Minimal packing for 11 days in Japan: what do you really need?

While my sister and I were booking our Japan trip for summer 2018 we were getting so excited, talking about how much shopping we’d do while there and how many souvenirs we wanted to bring. My sister wanted to buy and win lots of stuffed animals too. This wouldn’t be a problem at all because our flight allowed us to both bring one checked piece of luggage, one carry on and one small bag. Lots of room for new stuff. – Or crap, as one might call it haha
After some more research however, we found out that the nightbus would only allow us one piece of luggage per person. Plus one bag to keep on your lap of course. However, this meant we had to take one less bag per person with us from the start. Meaning: we had to travel light. If we wanted to take home souvenirs that is. Traveling light, or quite minimalistic actually, is not even that big of a problem for me. Yes I am a girl, yes I like to look nice, but when it comes to traveling I’m very quick to switch to more minimalistic ways. My sister was the one that struggled a bit more, but she did fine too!

You might also find these articles helpful for preparing for your trip to Japan!

booking a holiday to japan

what to do in Shinjuku

what to do in Taito/Asakusa

15 things you NEED to know before you go to Japan

What I packed

One carry on and one small bag. That’s what I had to work with while packing. Keep in mind: we were going to be in Japan for 11 days, but we’d be gone for almost two weeks including the traveling from and to Japan. Eleven days of clothing can of course take up a lot of space, which is why this is the ‘category’ I cut down on the most. I brought two dresses, one pair of jeans -I even almost didn’t bring these jeans, I put them in my suitcase the morning we left-, three tops and one pyjama top. The pants I wore on the flight to Japan would of course be worn during the trip too. So all in all, that’s seven pieces of actual clothing. Wear everything twice (and the bottoms some more) and voila.
I also took with me: a face towel, one pair of sunglasses, small bottles of shampoo, conditioner, body lotion, make-up remover, daycream, sunscreen, scrub and shower cream, one extra pair of shoes, razor, anti-diarrhea pills just in case, birth control pills, underwear and socks of course, a small pencil case kind of thing filled with cotton swabs and cotton pads, an extension cord, make-up (mascara, eyeliner, bbcream, concealer, a lipsmacker and blush) and a plastic bag to put my dirty laundry in. I also almost didn’t bring the extra shoes, but I’m glad I did. Eventually all of these things fit in just one third of my carry on suitcase so there was lots of room left for souvenirs!


In my small backpack I put of course my passport, flight information, hotel information, travel diary and pen, wallet, adapter -to be able to charge my devices-, two portable chargers, some snacks, deodorant, a smaller wallet, toothbrush, hairbrush, toothpaste and chewing gum. I also ended up putting all of the liquids from my carry on into my backpack because this would be easier when going through customs. I always put a lock on my carry on and having to open the whole thing and packing it back up again is just such a pain in the ass.

Any regrets?

Maybe you can’t imagine going on a holiday with this little amount of stuff and maybe you’re sitting in front of your computer, judging me for how poorly I’m doing with this ‘minimalistic packing’ thing. I personally think I did quite well, but there’s always room for improvement right?
So is there anything I packed but didn’t need? There is just one thing that I actually didn’t use at all and that’s the face towel. I also could have gone with just some eyeliner and mascara. I did wear the other make-up for a couple of days too, but eventually stopped wearing it because it was just so extremely hot in Japan and I was sweating like crazy. My face got so shiny lol. Without all the make-up on I was able to wipe my face clean every now and then, which was way more comfortable. All of the other things I did use and need.
Anything I needed and didn’t bring though? Apart from maybe another tube of toothpaste, because we ran out like a day before we left Japan and had to buy a new one, there’s nothing I needed but didn’t bring.

What did you bring back?

I’m sure you’re all curious to know what souvenirs I bought in Japan. I’ll wrote a different blogpost about this, a Japan haul. Click on the link to read it 🙂

Just so you know, I was on somewhat of a budget and therefore didn’t go crazy while shopping. I did however, buy some cute clothes in the sale, some accessories and beauty products. I also won a small stuffed animal (and a large one for my sister, but she packed that one). Everything fit nicely in my carry-on when packing up to leave. My sister had the big stuffed animal that I won her, a pandabear, which she had to stuff into a vacuum bag in order to take home haha!
All in all, I had everything I needed right with me in a small, lightweight suitcase, which was super convenient while traveling. I don’t regret a thing and I feel like I learnt some new things for my coming days of traveling.
I’d love to know what thing you definitely never travel without!

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I love traveling the world, one country and one city at a time. I've already seen a lot and I am so lucky to have, but I've also got more planned! I'm sharing all of my adventures with you of course! xox

6 thoughts on “Minimal packing for 11 days in Japan: what do you really need?

  1. Pingback: Airbnb in Japan

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