Moving to Japan – Packing Checklist!

Moving to Japan - Packing Checklist!

Ready to start your life in Japan! But what to take with you?

While some things like your passport are essentials, there are things you can easily get directly in Japan. We made a list of what you need to bring and what to leave at home, to make packing easier for you.

Things you need to bring

Don’t bring too much. Trains can be crowded, storage spaces are limited, and some train stations have no escalators. To avoid getting stuck, don’t bring more than you can somehow manage to carry up and down the stairs.

Essential Documents

  • ✔ Passport
  • ✔ Visa documents
  • ✔ Copy of Job offer
  • ✔ Flight ticket
  • ✔ Immunization records
  • ✔ Graduation certificate and other transcripts (copies)
  • ✔ Birth certificate, marriage license (copies)
  • ✔ Driver’s License and International Drivers Permit (if you have it)

The certificates might be necessary for job hunting and visa applications.

For a stress-free arrival, also know the address of your first accommodation (you will need it at immigration), the phone number (a means of contact if you are delayed) and look up transportation to your destination in advance. Especially when arriving on a late flight, you want to avoid any delays that might make you stay the night at the airport.


  • ✔ Cash (~50.000 yen)
  • ✔ Debit and credit card (Visa or Master, check your withdrawal limit!)

I’d recommend 50.000 yen to get you over those first days when you don’t have any big purchases, but here are some points to consider when evaluating your own needs.

  • ■ Transport from the airport
  • ■ Meal cost etc. for the first days
  • ■ Move-in costs
  • ■ Time until your first salary
  • ■ Phone, Wi-Fi, home utensils and other immediate purchases

Before coming to Japan know your withdrawal limit for your credit card and estimate the necessary costs upon arrival. You can withdraw money with foreign credit cards at the convenience store 7-Eleven (they also have ATMs at airports, some big train stations and departments stores) and the Japanese post.

Bag with PC and smartphone.


  • ✔ PC/tablet
  • ✔ Camera & accessories
  • ✔ Phone (SIM-free is ideal)
  • ✔ Universal adapter (Japan: 220V~240V)
  • ✔ (Portable) Charger

If you need an internet connection immediately, it is possible to order Wi-Fi for pick-up at the airport or get SIM cards delivered to a hotel. Just know, that these options are targeting tourists, and can be a little on the expensive side. Alternatively, you can go to a big electronics store for more options.


  • ✔ 1 set of suits for work/ job interview (suit, 2 white shirts, necktie, belt)
  • ✔ Bag for work
  • ✔ Seasonal clothes (coat for winter, light summer clothes)
  • ✔ Shoes (1 for work, 1 comfortable, 1 for sports)

The Japanese climate changes with each season, so make sure you bring the right clothes.
■ Spring (March-May): rainy season, especially in June, average 17°C
■ Summer (June-August): hot and humid, average 28°C, top 40°C,
■ Autumn (September–November): pleasant, storms and rain in September, average 20°C
■ Winter (December-February): cold, snow possible, average 9°C, lowest 0°C


  • ✔ Personal items
  • ✔ Food or spices (regulations apply!)
  • ✔ Essential everyday items
  • ✔ Stationary for work (cheap in Japan)
  • ✔ Medicine (regulations apply! Bring prescriptions if available.)
  • ✔ Towel and basic toiletries

Any items that help you over the first days or that are essential to your lifestyle. When bringing food and medicine, check that you don’t violate any import regulations.

READ ON  Customs – what you can take to Japan

Toiletries like toothbrushes, floss, etc. can be bought at every convenience store in Japan, but if you arrive late or have a product you absolutely need, bring it.

In Japan


Once in Japan, head to electronics store like Bic Camera to get a Japanese phone and Wi-Fi. Most items for your room and daily life you can pick up for cheap at one of the many 100 yen shops. If you are missing a piece of your wardrobe head to Uniqlo, Japan’s go-to place for affordable clothing for every situation.

More articles on cost of living in Japan will follow soon, so stay tuned and comment with any questions or remarks!

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After traveling around for a while, I found my home in Tokyo. Now working in Shinjuku and discovering something new about Japan every day.