The Ultimate Study Abroad Checklist for Japan

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Misty Fujii is a Canadian who moved to Osaka, Japan in 2019 and married her Japanese sweetheart. In 2022 they had a baby and moved to Fukui for the clean country air. She is a DJ who teaches English part time and writes in order to share Japan with the world. She gets excited about collecting vintage vinyl records, food of all countries, travelling and renovating her traditional Japanese house.

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You’re ready to spread your academic wings, and guess where’s topping the charts? Japan! Over 150,000 international students are flocking to this dynamic land each year to discover why it’s the dream educational destination.

So you’ve enrolled in school, applied for your visa, and booked your flight. You may be feeling a mix of emotions, from excitement to a touch of nervousness – you’re coming to live and study in Japan! But before you board the plane, here are a few things you don’t want to forget.

1. Travel Documents: Your Passport to Japan

Before you get lost in the whirlwind of an international adventure, let’s take a step back to ensure you’ve got your travel documents effectively organized. These are possibly the most important things you need!

Passport

Your passport is your gateway to the world. But before you stash it in your travel pouch, remember to check its expiration date. Ensure it remains valid throughout your entire stay in Japan. Make a photocopy and keep it separate from the original for added peace of mind. It’s also a good idea to scan it and send a copy to yourself via email. 

Visa Documents

Your visa is the golden ticket to Japan’s academic wonderland. It grants you access to a world of knowledge (and residence!). Make sure you have your visa and all the necessary documents, such as the Certificate of Eligibility, if required. These documents are your keys to unlocking the treasure chest of Japan’s educational riches.

Medical Documents

If you carry prescription medication, here’s a pro tip: pack your doctor’s note. It can be a lifesaver during customs checks, ensuring you breeze through the process. It’s also important to check if your medications are controlled in Japan so you know how much you can bring or if it’s not allowed. Please check the Ministry of Health and Welfare of Japan to ensure you have everything you need. Think of it as your hall pass for customs checks!

2. Study Essentials: Fueling Your Academic Odyssey

You’re about to immerse yourself in a world of learning, research, and academic growth. So, let’s ensure you arm yourself with the right tools to conquer this educational frontier.

Laptop or Study Device

Prepare for countless hours of research and assignments. A reliable laptop or study device is an academic essential. And remember to check its compatibility with Japanese power outlets or pack the necessary adapters.

Adapters

Speaking of adapters, make sure you’ve got them. They are your lifeline to keeping all your devices charged and ready for action. In Japan, electric devices operate on 100V and 50/60 HZ, and most outlets use two flat-prong plugs only. Having a universal adapter is always a safe bet!

Books from Home

While Japan offers a wealth of resources, there’s something comforting about having some books from your home country. It’s your slice of familiarity amidst new horizons. If you’re trying to save luggage space, an e-reader or tablet could be a valuable and helpful investment!

3. Health and Wellness: Smooth Sailing for Your Well-being

In this grand adventure, your well-being deserves top billing, especially when entering uncharted waters. Let’s talk about health and personal care.

Medicine

I mentioned this briefly before, but it’s so important! If you have a prescription, make sure you’ve packed as much as you’re allowed. It’s also necessary to check if your medication is available in Japan (or alternatives) if you’ll need a refill. And, of course, be sure to have any essential documentation from your doctor.

Personal Care Products

Let’s dive into the world of personal care because maintaining your style and comfort matters, even overseas. While Japan’s store shelves boast a plethora of personal care products, your beloved go-to items from home are a bit less common here. So, before you jet off, let’s make sure you’re well-prepared. Some of the most recommended items are specific hair care, cosmetic products, and deodorant/antiperspirant. 

Why deodorant? In Japan, deodorants and antiperspirants may differ from what you’re used to; they tend to be milder and harder to find. If you’re particular about your choice, it’s a good idea to stock up on your preferred brand before you leave. That way, you can maintain that fresh feeling even on the warmest of days.

