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Cherry blossoms. Spring festivals. Flower-filled parks. Japan is a wonderful place to visit in any season, but is especially alluring in spring when everything’s in bloom.
There’s only one problem — Packing for Japan in the spring can be tricky: Japan is very humid, temperatures vary from north to south, and it rains a lot. And as I learned on my trip this May, spring in Japan can also get surprisingly hot.
All that said, it is possible to pack well for spring in Japan; you just have to layer, bring rain gear, and pack the appropriate footwear. Here’s what I recommend packing for Japan if you’re visiting in spring.
What do I pack for my Japan vacation?
When packing for any trip to Japan, it’s good to reference HPL’s other packing lists for the same destination, even in various seasons. There are little nuggets of packing advice that may be useful for your specific trip.
Also, given that weather can be so variable at any time of the year, researching neighboring season lists is just plain smart.
What to Pack for Japan in Summer
Summer in Japan is a double edged sword. You get beautiful, lush landscapes but also the high heat and humidity. You'll need to pack accordingly.
What to Pack for Japan in Winter
In the winter, Japan can get really cold, especially if you’re traveling close to the water in the north. You’ll want to pack plenty of warm items, but make sure you can layer well.
Clothes: What to Wear in Japan in Spring
Layers are key for spring weather in Japan. In case of cold or rainy days, I recommend bringing a lightweight fleece or hoodie, which you can layer under a rain jacket if necessary.
I also recommend packing some of your most stylish clothes, especially if you plan to visit Tokyo. Women in Tokyo are very creative with fashion, so don’t be afraid to wear a red lip or a fun hair accessory.
Finally, I recommend dressing somewhat modestly for Japan. My sister and I got a lot of disapproving stares if we wore short dresses or skirts.
- 2 black t-shirts – they go with everything. I like the cotton ones from Everlane.
- 1 nice blouse – I brought a floral printed blouse that looked good with jeans.
- 1 skirt – I brought a fun, knee-length leopard-printed skirt.
- 1 dress – I recommend bringing a dress (or something dressier) if you’re planning on going to a nice restaurant.
- 1 hoodie – for cold days and flying.
- 1 jean jacket
- 1 lightweight rain jacket – If it gets cold, you can layer your hoodie under the rain jacket.
- 1 pair of jeans
- 1 pair of black jeans – versatile, and can be dressed up or down.
- 2 bras – one nude and one black.
- 5 pairs of underwear – For travel, I love ExOfficio underwear because you can wash it in the sink if necessary, and it dries super-fast.
- 5 pairs of socks
- 1 pair of leggings – for flying or travel days.
- 1 pair of pajamas – Pajamas are a nice luxury to have after a long travel day.
Shoes: Best Footwear for Japan in Spring
- Black sandals – I wore these sandals most days of the trip.
- Closed-toed walking shoes – You’ll most likely walking a lot, so don’t forget a pair of comfortable tennis shoes. I brought Stan Smiths.
- Rain boots – I advise bringing rain boots in case of rain. I love these short ones from Sam Edelman – they’re stylish, compact, and easy to pack.
- Flip flops – if you’re staying in a hostel, you may want to pack flip flops to use in the showers.
Toiletries: Pack Less & Buy There
Don’t overpack your toiletries – you can always buy more once you arrive. Plus, Japan has lots of amazing skincare and makeup products – leave some room in your suitcase to bring a few souvenirs home.
I also advise packing your toiletries in Ziploc bag, in case they explode mid-flight. (Editor’s note: Try some of these ziploc bag alternatives instead!)
- Shampoo/conditioner/body wash – You can fill these eco-friendly, refillable Go-Toobs with your preferred shampoo, conditioner, and body wash.
- Travel-size face wash
- Neutrogena face wipes – so handy for makeup-removal and long travel days.
- Moisturizer – I love this rose one by Dr. Hauschka. Plus, it’s one ounce, so you can carry it on.
- Travel-size dry shampoo – Dry shampoo is a must for me. As I have dark hair, I love the “Divine Dark” shade by Batiste.
- Prescriptions/birth control
- Lip balm
- Brush – I like the Wet Brush for untangling hair.
- Travel-size detangling spray
- Feminine hygiene products/DivaCup
- Hair ties
- Toiletry case
- Makeup case
- Curling iron (optional) – I brought mine
- Makeup (optional) – I brought a pared-down version of my normal makeup, as well as a red lip pencil. This one’s my favorite!
- iPhone – I recommend downloading the Google Translate app (so helpful for reading Japanese) as well as an offline map app such as Maps.Me
- Chargers – to charge my iPhone, Kindle, and camera
- Adapter – you can either by a universal adapter plug or a Japan-specific adapter plug.
- 1 pair headphones
- Camera (optional) – I brought my lightweight mirrorless camera – a Fujifilm X-Pro 2 with a 35mm lens.
- Portable battery (optional) – in case your phone dies.
- Kindle (optional) – I was very glad to have my Kindle on the bullet train from Tokyo to Kyoto.
Miscellaneous Travel Gadgets
- 1 backpack – Perfect for toting around your valuables on travel days.
- Water bottle – The tap water in Japan is drinkable, so I recommend bringing a reusable water bottle. It can get hot in Japan, even in May, so it’s important to stay hydrated.
- Eye mask and ear plugs – so essential!
- 1 small crossbody purse – I love the Mini Saddle Bag by Cuyana.
- Costume jewelry – I wouldn’t recommend bringing valuable jewelry, but I enjoyed having a pair of gold earrings and a coin necklace to spruce up my outfits.
- 1 pair of sunglasses
- 1 travel-sized umbrella (optional) – can be handy!
Book a Viator Tour for Your Trip to Japan in Spring
Osaka Food Tour (10 Delicious Dishes at 5 Hidden Eateries) ↗
Eat your way around Osaka on this foodie tour, where your local guide will take you to five hidden eateries where you will be trying ten different dishes.
Private tour – All “Must-Sees”! Enjoy your First-Time Visit Tokyo! ↗
Experience both modern and ancient Tokyo at attractions like the Tokyo Tower, Meiji Shrine, the Imperial Palace, and more.
About the author: Since college, Ashley Fleckenstein has backpacked 40+ countries and lived in Paris, Colorado, and Uganda. She started her travel blog, AshleyAbroad.com, in 2012, while working as an au pair in Paris. She has been featured in BuzzFeed, Forbes, TripAdvisor, and more. When she’s not working as a UX designer or blogging, she can be found reading, hiking, or recreating French baked goods in her kitchen.
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