My Packing List for Japan | Keeping It Minimal

I love having a vacation, it's just so much fun getting away from home and visiting somewhere entirely new and interesting. It doesn't matter if it's just a couple of days at the beach house, or a drive around Tasmania in a camper van. However, I have a bad habit when it comes to planning for my trips. I am always over and under-prepared, believe it or not. I make lists months in advance, and will carefully go over it with a fine tooth comb. And then, I will pack my suitcase two weeks early. BUT...

...I always forget something.


... I always overpack.

Sean and I decided to share one suitcase between us, as well as one carry on suitcase. The checked suitcase has been organised to carry 20kg during our departure, but 30kg on the return flight, in order to make room for all the stuff that I'll likely pick up from Universal Studios Japan (it's such a hard life being a Harry Potter dork). We are going to Japan for seven days, so it makes no sense to bring more stuff on the trip than entirely necessary. And this is where Polyvore comes in.

I love this website - it's the absolute perfect tool to plan your outfits, to make sure that most of your pieces coordinate with each other, and limit the amount of space wastage in your luggage. Take the picture at the start of this page; you'll find two jackets, one boyfriend and one pleather, one knit jumper, four various shirts, two bottoms, two bags, two pairs of shoes, and some necklaces. All of these pieces can easily fit into a small carry-on suitcase, yet they provide at least ten separate outfits. The pieces are basic, timelessly stylish and create outfits of varying levels of dress and warmth.

Here are the outfits I put together using just the articles I showed previously. As you can see I've created a variety of outfits that are suitable for many situations, and are appropriate for any kind of weather. Japan's weather in April is quite mild, with temperatures ranging from 16 to 22 on average, so it's best to have layers. I might just get rid of the maroon sweater, as it is only used for just one outfit, and takes up space that may be needed for other things. I might also throw in a light grey cardigan just in case there's an unseasonably warm day.

This final outfit will be the one that I wear on the plane, as it makes use of most of the bulkiest pieces that may otherwise take up lots of space in my luggage, and serves multiple purposes; it lets me use the jacket, made from jersey cotton, as an extra pillow, and the scarf as a blanket, and the leggings will make sure that I am extra comfortable on the trip. No jewelry, no belt, no fuss.

My Packing List
This packing list doesn't show Sean's share of the luggage, as I didn't think it was all too relevant for this post. I've left some cells empty just in case I need to add more items, but this is what I have so far. It seems like a lot of items, but you'll be surprised as to how little space in the luggage, except for my handbag, everything takes up. The checked suitcase will contain all of our clothes and things that won't be missed if the luggage goes missing.

The hair straightener is a cheap, travel-sized one that came with a magazine so many years ago, but will be useful for the pesky cowlicks now that my hair is super short. I'm bringing an entire box of protein bars on this trip as they are sure to keep me satisfied while on the go, and help keep costs down so I'm not constantly snacking on unfulfilling carbs. Bringing along protein bars will help us to save quite a bit of money by not buying so many snacks and quick meals throughout the day. After all, we are trying to travel Japan on a budget. Here are some tips on how to do this.

As for the sugar, I can't find any regulations for how Japan refines their sugar, but it will most likely be whitened using bone char, so this is the safest option for me when it comes to my daily cuppa.

1. If packing handbags, shoes and hats, stuff small items like socks, underpants and the like in them to reduce space wastage. This also helps to keep the shape of the hats and bags.
2. Always have a pair of underpants and socks in your carry on, or better yet, a spare outfit, just in case your luggage is delayed or goes missing.
3. Keep copies of your travel documents in your carry-on, not your checked luggage, otherwise you leave yourself open to stolen identities if your luggage is missing.
4. Expensive jewelry needs to be in your carry-on too.
5. Carry antibacterial wipes onto the plane, as planes are massive carriers of bacteria that may ruin your trip.
6. The Japanese don't care if your arse is hanging out from the hem of your shorts, but as long as you keep your torso concealed, they're happy. Presentation is a big deal in Japan, so no holes in your clothes, no scuffed shoes, and definitely no trackpants.
7. Certain medications cannot be brought into Japan without permission from the Japanese Embassy, so check with your doctor to see if they're safe. Codeine is one of the prohibited items, which is annoying because it is a main ingredient in Nurofen Plus, which is about the only thing that works on my headaches.

Do you have any suggestions or tips when it comes to packing for a trip?


  1. Great choice of clothes! I like the biker jacket. I need to purchase one for the summer months.

    1. My jacket is too warm for Australian summer, but is perfect for the other months. I want to get a cropped one soon haha.