I ignored the guidebook advice, but you don’t have to!
We are just back from a three-week trip to Japan, where we stayed in a variety of hotels ranging from 2.5 star to 5 star properties.
Each of the hotels generously provided a number of travel essentials free of charge.
I can confirm that more likely than not, you don’t need to pack these ten items for a trip to Japan.
How to Lighten Your Load on a Trip to Japan
We stayed in nine different hotels over the course of our three-week trip to Japan. They all provided a standard set of amenities.
Do yourself a favor and leave these items at home:
Pajamas and Bathrobe: Hotels routinely provide fresh pajamas and/or yukatas (cotton kimono-like robes). In hotels with spas, it is de rigueur to walk to the public bath in the yukata and slippers.
Slippers: The Japanese custom is to remove your shoes upon entering a home. The same is true when entering a hotel room. Every hotel on our itinerary provided disposable slippers.
Toothbrush and toothpaste: American hotels don’t generally supply toothbrushes and toothpaste, but we found these items were available in Japanese hotels.
Disposable razor: Not having to pack a razor will shave a few ounces off your load.
Hairbrush and comb: You don’t need to bring a hairbrush or comb, as these are routinely supplied in Japan.
Standard toiletries: As you would expect, hotels provide soap, shampoo, conditioner, lotion, and often body wash.
Sundries: Q-tips, cotton pads, nail files were offered everywhere.
Sewing kit: I came home with at least half a dozen sewing kits. I love these kits because the needles are pre-threaded.
Umbrella: Several hotels offered umbrellas to borrow. Don’t bother packing an umbrella because if it rains, you can buy one at a subway station for about $5.00 and they may be even cheaper at a convenience store. With amazing Japanese efficiency, the coin operated umbrella dispensers in the subway stations are replenished frequently on rainy days.
Flashlight: All hotels provide a flashlight in case of emergencies such as an earthquake.
Other hotel room amenities that we enjoyed included water bottles, a refrigerator, coffee maker, and hot water heater for making tea.
Do you tend to overpack? Even if you forget a few critical items like sunscreen — or run short — most everything you might need is is readily available in Japan.