Articles to pack when relocating to Japan

Articles to pack when relocating to Japan

Articles to pack when relocating to Japan

If you’re lucky enough to be relocating to Japan and are intending to travel light and restock with essentials once you’re there, what should you pack?

Japan is one of the world’s most fascinating countries, and is absolutely nothing like the land of your birth, wherever that may be! Contrary to many expat surveys’ opinions, food and clothing aren’t prohibitively expensive so you don’t need to bring your entire wardrobe with you when you leave home. However, there are a few must-haves which might be tricky to find, however hard you look.

The first, and very important, purchase you probably won’t be able to find in your size is a pair of indoor slippers. In Japan, outdoor shoes are never, ever worn indoors, and offices hold to this rule as well as do hostels, hotels and all private homes.The problem for big-footed foreigners is finding a pair in anything like the right size, making it the best idea to buy several pairs and take them with you. A plain, practicable pair or two made from some kind of fabric with a tough sole won’t take much room in your luggage.

Oddly, and somewhat inconveniently, it’s important for new arrivals to bring in bundles of cash. Japan is one of the world’s most developed, tech-savvy countries, but hasn’t yet woken up to paying by card, cheque or anything else except the local hard currency. Some places in the huge cities do accept card, but there’s almost always a hefty surcharge and cash still rules everywhere else. The plus point is that you can walk around with a small fortune in your wallet and you’ll still feel safe.

If you’re going straight into a new job in arrival, bringing a few gifts with you for your new work colleagues is a very Japanese thing to do and will earn you much-needed brownie points. The Japanese word is ‘omiyage’, and inexpensive items from your home country such as typical sweets or packaged chocolates will be welcomed. You’ll also gain respect for taking the trouble to get in tune with an important aspect of life in Japan.

One must-have is an electrical adaptor for your electronic gear. Japan’s voltage runs at 100, far lower than in the USA, the UK and continental Europe. If you can’t find one before you leave, they’re available at the BicCamera stores all across the country. If you’re on regular medications, it’s best to check what’s available online before you leave, as certain drugs need a permit before you can bring them in. Your home country’s Japanese Embassy website can give details. ‘

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