Did you have your suitcase open but ended up scratching your head wondering what to actually put inside? There is one thing to dress up for a sightseeing trip in a Western country, but a whole different thing when your holiday is booked for the ever so lively Tokyo. There are actually several tips, rules, and things to know and we highly recommend that you follow them, unless you want to stand out like a sore thumb. Source
The Minimalist Packing Experience
You might want to toss to the side that big luggage that you drag after you on every vacation and opt for something that’s a bit more on the small size. The storage space from trains, including the bullet train or the one that connects the airport to the city, is very limited. Once you get to your hotel, start exploring the city with a perfectly sized nude duel-pouch crossbody satchel that can essentially go with any of the outfit choices you make that can safely store all of your sightseeing necessities. Source
An Abundance of Socks (With no Holes)
Also on the side of smallness, you should also bring along a towel. Yes, a towel. Japan is renowned for its hygiene and the cleanliness of the bathrooms, but there is an uncanny lack of paper towels. On the opposite end of this, you might want to consider cutting out of your luggage anything but socks. Taking off your shoes when entering a household is a known Japanese custom, so you’ll have to slip off your footwear a lot – unless you really want to offend them, which we don’t really recommend. Source
Don’t Leave Your Formal Wear At Home
Tokyo has a very particular dress code. By following and respecting it, it will be pretty obvious that you’ve done enough research in order to gather all of this information, which is always a good way to diverge from the “clueless tourist” stereotype. Japanese men and women have a knack for formal apparel, which is why you’ll spot a lot of gentlemen rocking elegant suits and ladies strolling down the street in under-knee skirts and sober suit jackets.
We’re not saying to go around sightseeing in a suit, but we are saying that you should try going for formal, non-color clothes when attending events, going at a restaurant, or doing anything that’s not very touristy. Also, keep in mind a particular tip about jeans – Japanese people aren’t very fond of blue denim, so consider swapping them for something black colored. Source
Tokyo By Season: Winter
Tokyo is a city where winter is in its prime strength, so you will be definitely needing pieces of clothing that can keep you warm and shield you against the icy winds. A warm overcoat is a must, packed along with a knitted hat, a scarf, and gloves. Also, the air is particularly dry during the cold season, so you’ll want to protect your skin by bringing a moisturizing lotion.
Tokyo By Season: Autumn
Autumn is also perfect for visiting because of the rather stable weather and the pleasant temperatures. The only downside is that the day and night differences can get a bit extreme, so if nightfall catches you outdoors, make sure that you have a jacket readied to counter the chilly air. Source
Tokyo By Season: Spring
It’s the ideal time to visit Tokyo, not only because this is when the cherry trees are in full bloom, but because the weather is the most friendly. It can be a bit unpredictable at times, though, including sudden temperature drops and downpours. Keep your cloves, coat, and scarf in the luggage and make sure to never be outside without an umbrella.
Tokyo By Season: Summer
The first part of Japanese summer is the rainy season, which lasts roughly the entirety of June. If choosing to visit during this period, your best allies will be umbrellas and water-proof jackets. It doesn’t rain every day, but when it does, the downpour can be pretty heavy. The rest of the summer is generally dry and warm, so cotton clothing is recommended to keep sweating at bay. Always have a light jacket on you to cover up indoors, as most places in Tokyo have air conditioning.
Now that the clothing aspect is taken care of, your next step is to research some of the most important customs of Japanese culture. Arigatou gosaimasu!