I just returned from a 10 day trip to Japan and wanted to share my packing list. Taking a city trip after so many trekking vacations made packing a lot easier. I’m usually consumed with my pack weight and making sure I have everything I need for the duration of the trip. Taking a normal vacation this time around made for a lot less stress. For one, I knew that if I lost or forgot anything, I could pick it up at any given store. That’s not just for toiletries and clothes, but for electronics, too. That’s a far cry from the situation on the John Muir Trail, where at any point, you could be a day or two away from being able to reach anybody. The prospects of city travel also allowed me to bring a carry-on sized roller bag. As much as I love carrying my hiking backpack, it was really nice to give my shoulders a break from all the weight. The final benefit of city travel is the ability to really go light and minimal. Being able to stay at a hotel means no tent, soaps, or sleeping bags, and access to markets and restaurants in cities made it so I didn’t have to pack food or a cooking setup.
I brought along two bags for this trip, the Delsey Helium Spinner and my Quicksilver backpack.
Traveling in late March was the perfect time to visit Japan in regards to my weather preferences. The days had temperatures in the 50s and 60s, and the nights got down into the low 40s. We had a few days of rain, and experienced fairly cold temperatures in the mountain towns of Nikko and Koyasan. On our night in Koyasan, the temperatures were down into the 20s.
Our travel itinerary is as listed:
On My Body:
- American Apparel Tri-Blend Short Sleeve
- Nike Men’s Air Zoom Wildhorse 3
- Darn Tough Merino Wool Socks
- ExOfficio Men’s Give-N-Go Brief
- Outdoor Research Men’s Ferrosi Pants
- Nike Men’s Impossibly Light Running Jacket
- Casio Men’s Protrek Black Sport Watch
- Rheos Gear Floating Sunglasses
In My Carry-On:
- 3 x American Apparel Tri-Blend Short Sleeve
- 3 x Darn Tough Merino Wool Socks
- 3 x ExOfficio Men’s Give-N-Go Brief
- Marmot PreCip Rain Jacket
- Patagonia Mens Down Sweater Hoody
- Salomon Men’s Fast Wing Hoodie
- Outdoor Research Men’s Voodoo Pants
- Brooks Men’s Sherpa IV 5″ Short
In My Backpack:
- Sony Alpha a6000 Mirrorless Digital Camera
- Sony SEL1018 10-18mm Wide-Angle Zoom Lens
- Rokinon 12mm F2.0 NCS CS Ultra Wide Angle Lens
- 2 x a6000 Spare Battery (2-Pack)
- Japan Rail Pass
- Japanese Yen
- 2 x Anker Portable Charger
- Amazon Kindle Paperwhite E Reader
- Huawei Nexus 6P 64 GB Smartphone
- Acer C720-2103 Chromebook
My packing list for Japan turned out to be just about perfect. I didn’t feel like I forgot anything or packed too much. My camera setup was perfect, as the 10-18mm lens worked well for all of my outdoor daytime shooting, and the 12mm Rokinon f/ 2.0 was perfect for low light and night time shooting. I left my laptop at home in favor of my Chromebook, which I’ve started to do for business trips as well. The Chromebook is lightwieght, cheap, and being that it’s just a browser, contains none of my personal information. It doesn’t allow me to edit photos on the road, but it does allow me to get a lot of work done.
Shorts on men in public is a big faux pas in Japan, so make sure you have a comfortable pair of pants. I brought a pair of running shorts along to wear at night, but could have easily gone without. My one fear while packing was that I left behind a nice pair of shoes for restaurants. It wasn’t a problem though, as many people wore running shoes.
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