Are you planning a trip to Japan, but aren’t sure what you should pack? What are the do’s and don’t when walking through the streets of Tokyo? In this article I will tell you what kind of weather you can expect and how to be well prepared for your trip (clothing wise). So here are my tips on how to pack for Tokyo!
As you may know, Japan has some amazing fashion styles ranging from all sorts of styles. Be cool like the visual kei bands, or be cutesy by wearing frilly lolita dresses. There is a style out there for everyone, so buying some nice outfits in Tokyo is not such bad idea either!
Japan has 4 seasons: from March to May is spring, June to August is summer, September to November is fall and December to February is winter. I also created some style boards for outfit inspiration! (Some items are linked to Dutch stores, sorry!)
Spring is a very popular time for visiting Japan. The cherry blossoms will start blooming around the end of March and beginning of April, the pink moss will be visible during spring as well. There are a lot of beautiful flowers to enjoy and festivals to attend. During the bloom of the cherry blossoms people go picnicking under the blossom trees. This is called Hanami. If you are in Japan during spring, please enjoy hanami together with some delicious food and beer (and of course friends)!
During spring Tokyo can be sunny and hot during the day, but can get pretty cold in the evening. So make sure you pack clothes that are suitable for layering. You will want to be able to easily take off that jacket when the sun breaks through and put it back on in the evening when walking back to your hotel. I suggest some nice sneakers like All Stars or Vans, leggings, a few nice skirts or dresses, capri pants and shirts that you can easily cover by a nice jacket or summer coat.
Summers are great fun with the many festivals you can attend and fireworks, but it can get extremely hot and humid as well. It can even start pouring down all of a sudden, as the Tsuyu (rain season) starts in early summer.
This is why I suggest packing some waterproof shoes or boots that are also comfortable enough for long walks. Since the summers are very humid during the rain season, I recommend bringing some tops and skirts/shorts that are light and airy. You definitely will sweat a lot, so it might be a good idea to pack extra shirts for when you want to change during the day. One thing to keep in mind is that the air conditioning inside the stores is trying to turn you into a popsicle, so you might want to bring a big shawl or easy to tuck away jacket, just in case. And don’t forget a small, but sturdy umbrella for all that rain (though you can also get umbrellas at pretty much any convenience store you see).
Fall in Japan can still be very rainy, so waterproof shoes and a raincoat (or something alike) would be wise to pack. The temperature varies from warm and sunny to cool and rainy. Since the weater is not too extreme it is one of the reasons that fall is also a very popular time to visit Japan. The leaves start changing colors so the trees are covered with many beautiful colors, making the temples seem like a magical place. Many people do “Momijigari” (leaf peeping): they go hiking to enjoy the beauty of the trees and leaves at scenic places.
I suggest packing something similar to packing for spring, but with the emphasis on waterproof. The last thing you want are wet shoes when hiking. Pack some nice leggings (I love leggings and skirts haha, did you notice?) and a cute skirt or shorts for on top, some skinny jeans and some shirts or blouses that you can combine with either a jacket or raincoat.
The winters in Tokyo aren’t too extreme. It can get snowy at times, but it won’t cause major troubles like traffic getting stuck. The temperatures can drop a few degrees below zero (degrees celsius), but again, nothing too extreme.
I suggest packing some warm knitwear: a big fluffy scarf, hat and gloves. Some warm sweaters, nice skinny jeans, or thermos leggings with a long thick skirt, and warm comfy shoes. In case you don’t have any thermos items at home, you should be able to find some stores that sell thermos clothing in Tokyo, like shirts and leggings.
Do’s and don’ts
There are many stories about what you should and shouldn’t wear as a tourist in Japan. And let me tell you: don’t worry about a thing.
It is true that Japanese people usually don’t wear shirts that show shoulders or cleavage, and they tend to cover up quite a bit during summer. This is because they don’t want to get sunburned. There are loose sleeves that you can find around stores for protecting your arms from tanning or burning. There also aren’t many people that wear flip-flops or sunglasses (or big hats). But you are a tourist, and especially if you have a western face or blond hair, they will know that you are a tourist. As a tourist you will always look differently and they will most likely notice you anyway (whether you wear flip-flops or not).
The people in Japan are in really friendly and helpful, they like to keep to themselves and not bother others (there are always exceptions of course). So unless you really want to try and blend in, I wouldn’t worry too much about this and just enjoy your holiday. As long as you are being respectful, they will be respectful to you. And showing your shoulders just because it’s hot will not change that.
What suitcase to take
I do really suggest bringing a small suitcase (or backpack) if possible, since the trains are not made for people traveling with big suitcases, and can be a bother to other passengers (avoid the trains during rush hour when you travel with a big suitcase). You could also take a taxi from the airport to your hotel, if you have a lot of luggage. I traveled with some of my friends to Tokyo when I moved to Japan for five months. Their suitcases were triple the size of mine.. and there were three of them! We did manage getting there by train, but I did feel kind of self conscious taking up all the space, haha..
Hopefully this was an enjoyable (and a bit of an informative) article. I will write more posts about Japan in the future, maybe talking a bit about my time abroad or bucket list tips.
What do you guys think of the outfits by the way? Most of these are totally my kind of style and I really like them (especially the summer and winter ones!), but I can understand if they may not be liked by everyone, haha!