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How To Pack For Japan By Seasons - Tips For a Great Trip Year-Round

How To Pack For Japan By Seasons - Tips For a Great Trip Year-Round

2019.09.10 Bookmark

Packing for Japan varies greatly by season, as weather differences are very noticeable. Learn which clothes and shoes to bring, how much to pack, and other tips from experienced travelers on what to bring for a comfortable and memorable Japan trip.

Written by MATCHA_En

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Packing for Japan - What to Bring for Each Season

How To Pack For Japan By Seasons

Photos by pixta
Most people consider weather and seasonal differences when packing for a trip abroad. Japan especially can be difficult to pack for, due to the stark changes in conditions, from heavy rain and snow during the winter, to hot and humid heat in the summer.

This article covers what to pack for Japan by seasons, from clothing and shoes to extra items to take for various weather conditions. These suggestions provide an idea of what to expect and how to adjust your packing to be comfortable no matter when you are in Japan.

Packing for a Spring Trip to Japan

philosopher's path kyoto

Philosopher's Path in Kyoto. Photo by pixta
Spring in Japan is a mild season with ideal weather, typically lasting from late March through mid-June. This is a popular season for travel as it also coincides with the blooming of the cherry blossoms. Weather in late March and April will be the mildest, with warmer temperatures starting in May and tsuyu, the rainy season in mid-June. Spring in Japan is a relatively easy season to prepare for when packing.

What to Bring

For clothing, bring light, long-sleeve and short-sleeve shirts, and midweight bottoms. For early mornings and evenings it may be chilly so take along a light coat (especially if visiting in March) and cardigan. You will be comfortable in long pants and jeans. If your trip is in mid-June, take water-resistant shoes with you.

Spring is a season when many flowers bloom, from cherry blossoms to azaleas and hydrangeas. If you plan on taking photos, you will fit in with the floral background wearing flowy blouses in spring colors.

What to Buy in Japan

Purchase your umbrella in Japan to keep things simple when packing your bags. You can find a wide selection of foldable, plastic, and Japanese-style ones at convenience stores and department stores. Consider getting a light raincoat or poncho as well.

Insect repellent spray and sunscreen are two products that will make you feel more comfortable when outside. High-quality versions of both are sold throughout Japan at drugstores and chain stores like Don Quijote.

Packing for a Summer Trip to Japan

summer in japan

Photo by pixta
Summer weather in Japan begins in late June and ends around late August, although the heat can last through mid-September. Summer also brings typhoons and heavy rains. We strongly recommend packing keeping the heat and potential in mind.

What to Bring

For clothes, bring light, breathable layers. Most travelers will feel comfortable wearing loose, short-sleeve T-shirts and long, flowy skirts or pants; if you will be swimming, bring your own bathing suit to avoid size complications. Shorts and tank tops are also viable options for everyday wear, but make sure you can move freely and bend down comfortably. 

A wide-brimmed hat is also recommended to shield you from the intense sunlight. Bring a pair of casual sandals and comfortable walking shoes, ideally with some water resistance.

Other summer essentials include deodorant, as Japanese deodorants may not be as strong or long-lasting as you're used to. Also, bring a bag with enough room and compartments for your passport, wallet, and a water bottle. You should be drinking plenty of fluids during this hot season.

What to Buy in Japan

Purchase an umbrella once you are in Japan to decrease the risk of losing it during travel. Convenience stores sell sturdy umbrellas, and you can also find high-quality ones at a gift shop that will also make a great souvenir after you're done using it.

Japanese sunscreen is also a must in the summer. It comes in a variety of finishes and high SPF to keep you protected. Visit a drugstore or Don Quijote to find a variety of Japanese sunscreens; insect repellent is also recommended and available nationwide.

Refreshing body wipes are great for when you're feeling sweaty and hot. You can find them at convenience stores or drug stores from a range of brands and scents. Many provide a cooling feeling that will relieve you of any discomfort related to the harsh weather.

Packing for a Fall Trip to Japan

fall in japan

Picture from Osaka's 10 Most Beautiful Fall Foliage Spots In 2019 - Enjoy The Views!
Fall temperatures in Japan begin around mid-September and last until November. Like spring, fall weather in Japan is mild and comfortable for travel; you will likely spend considerable time outdoors, enjoying the red and gold foliage. Evening temperatures may be considerably cooler than the daytime, so be sure to pack to stay warm during the night.

What to Bring

Pack midweight short-sleeve and long-sleeve tops and long bottoms in your suitcase. Cardigans, jackets, and midweight coats are helpful for adjusting your body temperature at night. For shoes, bring comfortable sneakers and walking shoes, as fall is a great time to be outside. If you plan on hiking or doing vigorous exercise, bring your own pair of boots or athletic shoes as Japan may not carry your size.

What to Buy in Japan

The typhoon season in Japan last through October, so you may encounter heavy rain and wind in fall. Carry an umbrella with you. As mentioned above, umbrellas are sold at convenience stores and most retailers in Japan.

Packing for a Winter Trip to Japan

Shirakawago in winter

Shirakawago. Photo by pixta
Winters in Japan can be very chilly for those not used to cold weather. Travelers who have to move around and go outside often should be prepared for severe conditions. Although it doesn't snow in areas like Tokyo and Osaka, mountainous areas receive considerable snowfall. Proper preparation for a winter trip with appropriate clothes and accessories will make your travel more enjoyable.

What to Bring

Long-sleeve T-shirts to layer under sweaters and coats will provide a base of warmth; if you don't have anything heavy enough, consider purchasing special thermals before or after you come to Japan. A winter coat with a hood and warm lining is essential. Cardigans and jackets are also recommended to go in between your shirt and coat.

Scarves, hats, and gloves will also help you feel more comfortable as the wind can be piercing. Long pants layered on top of long underwear will keep your legs warm.

What to Buy in Japan

Thermal underlayers are sold at major clothing retailers, such as UNIQLO. These thin layers provide more coziness than cotton shirts and are recommended to try. Long underwear and leggings are also sold using the same heat-generating fabric.

If you are very sensitive to the cold, look for kairo, or temporary heat packs you can hold or stick on your body for extra warmth. Kairo are sold at convenience stores and can be bought in economy-size packs at Don Quijote.

Tips for Changing Weather and In-Between Seasons

How To Pack For Japan By Seasons

Photo by pixta
If you are visiting during the changing of the seasons (especially during March, June, September, or November) you may experience drastic temperature and weather differences.

It is easiest to pack light and buy the items you need in Japan to make yourself comfortable. For lingering cold, you can find scarfs, gloves, and heat packs that will likely make a big difference.

If you feel too hot during the early or late summer season, try refreshing body sheets and looking for lightweight clothing. Traditional foldable fans known as sensu, or portable electric fans are also useful and fun to use in the heat.

Pack Just What You Need Year-Round

Japan's four distinct seasons can make it challenging to know how and what to bring for a trip. With some preparation and strategy, however, it is very possible to stay comfortable. Each season offers something special, from traditional festivals to outdoor activities. Pack smart to allow yourself to have an unforgettable time traveling around Japan.

The information presented in this article is based on the time it was written. Note that there may be changes in the merchandise, services, and prices that have occurred after this article was published. Please contact the facility or facilities in this article directly before visiting.

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