Coming to Japan: What to Bring…


Every year thousands of foreigners arrive in Japan to work in a variety of jobs. Many come to work in the English language industry. There are even more people in their native countries planning and dreaming of making that trip in the future.

In this post I’ll tell those who are coming here or plan to work in Japan some tips about what to bring to Japan to make the first year a comfortable one.

This is a quick and simple post, but the information will help you a lot!


What should I bring to Japan?

Suit (formal clothes) – I would suggest bringing a suit. Formal attire will be necessary for things such as entrance and closing ceremonies at school, graduation ceremonies and other formal functions you be asked to attend. I wouldn’t bring more than one suit since you’ll only need it a few times a year.

Shoes – If your feet have big, I would suggest brining all the shoes you need for the year. Bring formal shoes, casual shoes as well as walking and athletic shoes. If your feet are size 12 US or bigger, it will be next to impossible to buy shoes anywhere that fit you. Since I wear size 9 US, I’m lucky and can buy shoes anywhere.

Deodorant – You’ll find that the stuff you can buy here in Japan is very expensive and not that strong. You’ll appreciate bringing deodorant from your own country especially during the long humid summers in Japan. Bring enough for the year!

Laptop – As far as personal entertainment goes, a good laptop from home will do the trick. If you buy a PC here in Japan it may be a challenge to get an English OS. Netflix and Hulu are available in Japan so if you have a laptop you have a world of entertainment at your disposal.

Supplements – If you take vitamins or other supplements you may want to take some from home. They can be quite expensive in Japan.

Over the counter medication – I have always found it useful to bring tubes of antibiotic cream like Polysporin or Neosporin. They seem far more effective than over the counter equivalents in Japan. Things such as ibuprofen and Tylenol can be useful for getting rid of headaches and aches and pains.

Omiyage – Giving small gifts for new coworkers is a great way to start off on the right foot. This is a big part of Japanese culture. When people travel they always bring back small gifts (often snacks and food) for their coworkers. Something as simple as some candy from your native country would do the trick nicely.


I hope these simple tips help you prepare for your big move to Japan!



Kevin O’Shea is the host of the Just Japan Podcast. He is also a professional educator with more than 14 years experience in Korea, Canada and Japan.

Twitter: @jlandkev




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