Travelling to Japan during the summer and not sure what specific items to pack? Not to worry, I’ve highlighted a few important things you’ll need to pack for a summer trip to Japan. Plus even more things you might realize you need after you arrive. Keep reading for my summer packing list for Japan, and know how to beat the heat on your summer Japan trip! Note: This is not a complete packing list with all the things. It’s only specific things you need for summer. Sign up for my mailing list to download the complete packing list.

About summer in Japan

So, summer in Japan is quite the beast. May is probably the last decently nice month before summer kicks in. Then around June/July is rainy season, which is still hot and humid most of the time. You might think rainy season sounds like a bad time to visit aJapan because of, you know, the rain. But it doesn’t rain all day every day for a month straight, so it’s actually not a bad time to visit. Places might even be less crowded because people are afraid of the rain, and it’s still not obscenely hot yet. Read this post on how to survive rainy season in Japan.

However, after rainy season is when summer rears it’s ugly head. July and August are the hottest months, and even September and the beginning of October are very hot. Throughout most of Japan, temperatures in July and August range from 30-35+ degrees celsius (86-95 Fahrenheit) during the day and 25-30 (77- 86 Fahrenheit) during the night, which is unsleepable. If that doesn’t sound too bad to you, remember it’s also 90% humidity. Read this post on how to survive summers in Japan. Now, on to my summer packing list for Japan…

summer packing list for japan

Things to bring with you

Travel can be exhausting, especially if your flight to Japan crosses several time zones. I personally get hit bad by jet lag when travelling back and forth from Japan, so I like to have my first few days prepared. Here are a few things you’ll need on your summer packing list for when you first arrive.

  • Loose, light, airy clothes: Japanese summer are ridonkulously hot and humid. You will be massively uncomfortable if all you have to wear is tight jeans and  fitted shirts. I recommend clothes made from thin, loose material that won’t be sticky and uncomfortable. I also find that in the summer, my whole body gets fatter and stickier from the heat and humidity. So something that just fit in the winter will be too tight in the summer – include rings. Don’t bring clothes that are restrictive.

I won’t tell you to dress modestly though. You’ll see a lot of blogs telling you (women) to dress modestly in Japan because Japanese women dress quite modestly. However, you won’t offend anyone here if you show legs, shoulders, collar bones (gasp), or even cleavage. It’s gosh darn hot here, so wear whatever you gosh darn want! Show off those sexy gams. Though maybe cover up your chest if you go into a temple or shrine. That’s about it.

  • Sunscreen, sunglasses, hat – If you are pasty white and burn easily, like me, then you’ll want to bring sunscreen to protect your soft outer shell. I don’t see many Japanese people wearing sunglasses, for some reason, but bring them if you will spending time outside. A hat also makes a huge difference in keeping the sun off you. It might be the difference between heat stroke and not heat stroke.
  • Airy, but walkable, shoes – You’ll do a lot of walking in Japan, so first and foremost your shoes should be comfortable for that. Second, they should not be too hot. So like, sure you can walk around in the middle of August in combat boots if you want, but you’ll regret it. You might have to remove your shoes when visiting some temples, shrines, castles, or even restaurants, so consider shoes you can easily slip on and off.
  • Swimsuit and swimming gear – If you are going to Okinawa or anywhere where there are beaches or pools, you’ll want to get all your swim things ready. Unless you’re a tiny person, it might hard to find a swimsuit in Japan. Also bring a beach towel, and whatever else you need to go to the beach. Some public beaches have  umbrella and water toy rentals.
  • Deodorant – If you’re into that kind of thing.

 

Other things you might consider buying in Japan

You made it to Japan, but you are still struggling to survive the heat and humidity. If your summer packing list for Japan was incomplete, here are a few more things you can pick up when you get here.

  • Parasol – It’s quite common for women to walk around with sun umbrellas. They do a good job of keeping the sun off you. You might still get a sunburn from the sun reflecting off the road and buildings (that’s a thing, right?). I used a parasol a couple years ago until it broke.
  • More sunscreen – If you run out or need something stronger, it’s available in all convenience stores and drug stores. Bottles are small and expensive.
  • Sunburn relief aloe vera lotion – If you happen to catch a sunburn, you can pick up one of those cooling aloe vera gels in a drug store to soothe your lobster skin.
  • Insect repellent – There are lots of mosquitos in Japan after rainy season, so pick up insect repellent from a drug store if they are keeping you awake at night.
  • Cute clothes – If you didn’t bring the right clothes or need something new and cuter, there are lots of cute shops to pick up some trendy new summer clothes. If you are above average height or width though, you might have some trouble finding things that fit. It will be hard to find women’s shoes in a size larger than 8/8.5.
  • Folding fan or hand fan – A folding fan or simple hand fan can help cool you down while you’re waiting for a train or walking through a garden. You can pick them up in any ¥100 shop, and sometimes even get them for free on the street.
  • Sweat towel – You’ll sometimes see people pull our a small hand towel from their purse or back pocket and wipe their sweaty brow on it. I’m sure it feels good, but I find it slightly gross and can’t bring myself to do it. But if you want to do that, then go ahead.

 

Summer packing list for Japan

I hope this post gives you a good idea of how to prepare for a summer trip to Japan. If nothing on here was surprising to you, then congratulations, you know how to pack for summer. But if you weren’t sure what summer in Japan is like, then these items will help make your stay slightly more comfortable. And don’t forget to download the complete Japan packing checklist. It has all the things you’ll need plus specific things you’ll need for summer and also winter.

And let me know in the comment section if you are interested in travelling to Japan during the summer months!

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Author

Jennifer has lived in Japan for a total of seven years. She has travelled, taught English, studied Japanese, completed a Master's Degree, and travelled some more. She currently calls Nagoya her home, where she lives with her Japanese husband.

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