Falling For Japan – What to Bring on Your Fall Adventure to Japan
It’s the trip you have been waiting a lifetime for- Japan in the fall.
The gold leaves in Kourankei (Toyota, Aichi) from the top of the bridge will pierce your memory with their beauty and the decadent red carpet of foliage in Enrian (Kyoto) is awaiting your arrival. Shibuya crossing is calling your name and the Pokemon store has a stuffed Charizard doll with your name on it.
Your plane ticket has been bought, hotel booked, and you’re ready to go! Except for one thing- what do I pack?!?
Japan can be a tricky beast in the fall because you never know what to expect when it comes to the weather.
We all have that friend that over packs – I’m the first to admit that I always carry my life in a bag. What I have learned, however, is how to downsize that bag to make it easier to travel with. Unless you are planning on using cabs as your main port of transportation, which can get pricey fast, you will most likely be relying on the train/bus as means of transport and you do not want to be lugging too much around. Coming from experience and learning the hard way, overpacking leaves you exhausted and takes away from your experience during your travels.
How can you enjoy the beautiful chaos of Tokyo when you are dragging a suitcase behind you the entire time?
I have found that traveling around Japan, whether it be in the city or rural areas, all the necessities can easily fit into a backpack. Actually, whenever I’m traveling for fun, I rarely bring more than a carry on bag when I’m flying. Here’s what I recommend bringing as a visitor in Japan to prepare for your fall adventure-
Invest in a good umbrella!
Make sure you have a plastic protective case for it so it doesn’t get the rest of your belongings wet. Japan is known for its outbursts of rain, especially during the fall season. While umbrellas are available for sale at almost any convenience store, it’s good to have one on hand when you arrive. Also, there are normally storing stations to keep your umbrella in while you shop out front of most stores. If it’s not raining when you leave the store, try not to forget it! I’ve done it many times.
Keep it simple with clothing
Don’t bring too much. Despite what a lot of people say, you can buy clothes inexpensively here if you know where to look, but it does depend on your size. Always roll your clothes up and put them in the bottom of your backpack.
For fall packing, I do a standard mix of 2 pairs of jeans, 1 pair of cargo shorts, 5 tops of varying sleeve lengths, underwear, socks, a light jacket/hoodie, an extra pair of sneakers, and a dress or skirt/shirt combo made of stretchy material that won’t wrinkle in case of a nicer event I have to attend. I try to bring a nicer pair of shoes that matches my dressier outfit as well because it is harder to find shoes in my size if an occasion comes up that requires a dress code.
I know it seems like a lot, but it can fit into a backpack if rolled up properly. If it gets colder, you can always add another layer and this has worked for me the entire time I’ve lived in Asia.
Another thing about the shoes/sneakers, remember that you will probably be taking them off a lot of the time at tourist sites and replacing them with slippers, so make sure they are easy to slip in and out of. There is a lot of walking here so if there is anything to invest in, it’s the shoes!
I also recommend bringing a slip on plastic poncho just in case. They take up hardly any space in your backpack and sometimes an umbrella just doesn’t cut it!
Protect your gadgets
As for your camera, make sure you bring a case that includes a plastic covering or another protective bag to put it in. You don’t want to miss out on those pictures and also don’t want to have to worry about any water damage to your camera. I also carry a few extra plastic bags with me just in case to put my cell phone in. Most of the weather is pretty mild in the fall for Japan, but you never know when it’s going to rain!
Don’t skimp on toiletries from home
Japan can be really humid in the fall and no matter where you are from, if you haven’t been here before, it can be hard for your body to adjust to everything. I’m all for the immersion process, but you don’t want your body to go into shock to the point that you can’t enjoy your experience in such a unique and beautiful place.
It’s almost as if you can feel the history of the cities here seeping into your skin.
That being said, you want that feeling to be a pleasant experience. Bring skin products such as body and face wash, deodorant, lotion etc. that your skin is used to. It helps ease your body into a new experience. Sometimes in the midst of all the chaos that comes with change, no matter how beautiful, a part of you wants something that is consistent.
If you do happen to forget something though, don’t panic! There’s usually always a 711 around the corner with just about anything you can think of.
Bring your sense of adventure!
As always when traveling, be careful and prepared, but not to the point where you are so worried about everything that you don’t enjoy the exquisite journey that is traveling. There aren’t enough words to describe what being in Japan is like in the fall. You truly have to experience it in order to embrace it and I can say from experience, it is worth every second.
Happy and safe travels, everyone! I hope to see you here.