4. Wardrobe Essentials: Dressing for All Seasons

Japan is renowned for its four distinct seasons, each with unique weather patterns. While stores here stock plenty of appropriate seasonal clothes, things like size and style can sometimes be a factor, prompting people to want to bring their clothing and shoes.

Clothing for All Seasons

Japan’s seasons are as diverse as its culture. Pack lightweight clothing for steamy summers and cozy layers for brisk winters. Don’t forget transitional pieces for those in-between times!

Shoes

An intriguing Japanese custom involves removing your shoes indoors. Thus, it’s vital to bring comfortable and easy-to-slip-off shoes. As a bonus, make sure to have some clean socks!

Suit/Dress Clothes

You’ll encounter school ceremonies, formal gatherings, or the occasional special event. So, having a suit or dress clothes at your disposal is a smart academic move.

5. Money Matters: Navigating Your Finances

Managing your finances is a critical aspect of your study abroad experience. It can significantly influence your adventure.

Credit/Debit Card

Remember to inform your bank about your travel plans to Japan. Ensure any card you plan to use is internationally compatible, and double-check any associated fees for international transactions.

Currency Exchange

It’s wise to exchange some cash into Japanese Yen before departing your home country. That way, you have money for initial expenses upon arrival.

6. Entertainment and Comfort: A Piece of Home Away from Home

Lastly, don’t underestimate the value of some creature comforts from home.

Headphones/Earbuds

You’ll sometimes want to escape the world around you. So, bring your favorite pair of headphones or earbuds. They provide your personal space, whether in crowded places or studying late at night. however, rest assured that Japan is well endowed with electronics- if you want to snag a new pair, you’re in a great spot.

Snacks

Your favorite snacks may not be available in Japan, and while finding new ones will be fun, sometimes you might want a taste of home, or even want to shared your beloved snacks with new friends!

Omiyage (Gifts)

Giving omiyage, or customary gifts, is a delightful way to break the ice and build connections with your new Japanese friends and professors. Think of them as conversation starters, and remember to grab a few before you hop on that plane.

Is there anything else you want to bring?

Now that your ultimate checklist is in order, you’re fully equipped to embark on an exhilarating study abroad experience in Japan. As you step onto that plane, do so with the confidence that you’re prepared for an academic journey brimming with discoveries, cultural revelations, and unforgettable experiences. Embrace your adventure with excitement – the Land of the Rising Sun eagerly awaits to welcome you to its educational wonderland.

Japan Wonder Travel Tours 

Japan Wonder Travel is a travel agency that offers guided tours throughout Japan. 
From private walking tours to delicious Food and Drink tours, we can help you organize the best tours just for you! If you want to explore Japan and learn more about the history and backstories of each area you are visiting, our knowledgeable and friendly English speaking guides will happily take you to the best spots! 
In addition, we can provide you with any assistance you may need for your upcoming trip to Japan, so please feel free to contact us if you have any questions or need some help! 

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Explore the most lively and popular fish market in Tokyo and try some of the local’s favorite street foods and sake with one of our friendly and knowledgeable English speaking guides! 

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Tokyo 1–Day Highlights Private Walking Tour (8 Hours)
There’s no better way to explore an area than taking a tour with a knowledgeable local guide. You will have the chance to learn about the history and interesting background stories of Tokyo, as well as discover some hidden gems which can be hard to do without a guide.

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Mt. Fuji Day Trip Bus Tour from Tokyo
Experience the breathtaking views of Mt. Fuji by visiting the highlights of the area on our guided sightseeing bus tour! Departing from Shinjuku in central Tokyo, you can travel comfortably to all of the best spots in the area by bus.

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Kyoto Private Full Day Walking Tour
On this full-day private tour of Kyoto, you will be able to see the highlights of Kyoto in just one day and at the same time develop a deeper understanding of both the culture of the area and Japan as a whole.

Find the other Tours

Tour Packages
If you want to make travel easier, we suggest you look into tour packages.There are a wide range of tour packages out there to suit the accomodate for each traveler needs. Click the button below to find the best tour package from various Tour Operators!

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Happy traveling!

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