Posted by: lindsaygoes | August 1, 2009

Guide to Japan Part 2 – What to Take


Every time we moved accommodation there was the hassle of picking up our backpacks and carrying them, and they got heavier and heavier as we went along. The trip to our last hotel involved walking about a 800m to the closest train station, changing trains twice and then walking over a kilometre to the next station. At that point (based on the scales at the airport a day later) my bag was 20.5kg and my friends was even heavier. We ended up taking breaks and apparently my face was turning a bit red and there may have been veins starting to pop out.

One evening when we did decide that we’d rather get a taxi than walk to our hotel we couldn’t get past the language barrier so we had to walk…and then it started raining. Got their eventually, and getting to the station once we left was a bit easier to explain!


Take stuff that you can wash and dry in a hotel sink. The provided shower gel is really handy in the business hotels for washing your clothes and some of them have little lines in the showers. Otherwise they generally have some coat hangers that you can hang stuff on.

Not all of the hostels have towels provided so grab your own, and maybe a sarong if it’s a small one as we had a few places with communal showers.

Otherwise, really just stuff that’s appropriate for the season you’re going in. We were in Japan in April and it was surprisingly warm but it did rain quite heavily a couple of times so rainjackets were very helpful. Maybe a cover for your luggage with all that walking too!

Other stuff:

A few of the business hotels provide breakfast so you might want a sealable plastic bag (or buy a snazzy bento box while you’re over there) and travel utensils. They are also fairly common at 100Y shops and they come in cute little boxes, but the plain stuff from at home is just as functional! Then you can…um…stock up on some extra rolls and spreads and save money on lunch.

You’ll probably have a bit of time on trains so something to do is useful. Take a few books, an ipod or whatever, or learn the language and pester the person next to you!

And whenever you get to a new place, visit the Tourist Information Office (generally at the main station) and get a decent map of the local area. Very useful! Far more useful than the little ones in the guide books.


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