So last time we talked about preparing for Japan, and this time we’re going to
take with you to Japan, which is going to include the best way to exchange money,
what kind of clothes you should bring, toiletries, food, and gifts.
Now of course before you can go to japan the most important thing you need is your
passport, because you can’t get into the country without it.
Now if you’re going to be studying abroad or if
you’re going to be working in japan also need a visa
but your place employment or your school will take care of that for you so
you don’t even have to worry about it.
If you just want to visit Japan,
if you’re one of 36 different countries you can participate in the
Visa Waiver Program which means you don’t need a visa at all.
All you have to do is just arrive in Japan with your passport and a flight ticket
out of japan within those 90 or three months,
and that’s all you need.
Now technically they want you to prove that you have enough money to survive in
Japan for the amount of time that you’re going to be there.
They don’t usually check but as long as you have some credit cards you should be ok.
But you’re not going to japan without money anyway so what’s the best way to
get your money there?
You can take cash to Japan and exchange it at the airport or large post offices or
but if you do that they’re gonna give you a really crappy exchange rate and you’re
gonna be really disappointed.
You can take travelers cheques which are safer than cash,
and they’ll give you a slightly less crappy exchange rate,
but it’ll still be kinda crappy. And you have to exchange travelers cheques at a
post office or the airport.
You can’t use them at any stores in Japan or anything like that.
Now what most people do is they withdraw money from their credit cards
at ATMs in Japan.
Now not all credit cards can do this and not all ATMs accept this so make sure
you do your research before you come to Japan without any cash at all.
The ATMs in 7/11 convenience stores are probably your best bet for this
because they accept most major credit cards. Keep in mind that your credit
card might charge you a fee for this, though.
The way I personally exchange money is by withdrawing money from an ATM with
a Capital One Bank debit card. It may not be the best way but it’s the best way
I know how, because it charges no foreign transaction fees,
no fees for using an ATM and if the ATM itself charges you a fee it even
reimburses a set amount of that every month.
And the 1% fee charged by Mastercard itself– Capital One eats that fee for you
and that makes it the only bank that does not.
So you essentially get to exchange money for no fees at all: it’s free.
If you’re paying attention though you’ll realize
that I didn’t say anything about the exchange rate that Capital One uses.
And that’s where things get tricky because it’s difficult to pin down what
the exact difference is between the actual exchange rate
and the exchange rate that you receive is.
Some companies hide fees by adjusting exchange rates, so how does Capital One’s
exchange rate compare?
Well, this morning I took out ￥10,000 from my account which withdrew $124.89.
According to Google at that time,
￥10,000 was worth $123.35, or the difference of $1.54.
At the same time according to x-rates.com,
￥10,000 was worth $124.56 or the difference of 33 cents.
So all in all it doesn’t look like Capital One is hiding much in fees
in their exchange rate, if any at all.
I do recommending your own research before making any decisions about money, though
because for one companies change their policies all the time and what
might be true now might not be true later.
As for what kind of clothes you should bring, it
really depends on what time of the year it is, where
in Japan you’re going and how much you wanna conform to local standards.
If you’re going to be in central Japan around Tokyo, Nagoya or Osaka
then in the winner at the coldest it gets maybe a little below freezing
but in the summer it gets to be upper 20s or a little over 30, or
80s – 90s Fahrenheit.
But more than that it’s humid! It’s extremely humid in Japan.
It’s so bad that sometimes you can be outside for just a couple minutes and
then you’ll be drenched in sweat.
But what’s even worse than that is
Japan likes to keep their buildings really cold
so once you go inside you need a jacket even though you were sweating outside.
As for what Japanese people actually wear,
well I’ve linked to a really great resource for fashion in men and women
In general Japanese people love layers and loose fitting clothing.
Guys whatever you wear you’re probably going to be fine
so I’m not gonna spend too much time talking about that,
but for ladies there are a couple different
standards that most Japanese women tend to abide by.
Japan is a leg country!
It’s acceptable to show off as much leg as you want here.
Miniskirts? No problem at all!
They frequently wearing leggings or tights underneath those as well,
and sometimes even the type that stops at your upper thigh–
those are acceptable as well.
However Japanese women are very conservative
when it comes to the chest area– they don’t show anything at all.
If you want to be really safe I would keep it just a couple inches below your
There are of course exceptions, and as a foreigner you won’t be held to the same
However, as a woman with a low-cut shirt you will be making a lot of
Japanese boys blush. People will stare.
Some people will stare openly, others will wait until you pass or turn away but
they will stare.
