Planning a trip to Tokyo? After booking your hotel or hostel and flights, you’ll probably start listing all the things you want to do, including Tokyo’s must-see sights, eating at some of the best restaurants and checking out all the most attractive shops. However, when it comes to packing your luggage and equipping your devices, you want to make sure you come prepared. With that in mind, we’ve rounded up everything we think you'll need to make the most of your stay…
1. Wi-fi pod or data SIM card
Unless your mobile provider has an awesome international travel plan, it’s best to rent a wi-fi pod or purchase a data SIM card when you arrive in Japan. Tokyo doesn’t have the best free wi-fi (and many hotspots will require a local phone number to even sign up), but you’ll definitely want that data for excessive use of your phone’s maps and for uploading updates of your trip on social media.
2. Portable battery and adapters
Intensive phone use means you’ll most likely need an extra battery to charge your phone on the go. Make sure you also pack an adapter to convert all your plug-in items so they can easily be used here in Japan.
3. Train app
Tokyo’s train system can be very daunting for travellers, so it's nice to have a handy app to help navigate yourself around the city. One of our favourites is the Tokyo Metro official app which can be used offline, but Google Maps also does a decent job mapping out your designated train route – including the price.
4. Translating app
Don’t get lost in translation and download a translating app like Google Translate before you jet off on your trip. It’s extremely helpful, especially when it comes to things like Japanese-only menus. Just snap a photo of the text, put it through the app and voilà: out comes a basic but usually workable translation.
5. Comfy shoes
Trust us, you’ll be doing a lot of walking when in Tokyo, so it's essential to have a pair of super comfy shoes to wear at all times. Thinking of buying a pair while you’re here? Check out Japan’s very own Onitsuka Tiger or one of the many secondhand sneaker shops which carry a great selection of kicks in mint condition.
If your nationality isn't Japanese, it’s best to bring your passport along every day, especially if you know you’re going to be doing some shopping. Many stores offer tax exemption so you don’t have to pay that extra sales tax on top of your purchases. To take advantage of other tax-free tips, see here.
7. A small umbrella
Cross your fingers it doesn’t rain when you’re in Tokyo, but in case it does, it doesn’t hurt to carry a small umbrella with you. While Japan’s signature clear plastic umbrellas can be found at pretty much any convenience store, a small one will save you the hassle of carrying a bigger version around all day or forgetting it in an umbrella stand.
8. Hand wipes and sanitiser
As clean as Tokyo may seem, it’s always important to carry some wet wipes or antibacterial sanitiser in your bag. Plus, some of Tokyo’s public toilets don’t have soap, so you’ll definitely want that sanitiser for those last-minute emergencies.
9. Plenty of yen
Japan is still a pretty cash-based society, so you’ll need lots of yen to get by on your travels. You’ll especially need cash on hand at small restaurants and cafés, many of which do not take cards. If you're running low on yen, see some of the best places to withdraw and exchange right here.
10. Time Out Tokyo!
You obviously shouldn’t visit Tokyo without reading us! You can grab a copy of our most recent issue at designated train stations, airports, hotels and shops around Tokyo. To download the digital version of our magazine, click here.