With only weeks to go before thousands of rugby fans board planes to Japan, we’ve put together a checklist of essential items for your trip-of-a-lifetime packing list. If you’re visiting Japan for the very first time, be sure to check off the items below to avoid missing out.
1. Comfy shoes
Eddie Jones, coach of the England national team and no stranger to Japan would concur with this one. The summer heat and humidity usually sticks around in September, so you absolutely need comfortable shoes. While traveling to and from the stadia and fan zones and visiting Japan’s weird and wonderful sights, you’ll be using a lot of public transport, climbing lots of station stairs and generally getting in lots of steps.
Plus, don’t forget you’ll need to remove your shoes at shrines as well as some traditional restaurants and inns – follow our top tip and take slip-on shoes.
2. SIM Card
Free WiFi is scarce in Japan – especially if you’re on the move. You’ll need data for maps, navigation, translation – and those all-important social media updates to make your fellow rugby fans back at home as jealous as possible. We recommend ordering your SIM before you travel so you can start using your phone as soon as you step off the plane. Mobal offer free worldwide delivery or free collection from any of 20 x locations across Japan (including all main airports and primary city locations). Choose from a data-only SIM or a voice & data SIM – whichever suits you best. Rugby fans placing their order via this link receive a dedicated rugby fan pack including a free beer voucher & free supporters’ headband along with a 36-page drinking passport showcasing over 400 bars to watch the rugby live – essential for any rugby fan!
3. Japan Rail Pass
Even if you only plan a single day trip from Tokyo to Kyoto the Rail Pass makes sense. Click here to get an exchange voucher online now to save money and knock one item from your To Do List! Online vouchers are redeemable on arrival at major train stations.
4. Suica Card
The Suica is your new best friend while traveling around Japan. It’s a handy Travel Card used for everything - local train journeys, buses & subways (where the Rail Pass can’t be used). You can simply swipe your way through train stations without having to worry about what kind of ticket you need. Use the English-language machines at stations or 7-11 convenience stores to add extra credit.
The Suica Card is also a great alternative to carrying cash. Tap your Suica to pay nationwide at convenience stores & vending machines and say goodbye to carrying change. Get your Suica Card in advance online by clicking here.
5. Japanese Yen
Not everywhere in Japan accepts debit or credit cards (especially from overseas). If you plan to spend any time outside of major cities you will need cash. Order it early or exchange at the airport. Every Mobal SIM comes with a discount coupon from Travelex - the largest network of currency exchange booths.
6. Useful Apps Pre-downloaded to your Phone
The first essential is Google Maps – your phone already has this, but be sure to buy your SIM card so that you have data for maps and navigation. To make your Japan trip go wonderfully smoothly, you can’t survive without a translation app. With Google Translate you can even use your phone’s camera to translate images – great for deciphering menus. For transport and travel, we recommend the Japan Transit Planner by Jorudan. It comes with a Japan Rail Pass filter showing only journeys covered under the pass, saving you a lot of time, money and U-turns.
7. Microfibre Travel Towel
Lots of reasons to pack one of these. One good reason is that Japanese bathrooms tend not to have hand dryers. A quick-drying towel can also be help mop up around your neck when humid. That brings us to our next point…
Just like Japanese medicines, Japanese deodorant is way too mild for most visitors. You’re going to want to feel good after traveling/partying so consider packing deodorant scented wipes for bathroom trips!
9. Chocolate/ Breakfast Cereal/Toothpaste
Got a sweet tooth? Consider packing some chocolate snacks from home to see you through the first few days. Japan has its own take on chocolate - green, non-sweet, tiny & over-wrapped come to mind. There are plenty of sweet options available, but to find one that works for you will involve plenty of trial & error! With breakfast cereal, it’s not that Japanese don’t eat it - they do – it’s just that they eat it for dessert! Most muesli in Japan is imported.
Oh, and if you want fluoride in your toothpaste bring from home.
10. International Travel Adapter
Japan’s voltage is 100v making it different from Central Europe, North America and pretty much every other place in the world so make sure your electrical items are all multi-voltage. To ensure your plug fits in Japan’s sockets, get an International Adapter such as this one.
11. Small gifts
Japan is the land of small gift-giving and the locals love to give & get. Easy wins are food & alcohol items (mini-bottles, etc) representing your country – it’s a great way to start conversations (especially if you can’t speak the language) - you’ll find that a small gift can earn you new friends for life.
Pack all of the above into a backpack or rucksack. You will be climbing plenty of stairs so leave the suitcase at home for this trip.
Enjoy your visit!© Japan Today