What to Pack :
Consider the weather, the season, and if you have any questions, just ask firstname.lastname@example.org
We recommend a solid wheely bag, some sort of backpack, and room in that backpack for a daybag / bumbag/ shoulder bag.
Try not to overpack. Laundry will be sporadic, according to the accom, but advised in the itinerary.
When we travel we find having this arrangement works very well. Some days your backpack will be handy, but for wandering around, the day bag / bumbag/ shoulder bag will suffice, as you really only need rail pass, cash, cards, camera and essentials.
You may be required to walk 500m or so with your luggage, and in some cases on the train network, up to say 800m undercover. Japanese train stations are great labyrinths underneath, and we use them as short cuts and eye candy !
Some things to consider :
Shoes : One solid pair of comfortable walking shoes should do. Again, think about the season. Thongs are good in summer.
Very few places we go will have a dress code, but the Japanese are clean, neat and tidy.
Slip on shoes are great as you will be taking your shoes off here and there, according to custom, especially in tradtional places.
Slippers are provided for in house / in accom use.
Socks. Underwear of course, unless you favour combat style.
Long trousers, shorts, a few T shirts, shirts, long and short sleeves, jacket, or hoody whatever, a nice dress,
you really only need a few mix and match outfits. Less is more. Gloves, ideally leather.
A water bottle or two. You should be carrying one anyway, and make sure it gets filled up frequently.
Chopsticks. Carrying you own choppies is a recommended way of eating out in Japan anyway,
so that you avoid contributing to Japan’s waste disposal problems. Hand Towel.
Rain gear of some kind. Emergency poncho kinda thing, and folding umbrella.
Umbrellas are everywhere in Japan when its raining and are essentially public property !!
Emergency equipment :
Like a safety briefing on a plane, we want you to be alert but not alarmed.
However, earthquakes and volcanic activity are not unknown in Japan.
a few little things can come in handy in this highly unlikely event, but hey, what if it happens ?
This compact and inexpensive kit (below) could be the best insurance in an unforeseen circumstance!
Knife or multi-tools. it does not have to be a big one, but a small Swiss army style knife will go a long way when in need. Leathermann multi tool is a good one, but you can get good ones in any $ 2 shop.
Emergency thermal blanket. Handy to have one, cos it is so very compact. We recommend Space blanket, (disposal store about $10).
A small torch or mag lite. Are your gloves appropriate to handle broken glass?
A lot of people use mobile for a torch, but a stand alone torch is advised because batteries run out very quickly on mobile,
Batteries again, either have plenty of spares, or have rechargeables topped up all the time.
A whistle. This is the device that may draw attention to you if required, or you can use it to whistle us .
Some mask in the event of smoke or similar activity might be handy. N-95 is the standard USA suggestion.
A copy of your id, blood type, emergency contacts etc written down on paper.
Also advise to write down some essential contact numbers on paper. Imagine your mobile phone is useless.
A small medical kit containing whatever you think you need.
A couple of band aids, small bandage, a small bottle of tea tree oil, maybe some arnica ointment.
A little hip flask of strong stuff may be included in the kit.
Some food. Chocolate nuts and other high energy food, just in case.
Get a cheap phonecard on arrival.
In a time of emergency, mobiles can be useless with no service, while the landline, public phones work. Coins or card work them.
These are items we would like everyone to have, everywhere they go. Most likely we will not need them, but no doubt you will appreciate them if needed. Having them in the bag is one thing, but being familiar with them is helpful too.