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A lifestyle blog by a London gal who loves plants, metal, bleaching my hair and Osaka

Thursday 23 April 2020

Packing for a year in Japan Round 2// Work edition

Here's what I packed for Japan when I was trying to fit my whole life for a year in a 23kg suitcase and a 12kg carry on. This time I was working and to be honest I brought loads of nice fun clothes I almost never wore because I was always at work but ... :') Here's what I packed, along with a couple of tips about what I think you should take from home vs what's worth just buying when you get there.


work clothes- 2 blazers, collared shirts, trousers, 2 skirts
underwear- I bought a couple of extra new bras because it's harder to find my size in Japan- I also brought enough knickers for 2 weeks
jumpers (about 7) jumpers are my favourite item of clothing but they take up a lot of space so I had to limit myself
skirts/ jeans- (about 4) 
t shirts (about 8)
2 dresses
pjs x 3- one pair of long pj bottoms bc winter is cold in Japan
dressing gown- I had a small silky one so it didn't take up too much space I also packed my slippers
My sukajan jacket bc it's the best
Accessories hats, scarves, jewellery
I loove Japanese fashion so I tried to be as minimal as possible so I could get some bits in Japan


DMs- for being comfy/ hiking
DM shoes for work
high heels (my size is harder to find for ladies shoes in Japan) I barely wore them 


toothbrush, toothpaste, mini shower gel
Skincare- I took enough for the first couple of months as I was a bit nervous about getting skincare I liked. On reflection I could definitely have just got some bits from Muji and there was no reason to worry. I would recommend packing minis in case your hotel doesn't have stuff you like so you can just have a bath and a nap as soon as you get there.
Makeup- especially my foundation and concealer as lots of makeup in Japan only comes in one or two shades. I also took a few nail varnishes (these are actually quite heavy so I recommend bringing only one or two and getting some in Japan... )
I took my tangle teezer hair brush and a decent heat protectant because they can be annoying to find in Japan, along with some argan oil (which you can get from muji fyi)
Stick deodorant x 2 (Japanese deodorant isn't strong enough)
My favourite hair mask and silver shampoo- Japanese hair products can be nice but some can be really drying- so I wanted to start off with some things I know I love. I actually ended up taking three Bleach London shampoos and a hair mask and this was probably too heavy but ah well. I used them all so... I took my hair dye bowl tint brush and hairdressing scissors too because I do my own hair
I took a big can of batiste dry shampoo but you can actually buy it in Japan now in Loft so I could have got away with just getting a small one.
I took lots of paracetamol bc it's 50p in the UK for a decent sized 500mg tablets but buying painkillers in Japan was expensive and confusing so I'd recommend taking some with you. Obvs bring any medicines you need
I also took a couple of boxes of tampons because although you can get them in Japan they are way more expensive. sorry for the TMI

My toiletries actually ended up being quite heavy and this was definitely something I could have cut down on but ah well. 


one notebook and one small pencil case- I don't want to have to buy all new things before I get paid, but also Japanese stationery is nice af so I wanted to buy some from Muji
some study books from home- I took my favourite Kanji book but I bought most of the ones I used for the N1 while I was there- Japanese study books are cheaper there anyway
small sewing kit- having a needle and some black and white thread is so handy, and it's also a waste to keep buying new ones every time I move
laptop and charger
*edit* Portable charger! I forgot to mention this- thanks @hellolizziebee for reminding me!
Souvenirs <3 omiyage for friends and new work colleagues- I took tea and biscuits and soap.
photos and sentimental things
small teas and coffees for when I first get there- I took some I'd swiped from a hotel ahahah
Money (in Yen obvs)
Important documents- passport, ID photos, etc.
Foldable umbrella this is something I could have just bought in Japan..

Things I didn't take: 

heat styling tools- different voltage in Japan means British stuff only works at half capacity.
bath towels- too bulky :')

my packing tips <3 

  • Roll clothes to make them take up less space
  • Pack like clothes together so it's easier to unpack
  • pack liquids inside ziplock bags in case of spills
  • pack your most valuable things and a change of clothes in your hand luggage in case your luggage gets lost (mine did ahahha) 
  • wear your heaviest/ bulkiest items- I wore my DMs obvs and my biggest scarf.
  • Also, take your laptop and any heavy cameras as your 'personal item' so you can fit more in your carry on (I think technically the carry on and a personal item must weigh under 12kg together though??)
  • Think carefully/ research what you will and won't be able to buy when you're there- if you have large feet or are tall you might have problems getting shoes or clothes for example. 
  • It's worth getting everything together and weighing it a couple of days before just in case you need to make hard decisions or need to buy something last minute. 

I hope that helped! I'll definitely be looking back on this if I go back :)
What are your travel essentials? Did I miss anything?
-Amy xoxo

What I packed for my year abroad in Japan// How I passed the JLPT N1 // Room tour of my apartment in Shizuoka city and my tips for renting in Japan// 



  1. It's so interesting to see what you packed when moving to Japan! And that's a really good shout to put your most important things in hand-luggage... I've heard so many horror stories around people losing their stuff when travelling yet I never really thought about it properly before.

    In terms of travel essentials... I always take my portable charger! It was such a lifesaver when I went abroad.

    1. omg you're so right about the portable charger! I'm glad you enjoyed the post <3 And honestly I'd never thought about stuff getting lost either until it happened to me- apparently 85% of lost luggage gets recovered though which was a great comfort to know ahaha.


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