#3903

Backpack Essentials for Better Sightseeing Throughout Japan

There are countless sights to see when you visit Japan, which means you'll probably want to fit as much as possible into your itinerary while you're here. Packing efficiently will help you cross as many off your list as possible.

Based on my own experiences, these are the 10 essentials I would recommend always having with you when sightseeing in Japan so you stay happy, comfortable and exploring for as long as you can:

1. Hand Towel
While clean public bathrooms are very common in Japan, they don't always provide you with more than water to clean your hands with. Having a hand towel will help you dry your hands while also serving as a way to wipe the sweat off your forehead when out and about during the warmer months. You'll see Japanese men and women using them all the time.

2. Sanitizer and/or Soap Sheets
To elaborate on the first point further, not all public bathrooms will have soap, especially in more rural areas. Hand sanitizer in a small bottle will help kill germs in a pinch (also a good idea after using mass transit) but soap sheets are a personal favorite of mine. Just add water (even from your water bottle) and you'll have clean hands in no time.

3. Tissue
Last bathroom point, I swear. Now, blowing your nose in public is frowned upon in Japan, but having tissue on hand is also important because some public bathrooms don't provide it, or charge for it. I encountered this at Tenryū-ji Temple in Kyoto. A little packet of tissue means problem solved.

4. ID/Transit Pass Holder
When you arrive in Japan, purchasing a PASMO will probably be one of your first steps for convenient travel on the subway system. Keep it handy with a holder that can also store an ID for easy access so you don't have to dig through your bag or take our your entire wallet.

5. Plastic Bag
The Japanese take great pride in keeping their homes, businesses and public spaces clean. One way they do this is by always being accountable for their own trash. You won't see many public trash cans on the street, so having a plastic bag on you will help you store any items you wish to discard until you spot one. It will also double as wet umbrella storage or a seat cover for that rented bicycle.

6. Bandages
Lots of walking can mean lots of blisters. I always carry bandages in a variety of sizes so I don't have to stop moving for long.

7. Subway Map
While smartphones can help with a lot, they aren't infallible. Having a good ol' fashioned map on your hands will help you navigate the many train lines so you can get from point A to point B (and C and D) with limited confusion.

8. Varied Currency
Using cash is more common than credit cards in Japan and many businesses prefer it. Make sure to have plenty of yen in a variety of denominations for everything from souvenir shopping to enjoying the offerings of Japan's amazing vending machines.

9. Basic Japanese Dictionary
Japanese people are very friendly and helpful -- it's a wonderful country to be a tourist -- but not everyone will know English, of course. Having a dictionary on hand will at least get the conversation started if you need help finding a museum or just ordering coffee.

10. Camera
Last but not least, always have a camera. Whether it's your phone or a DSLR, you'll want one for all the incredible sights from temples to street fashion.

Have these things on hand and you'll never miss a moment of your adventure in Japan. For more travel tips and recommendations, be sure to check out my blog, www.100tacks.com!

Petra image

Petra

Japan

Petra's other advice

Tips for Staying in a Japanese Hotel images

Tips for Staying in a Japanese Hotel

To properly enjoy Kusatsu Onsen, you really should make it an overnight trip. Staying for two or three days allows you the chance to fully explore the town and enjoy the benefits of the hot springs. …

Taking the Benefits of Onsen Home images

Taking the Benefits of Onsen Home

I’m a sucker for a good gift shop. Before most every trip, one of the first things I’m researching online is what the best local souvenirs are to take home from a destination. When it comes to Kusats…

The Food of Kusatsu Onsen images

The Food of Kusatsu Onsen

One the best ways to experience a town is through its food. When I travel, I love finding the diners, pubs, restaurants and cafés the locals choose to frequent, because that’s where I know I’ll get t…

Strolling Through Sainokawara Park in Kusatsu images

Strolling Through Sainokawara Park in Kusatsu

Kusatsu Onsen is a small town tucked away in the mountains. Within a few blocks of downtown, you can end up surrounded by nature. This is best on display at Sainokawara Park, home to one of Kusatsu’s…

Seeing Kusatsu’s Yumomi Ceremony Live images

Seeing Kusatsu’s Yumomi Ceremony Live

The hot spring water that flows throughout Kusatsu comes from deep within the earth and, as a result, is very, very hot. Between 51 and 94 degrees Celsius to be exact. You may be wondering how this w…

Recharge in Luxury at the Hyatt Regency Tokyo images

Recharge in Luxury at the Hyatt Regency Tokyo

Being sick is no fun at all, especially when there is work to be done. Thankfully, the last time I found myself ill in Tokyo, I was checked into the Hyatt Regency hotel and it proved to be a perfect …

You might also like

Mt. Fuji access guide; trains and buses for Lake Kawaguchiko area. images

Mt. Fuji access guide; trains and buses for Lake Kawaguchiko area.

If you will visit Mount Fuji (富士山), Kawaguchiko Station (河口湖駅) or Mt. Fuji Station (富士山駅) are major gateways for magical Mount Fuji, designated as a world cultural heritage site in 2013, a…

Hagi image

Hagi

Say "NO" to Mainstream Tourism! images

Say "NO" to Mainstream Tourism!

Since this is my first post, let me introduce myself. My name is Zoe, Canadian, and been living in Tokyo for 3 years and a few months.Let me tell you. I have seen Senso-ji Temple more than I ever…

Zoe image

Zoe

Discover the Japanese Tea Ceremony at Chazen images

Discover the Japanese Tea Ceremony at Chazen

The traditional Japanese tea ceremony is one of the best examples of "omotenashi," or Japanese hospitality. It's a beautiful demonstration of welcoming and a truly signature Japanese experience. At G…

Petra image

Petra

Asago Wellness and Fitness Tourism images

Asago Wellness and Fitness Tourism

Once upon a time, Asago was a feudal era battlefield. With Takeda Castle, seeming to float among the clouds, it is a very mysterious place. Oda Nobunaga, Toyotomi Hideyoshi, and Tokugawa Ieyasu all v…

DeepJapan Editor image

DeepJapan Editor

Cheapest and Most Reliable Train Line, Yokosuka Line images

Cheapest and Most Reliable Train Line, Yokosuka Line

If you want to save some money on transportation but don't want to take the bus fearing traffic, you should take the Yokosuka line. The Yokosuka line will only take about 30 minutes longer than the N…

GenS image

GenS

What is Japan's Transportation Like? images

What is Japan's Transportation Like?

The answer to this question really depends on where in Tokyo you ant to go to. If you want to get to the Shinagawa area or anywhere on the Keikyu and Asakusa lines, you should take the Keikyu line. I…

GenS image

GenS