Packing TipsTokyo, Summer 2012

Here is a list of random essential and nonessential items I did/wish I’d packed and items I wish I hadn’t or left out. Of course this isn’t everything, just certain items that have jumped out at me during my stay.


  • ・Medicine – because you WILL get sick. There’s no getting around it
  • ・Cough drops
  • ・Nyquil and Dayquil (I’d recommend both liquid and pill form in caseof sore throats)
  • ・Advil
  • ・Generic allergy medicine (Claritin)
  • ・Extra camera batteries (even for non heavy photo users, one extra battery makes a huge difference)
  • ・Extra memory cards
  • ・Shoe cushion inserts (no joke)
  • ・Laptop (you may scoff, but there are students who came here without one)
  • ・Every single pair of underwear you own (ok maybe more like 14 pairs or more. cuts down on laundry costs)
  • ・Several hundred $$$ in traveler’s checks/cash/converted cash to yen with bank beforehand (because ATMs here aren’t always reliable)
  • ・Japanese phrase book (I almost got lost on a terrifying, language barrier filled bus ride because I forgot mine)
  • ・American snacks and random souvenir items representative of your city! (If you’re staying with a host family they will love these)
  • ・Water bottle (put it in your luggage, not carry on)
  • ・Outlet prong adapter (transformer not necessary because voltage between the U.S. and Japan is very similar)
  • ・University Student I.D. (you’ll receive discounts at certain places)
  • ・Apps: Midori and Kotoba (If you have an iPhone download Kotoba for free since it has a handwritten kanji recognition feature. This feature isn’t available on the iTouch. Purchasing Midori for around $10 will save you much time and stress on homework when coming across unknown kanji)

Essential/Purchase Upon Arrival:

  • ・External Hard drive (for photo and video heavy users, Akihabara has these for ridiculously cheap)
  • ・Coin purse/train pass holder (hold out until you find a really awesome/cute combination one :)
  • ・Slippers
  • ・Umbrella (it rains. alot.)
  • ・Extra suitcase (if you get 2 free checked suitcases pack wisely and make use of your other bags so you can fit everything you buy into a second suitcase)
  • ・Yukata (for those staying a semester or year….get it, it’s totally worth it :)
  • ・Chopsticks, bowl, cup, spoon (you’ll be doing a lot of grocery shopping and the cashier doesn’t always provide you with the utensils you need)


  • ・Large tripod (despite what you may think, you will not lug it around anywhere so just leave it at home)
  • ・Old textbooks (once you take your placement test you don’t even touch them. I recommend taking notes or printing out material online. Only bring it if you know it’s the textbook that IES has confirmed for class, in which case you will receive a refund for the textbook cost)
  • ・Camera bag (only takes up unnecessary space)


Hope this helps!

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