4 Essentials in Japan

· sightseeing,packing

What do you need to carry with you for a day of sightseeing in Japan?

1. A washcloth: In public bathrooms in Japan, there aren’t always hand dryers, so people usually carry a small washcloth with them to dry their hands. This washcloth also comes in handy during the hot, humid summer months to wipe off sweat (gross, but good to have!). Buy one once you arrive in Japan - all department stores sell them, as do a number of smaller shops!

2. A trash bag: Japan’s response to terrorism, as there was a trash can bomb years ago, was to remove all public trash cans. While you may be able to find a recycle bin at a convenience store or train station, for other trash it’s common to carry a small plastic bag with you to collect all of your trash during the day to throw away at home.

3. Cash: Credit cards are more widely accepted than they used to be, but cash is still necessary at smaller shops and to buy train tickets or to top up your IC transit card. It’s common (and safe) to carry ¥40,000-50,000 in your wallet.

4. Your IC card! With the chip shortage, physical IC transit cards are harder to find, so you can download the Suica app on your phone or add any of Japan’s IC cards (ICOCA, Suica, etc all work all over Japan). Once you have loaded your card with money, you can use it to tap in and out of subway stations, on busses, and even to buy snacks from vending machines and convenience stores.

Bonus: an umbrella! Don't bother packing one for your trip, but wait until a rainy day to buy one in Japan. Every convenience store sells basic umbrellas, or you could pop into a department store for a wider variety of options!

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What are your must-haves while in Japan?