll get bonus points if your belt does not have metal so you won’t have to remember to take it out at the security gates. Dresses or skirts (if you feel comfortable in them), are a good idea as well, and throw in some leggings if you can combine them (and you can wear them under your pants if it’s too cold one day.
For your upper body, you’ll need a few good-quality T-shirts, short and long-sleeved shirts, and one or two sweaters. I told you, it’s all in the layers! A lightweight fleece will also come in handy in those cold, early mornings, and you can easily take it off and carry it in your day backpack when it gets warmer.
Even if the typhoon season is over in November, you might expect a few drops of rain anyway. Thus, having a light rain jacket is a good idea, and combined with warmer layers it will be useful any day. You can, of course, bring also a nicer-looking jacket if you don’t want to look like “such a tourist” every day.
And speaking of nicer outfits, if you intend to go out, bring also one or two nicer apparel. Just don’t forget this when choosing your shoe options as a cocktail dress rarely looks OK with hiking boots. Oh, did I say “rarely”? I meant “never”.
Going up just a bit more, bring your sunglasses as well and one or more scarfs and hats, if you think you might feel cold. The scarf can also have a hidden pocket for all that cash you’ll be carrying around, and both items make for good accessories options that will spark up your appearance. If you need to buy some, check out my recommendations below:
Sunglasses for her
Sunglasses for him
I know this is more on the pricier side of things, but the scarves from this Etsy vendor are beautiful and unique, and you can even create custom orders to have it painted with something that truly represents you.
If you use my code, “СRISTINAG5OFF”, at checkout you’ll get a 5 euro discount and a beautifully crafted scarf. I’m thinking of buying one before each trip, to match the destination.
And what else is there? Well, you’ll need undergarments and something to sleep in, be it your college T-shirt or a plain old pair of pajamas. And voila, now you know what to wear in Japan in November.
Toiletries to pack for a fall trip to Japan
I don’t know about you, but I tend to carry WAY too many toiletries wherever I go. Maybe because I’m picky about the cosmetics I use, maybe because my husband doesn’t make me carry the bags, it doesn’t matter: I’m an over-packer and I need help.
So please take this into account when reading the list below. So, what toiletries do you need to pack when going to Japan?
Also, I have to tell you that most hotels provide toiletries, but if you have your own, use them, especially if you see they offered you single-use items like razor blades and teeny tiny bottles of shampoo (who uses that little shampoo anyway?).
Well, first you’re going to need a toiletry bag, or more, depending on how many of these things you’re going to take with you. Then, have everything you need to take care of your smile: toothbrush, toothpaste, and floss. If you can use a bamboo toothbrush and solid toothpaste, I’ll be your best friend.
Next, let’s cover everything you need for washing: shower gel, shampoo, conditioner. Try to use solids wherever possible, as to not create more waste. The next step to looking neat is to have deodorant and a comb or brush. Add some hair ties and bobby pins plus a hair straightener or curling iron if you feel fancy.
If you know you need them, don’t forget your glasses and/or contact lenses plus the solution you keep them in. Some eye drops might be useful as well, as most places are air-conditioned and they will come in handy during the flight anyway.
To keep yourself groomed, have a nail care set and a grooming set plus a razor, either classical or electrical. For your skin care, don’t forget everything you need for your skin routine: face wash, moisturizer, hand cream, body lotion, make-up, and make-up remover, lip balm and God knows what else is there.
And some smaller, but very important toiletries should also be on your list. I’m talking about feminine care needs, hand sanitizer, SPF cream, and insect repellent. You might not need all of them, but can you take that chance? And this is all toiletries you need to add to your packing list for two weeks in Japan.
Small, but important items for your Japan packing list
This is the place where I list everything that didn’t fit anywhere else but should fit in your bag. You need an umbrella, as the weather in autumn can be quite unstable, or you can have a raincoat with you at all times. Also, an RFID wallet with a coin compartment is for sure one of the things to bring when traveling to Japan as you’ll have plenty of cash lying around.
Even though you have plenty of vending machines you can use all around Japan, I still recommend you get an insulated water bottle with or without a filter and a similar coffee mug. The cost for these two products is over the years and you produce less waste.
If you’re a light sleeper, bring in your earplugs and night mask. The cities can be quite noisy at the night and not all hotels have very good noise cancellation. It’s the same with the lights, you cannot count on having blackout curtains at your accommodation. As a bonus, you can also use them on your flight.
And the most important in this section: a first aid kit and a pack of face masks. The first aid kit can be a general one or just a pillbox, but please also add what you need from the following list:
- basic over-the-counter painkillers
- motion sickness pills
- stomach medicine
- allergy medication
- prescription medication you might need
- the certification of the prescription for any drugs
- documents with your medical history.
Also, keep the first aid kit with you at all times, not at the hotel as I did. Don’t be like me, be smart.
This is like the “small, and not that important” section. Some people find these things useful, but you will survive just fine without them as well.
The first thing is a small sewing kit, with a few needles, a few color threads, and 2-3 buttons. You never know when you need it. Then, try to have a pen and maybe a notebook with you. The pen you need for various forms, and the notebook if you want to write or draw something while in Japan. It’s a pretty inspirational country!
You might also need a small and fast-drying towel. Some public toilets don’t have paper towels and not everyone enjoys wet hands. You can also have some tissues with you, as apparently not all of them have toilet paper (we didn’t find any without, to be honest), and you probably don’t want to use the bidet in a public toilet.
And lastly, you can think of having a passport cover (buy one from Walmart, Etsy, or Airportag) and/or a document holder for all your documents. Especially if you’re the type that prints everything and doesn’t want to rely on their phone, you might find this trick helpful in organizing your documents. And they come in cute patterns! Who doesn’t love cute patterns?
Apps and sites to use when planning your trip to Japan
I know you are not packing this, but it’s helpful to have them all listed here so you can download them beforehand. These apps will be useful for all your trips, so just make that “Travel” folder and keep them there.
Before I worked in aviation, I would always use Skyscanner to find plane tickets. It has so many cool options compared to other aggregators, like being able to look for tickets without specific dates (“Whole month”), or looking for tickets to “Anywhere”, or including nearby airports.
I also use Booking and Agoda for hotel reservations, but I recommend Agoda for all trips in Asia. They have better prices and more accommodations available compared to Booking. Don’t forget one of my money-saving tips: make a reservation with free cancellation and before it expires, search again for any discounted offers.
Although I haven’t personally used it yet, as I only discovered it during Covid, GetYourGuide has plenty of offers for tours and experiences. Many travel bloggers recommend it and I’ll try it as soon as we can safely travel again.
If you’re an organizing freak like I am, here’s a tip: use Trello to plan your trip. It’s free (you can add some paid options if you want, but can live without them as well) and you can customize it as you wish. I still have the boards from some of my trips and whenever someone asks me for info, I just share it with them.
Google maps and Google translate are very important and don’t forget to download the offline maps and languages. You never know when you might need them while out of service. And a small helpful tool: download a boarding pass app. It keeps all your tickets organized. We even had “Permission of entry” types of passes added there.
Packing list for 2 autumn weeks in Japan – The takeaway
Finally, we have reached the end of this packing list for 2 autumn weeks in Japan. I know it’s been quite a read, but I also know that now you know what to pack for a fall trip to Japan, or at least what are the recommended items.
And because you know I love printable checklists, I have created a FREE list of things to pack for your two-week Japan trip! You can print it to use when you pack, so you won’t feel overwhelmed when you’ll start packing. You’re welcome!