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Planning a trip to Japan? Not sure where to even begin when it comes to packing for Japan?
I learned the hard way that carrying too much in your suitcase leads to sore arms and a lot of stuff that you don’t ever end up using.
Train stations in Tokyo are famed for having hidden lifts, so trust me when I say you want a lighter load when traveling here!
In this guide, I’m going to share my tips for packing for Japan, covering each of the seasons – Summer, Autumn, Winter, and Spring.
So regardless of when you’re visiting Japan, I’ve got you covered!
Read on for my Japan packing lists, my friends…
Packing for Japan in… Summer
When: June – August
The temperature in Tokyo: during these months can be anywhere between 19 – 30 deg C / 60 – 86 deg F
What is the weather like during Summer: While these temperatures don’t look too hot, what really adds to the heat is the humidity.
This time of year can be SWELTERING, especially if you’re in Tokyo or Kyoto. It’s also the rainy season, which can make for a confusing combination of hot and sticky (with a side of rain).
When heading to Japan during this time of year, make sure you pack light, breathable layers and don’t forget a raincoat or umbrella.
My summer packing list for Japan includes:
- Light Raincoat
- Umbrella (check out the clear umbrellas which are really popular in Japan!)
- Comfortable walking shoes/sneakers
- Swimsuit (if visiting coastal areas)
- Sun hat
- Insect repellant: if you are outside during dawn or dusk, or hiking outdoors, mosquito repellant is a must during the summer!
- Breathable T-shirts
- Shorts, skirts, or pants made from a breathable fabric
- Fans (this is a fun “kawaii” cat fan)
- Light, long-sleeved top for evenings (if it gets cold)
If you’re visiting major cities like Tokyo, Kyoto or Osaka during summer, the main aim is to pack light, breathable fabric which you can layer during the evenings.
Traveling in Japan during the summer can be uncomfortable if you’re not used to hot weather, but it’s also a beautiful time of year to visit with many festivals!
If you are visiting Northern Japan
If you’re visiting northern parts of Japan e.g. Hokkaido or mountainous regions (like Kamikochi) it is essential to bring a light jacket and/or long pants like jeans. These areas aren’t as hot in the summer, so you can expect colder temperatures, especially in the evenings.
Traveling in Japan during the summer can be mighty uncomfortable, but you’re rewarded by beautiful days like this! Taken at Naoshima: The Japanese Art Island
Air conditioning in Japan during Summer
In most buildings in Japan, these maximum temperature setting is 24 deg C or 75 deg F. This means that in the summer, even if you enter a public building it can be pretty warm still.
Usually at home in Australia, I struggle in summer because of the hot outside weather and the (too) cool air conditioning indoors. Needless to say, this was not a problem in Japan. If you get cold easily, do bring a light jacket (just in case as the weather is not always predictable!)
Psst: why is everyone carrying a towel during summer? In Japan, you might spot people carrying small towels during the summer months. Since it can get humid, this is to pat down any sweat. This is also popular for children who may struggle in the hot weather.
Make sure you get access to my Japan resource library which includes a FREE Japan packing list, which outlines everything you need to pack, depending on what season you’re traveling to Japan!
Packing for Japan in… Autumn/ Fall
When: September – November
The temperature in Tokyo: during these months can be anywhere between 9 – 27 deg C / 49 – 81 deg F
What is the weather like during Autumn: While this seems like a big range of temperatures, they really depend on whether you are traveling closer to summer (i.e. September) or closer to winter (i.e. November).
During this time of year, the days will start to get colder, so you’ll need to pack warmer clothes. You’re lucky – if visiting during Autumn, you’ll be rewarded with smaller crowds and golden colored fall leaves.
Make sure you layer up! Depending on where you’re headed, you may find the temperatures vary quite a bit. For example, Hokkaido is always known to be cooler in temperature than Tokyo and Kyoto – pack accordingly!
My autumn packing list for Japan includes:
- Long sleeve tops
- Warm jacket/ coat
- Warm jumper/ sweater
- Woolen hat or beanie
- Boots or sneakers
- Warm socks (preferably woolen)
Remember to think in layers – items that you can use to make yourself warmer if necessary. Also take note of where exactly in Japan you’re heading to (remember: the more north, the colder it will be!)
