Bring, leave, buy; moving to Japan

Moving to another country is a big decision, so what should you pack, what should be left, and what can be bought there?

I overpacked and it was annoying to carry all of it around. Honestly, I wish I had packed less, so here’s a list of things that I absolutely needed, things I should have left, and things that I could have bought there.


  • Deodorant; Japanese summers are brutal, so having a good antiperspirant is life-saving. I found that Japanese deodorant wasn’t very effective.
  • Good walking shoes; without a car, you do a lot of walking or riding a bike in addition to public transportation. In my time I went through a few pairs of shoes.
  • Business Clothes; most teaching jobs in Japan require professional attire, while my company didn’t require it in the classroom, it was necessary for the office.
  • Toothpaste; while you can buy it in Japan, Japanese toothpaste doesn’t contain fluoride.
  • Bras; ladies, who have a larger chest like me, will find it hard to bra shop in Japan. It is nearly impossible to find a bra without padding and when I did find one, it was really expensive. I decided to wear sport bras, because at least then I had the coverage and support.


  • Anything other than clothes and electronics. Honestly, anything you can buy in Japan, just leave it in your home country. I used up space packing towels and other toiletries.


  • Towels; can be bought at most convenience stores
  • Shampoo & Conditioner; also available at convenience stores if you’re in a pinch, but you can find a wide variety of brands at drug stores.
  • Body wash
  • Cell Phone; while you can bring an unlocked phone and get a sim card, it can be more expensive over time, if you plan on being there long. If you’re attached to your current phone an option is get pocket wifi and use your phone on airplane mode. Most Japanese communicate via the app LINE. If you need an actual phone number, I’d recommend getting a cheap phone that you can call with, and still use your phone with pocket wifi. I wish I had done that, especially since it was a lot cheaper with my American wireless provider.
  • Pocket wifi; this is worth it’s weight in gold. It allows you access to wifi everywhere (except some really rural areas)


What did you bring? What did you leave?


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