What to bring with yourself to Japan – Working Holiday Packing Tips

In this article, you will learn what to pack and bring to Japan when going on a Working Holiday visa. Before my own departure, I was stressed that I didn’t pack something important, and since I was going for around one year, what I put in my suitcase was a hard decision. When I already spent some time in Japan, there were some things I regretted not bringing, but I also figured that some of the belongings I brought were not really necessary. With these tips I’m going to share with you today, I hope you will feel more confident and relieved about your own packing.

What to bring to Japan

Here is the list of things that might be helpful in Japan:

Extension cord

If you carry many electronic devices such as laptops, cameras, etc., consider bringing an extension cord with you. It’s a great idea for saving some money on several adapters that you would need. With an extension cord, you need only one adapter and you are ready to go with charging all of your devices! In case you forget to bring it, you can buy adapters in any electronic store like Bic Camera for around 500 yen each.

Medicines and beauty supplies

Apart from the medicines you take because of your needs, bring with you some extra medicaments for basic health struggles, such as headache, menstrual pain, or diarrhea. There are many pills available in Japan, but they might not be strong enough for non-Japanese. Also, pack your favorite deodorant’s one-year supply – Japanese don’t really use any, so there is little choice in stores. 

◦ An additional tip for women: if you use tampons, consider bringing some packs with you, as the variety is not wide here (usually only one brand and type sold).

International Student Identity Card

Are you a student? Then you should definitely get yourself an International Student Identity Card (ISIC), which is an international document proving your student status. Just remember that you need to apply for it when you’re still in your country and then bring it with you. The process may depend on the country you’re from, but generally, it is very easy to get it – in my case, I just went to the office without an appointment and got my card after around 10 minutes. Many places in Japan, such as cinemas, karaoke places, or museums, accept this card for a student discount, so you can enjoy your student life in Japan as well!

Insurance card

In case you still haven’t got the insurance for your stay, I highly recommend cheap and still very good insurance options that are acceptable for the WH visa creating process, instead of the expensive ones. I got myself a Euro26 card, which is accepted in Japan and costs about 20 EUR. The card is valid for one year, which makes it enough for this kind of stay. There are also other affordable options like the ISIC Insurance Card, although you need to pay extra for the card to be acceptable in Japan. 

🤔 If you want to know more about the regular insurance system in Japan, check out this article: Health insurance in Japan

No need to bring it to Japan

Apart from the things mentioned above, it is rare not to find some items available to buy in Japan. In fact, there are many that you don’t need to bring with you, as it’s more convenient and often cheaper to buy it after arrival. Here are some examples of things you don’t need to bring to Japan:

Hairdryer, straightener, etc.

Because of the voltage difference (100V in Japan, 220-240V in Europe), you won’t be able to use most of your beauty care appliances in Japan, so I recommend leaving these in your home country and buying Japanese ones after your arrival. I brought my hairdryer and straightener from Poland – the straightener got burnt, and the hairdryer connected to the Japanese plug created a nice gentle breeze instead of drying my hair. You can easily find good beauty tools at reasonable prices (even less than 2000 yen), and you also don’t need to worry about the adapters once you get a Japanese device. Before buying a hairdryer, check if your room or apartment isn’t already equipped with it.

Clothes and shoes

Well, of course, don’t go without it! However, you might not need as many clothes as you think. In Japan, they are usually cheaper than in Europe, with a huge variety and also good quality at the same time. It also applies to shoe stores; famous brands’ shoes like Nike or Adidas can cost less in Japan than in other countries. You will surely fall in love with stores like Uniqlo, GU (fashion), or ABC Mart (shoes). 

Fashion shopping in Japan can be a lot of fun, so, instead of tons of clothes, how about bringing some more souvenirs for your new Japanese friends?

🎁 For gift ideas check this article!

House equipment (hangers etc.)

If you were thinking about bringing hangers, cleaning towels, or other house equipment, trust me – you won’t need it. Japan has many 100 yen shops (Daiso, Seria, Watts, Can Do, etc.) in almost every town, in which you can get all the equipment you need for a price so low that you will be really surprised. In 100 yen stores, you can also get yourself daily utensils such as knives, plates, stationery, beauty products (even 50 SPF sunscreen is also 100 yen), etc. – basically, everything you need.

Daiso’s utensils – 100 yen each!

Packing for such a long journey can be stressful, but don’t forget that Japan is a developed country with a great range of products available. Instead of packing a lot, be sure to leave some space for Japanese stuff and gifts you will be taking back to your country. Good luck and safe travels!

Daria Magiera
Japanese Speech Contest 1st prize winner (2016) → 3 months in Japanese high school in Sendai (2016) → Working Holiday around Japan (2020) → Marketing and Business student (2020~) → open for new adventures (anytime!)