Depending on which month you visit, you may want to alter the adapt the listed items. If you’re traveling closer to summer, you might not need beanies or scarves. Similarly, if you’re visiting in November, you might want to bring warmer closer.
This is a personal choice and as always pack for you and what you need! And if you’re not sure – it’s very easy to go shopping in Japan!
Packing for Japan in… Spring
When: March – June
The temperature in Tokyo: during these months can be anywhere between 5 – 26 deg C / 41 – 78 deg F
What is the weather like during Spring: Spring is one of the most popular times of year to visit Japan, and rightfully so – the cherry blossoms are amazing!
This time of year is very much a transition season, so you may find that the start of spring is on the colder side, but the closer it gets to summer, it can starts to get warm. Pack layers and be prepared to mix it up a little!
My spring packing list for Japan includes:
- Long sleeve tops
- Light jackets
- Light jumper for colder mornings and evenings
- Light scarf
- Sneakers or closed toe shoes
- Wide angle clip-on lens for your phone’s camera… Because you will inevitably take more photos during Cherry Blossom season than you normally would!
Allegies during Spring in Japan
If you are visiting during Cherry Blossom season and you are prone to pollen allergies, make sure you bring any hayfever or allergy medication you usually use.
While pollen types vary around the world, make sure you come prepared if this is something you normally would struggle with at home. You want to be prepared so you can enjoy the flowers!
Psst: this happened to me when visiting during spring! I get pollen allegies as home in Melbourne, Australia. Lo’ and behold, they surfaced when in Japan for sakura season. Luckily I had my antihistamines with me!
Packing for Japan in… Winter
When: December – February
The temperature in Tokyo: during these months can be anywhere between 4 – 12 deg C / 40 – 54 deg F
What is the weather like during Winter: Depending on where you’re going in Japan, winter can be cold! Make sure you pack in layers, especially if you’re planning on spending a lot of time outdoors.
My winter packing list for Japan includes:
- Down jacket or very warm jacket (check out this warm + budget-friendly option)
- Long sleeve tops
- Jeans or long pants
- Woolen or thick socks (avoid cotton!)
- Boots or waterproof shoes
- Sneakers (if you’re planning on staying in the city)
- Beanie (this “beanietail” is great for those who like to tie their hair back while wearing a beanie)
- Disposable hand warmers (you can buy these in stores or online)
If you are traveling from the Northern Hemisphere and hence are used to colder climates, I would look up historical temperatures for the cities you’re visiting and pack depending on what you’re used to.
If you’re traveling from a warmer climate or the Southern Hemisphere (hello my Aussie and Kiwi friends!), it always helps to be prepared!
If you don’t have access to warm clothes, I’d highly suggest a visit to a second-hand store or your local Uniqlo store (if you have them in your country).
Can’t purchase winter clothes from home? Don’t worry! Bring what warm clothes you do have and buy a warm jacket when you arrive. For budget friendly but quality winter wear, I suggest shopping at the chain store Uniqlo (they’re located all over Japan!
Make sure you download our FREE Japan packing list, which outlines everything you need to pack, depending on what season you’re traveling to Japan!
Things to pack for a trip to Japan regardless of the time of year:
- Travel adapters (for my US friends, you don’t need to bring anything special, but for everyone else – this international adaptor can be used for your trip to Japan and all future overseas trips!)
- Your camera, spare SD cards, and spare batteries
- Any special medication you require
- Re-usable water bottle (tap water is safe to drink in Japan!)
- Powerbank for your phone
- Tablets, laptop + charger, headphones & other electronics you need
So there you have it – my all seasons packing guide for Japan!
Planning a trip can be stressful, without having to deal with the stress of packing. Keep in mind that regardless the time of year you visit Japan, it’s a place you can buy what you need if you forget to bring something!
I hope you found my packing lists for Japan helpful!
Now tell me: what month are you visiting Japan? What will you be packing for Japan?
Leave me a comment below and let me know!
Want to read more Japan content? You can find all my Japan travel guides here, and here are some of my most popular posts:
- The Ultimate 4-day Kyoto Itinerary
- How to avoid the crowds in Kyoto
- 10 Budget tips for visiting Tokyo
- Things to know before you visit Japan