No matter how much you like attention, eventually you’ll want them to stop
staring, so make sure you at least bring something that’s appropriate!
In general there are a few things that Japanese people don’t usually wear as well,
such as sweats, hoodies, or t-shirts of any kind that
advertise your favorite band tv show, anime… whatever.
An exception to this would be Disney or Ghibli, though as a guy you’re probably
not going to want to wear those things anyway.
They do have lots of shirts with English lettering on them so that’s fine,
but if you have something with Japanese characters on it don’t bring it because
they would not wear that here.
They do wear crocs, though.
And now for toiletries!
In the interest of saving time I’ve sped up the video, but if you wanna see a
picture more clearly you can just pause it. This is the deodorant section for men,
which is tiny and inefficient.
For women have a much greater variety but it’s a bit expensive and you’re
probably better off just bringing a stick from home.
Men, you’re definitely going to want to bring some from home, too.
They have the major foreign brands for shaving needs as well, like Gilette and
Venus. The price for those isn’t too far off from America,
but with the exchange rate it’s probably cheaper to bring your own refills.
Foreign shampoo brands include Herbal Essences, Vidal Sassoon, Pantene,
Dove, and Lux.
The bags on the bottom are for refills. As for lotions, cleansers, body washes etc
they have all of that and more, though it seems like they don’t really
have shower gel. So if you use that then you might want to bring some.
Ladies for your feminine hygiene products they have all the regulars though tampons
are really pricey so you might want to bring some from home.
To save on space just take them out of the box when you pack them.
Panty liners and pads are really reasonably priced.
I also recommend bringing your own pillow if you’re picky about those types
If you stay in a dorm in Japan chances are that provide you with a pillow that’s full
of these hard plastic bean/bead type things which is not very comfortable at all.
I usually take my pillow as a carry-on on the plane,
and then you can use it to sleep on the plane as well.
If you get airline that’s picky they might tell you combine it with your carry-on
item or your purse,
so just bring a large bag and you can stick all of that in there together
while you’re going through the line, and then take it back on the plane,
For electronics Japan has two-prong sockets and lower voltage the most
so if you’re coming from America the only kind of adapter you need
is one that takes a three-prong plug to a two-prong plug.
You don’t need anything for voltage.
For food, they do have stores that sell international food here,
but it’s ridiculously expensive.
For a box of cake mix that might cost $1 in America, it could cost you $8 or $10 here.
They have a small variety of nuts but they’re very expensive
and if you like pecans you can only get them in the international food store.
If you bake it’s really difficult to find powdered sugar here and chocolate
chips and other toppings are not only extremely expensive
but, the package sizes are extremely small.
I’ve seen nutella here as well but the jar was also really tiny and it was
The cereal selection here is really small, too.
They have a couple bran types, and then frosted, corn, or chocolate flakes or
as well as a few types of mixed cereals that have nuts and fruits
that are really good but they’re really expensive. You can get pancake mix, though.
In general if there’s a food that you love and
you’re allowed to bring it across borders, so not meat or vegetables,
then you might as well just go ahead and bring it.
And of course if you’re coming to Japan you should bring gifts!
Gift-giving is an important part of the culture here and you’ll give them to your
co-workers, your host family, people who invite you over to their home…
Chances are you’ll end up giving a gift to to someone, so bring a couple small
things with you.
The price is not important and really you do not want to bring something
too expensive because it puts a burden on the recipient to give you something
expensive in return, which is kind of a rude thing to do.
The easiest gift is just food.
Some sort of food for your home country like chocolates always works really well.
Other common gifts includes small things that are made in your home country or
representative of state or culture.
Daily necessities such as lotion or soap also works well.
And if you run out of things or you can’t think about anything, don’t worry!
You can also buy something in Japan.
It doesn’t have to be something from your home country.
It’s the thought that counts first and foremost, so
don’t stress out about it too much.
Just to add in before I end here, something you do not want to bring to Japan is drugs!
Do not bring drugs! Japan has a very, very strict anti-drug policy.
If you get caught with drugs in Japan they will deport you
and they will ban you from entering the country again.
If someone tries to mail you drugs,
they will find you and then they will depart you and ban you from entering the
You’re also not allowed to bring in medicine that has more than 10%
pseudoephedrine, which is common in decongestants,
or anything that contains methamphetamine or amphetamine.
If you have to bring narcotics you have to apply for a special permit,
not the Yakkan Shoumei, and I’ve included a link for that down below.
Other than that if you have any questions on preparing for Japan
or what you should bring, leave them in the comments below!