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What would you recommend to take to Japan?

Atlanta, GA
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What would you recommend to take to Japan?

My 18-year-old daughter will be traveling to Tokyo with her Japanese class for 3 weeks this summer. The teacher will give them some advice, but I would still like to get your recommendations for things she should take--Visa debit card? Should we get her a credit card? What about a telephone? I have read that electrical appliances use the same voltage as the US, but will she need an adapter? What is the best travel guide to read? What type of clothes should she take? She will have to buy some of her own meals--what should she know? She seems to catch every virus that comes along--what types of medicine should she take with her, or will the same over-the-counter medications be available there? What else should we be asking?

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1. Re: What would you recommend to take to Japan?

I would stick to simple financial cards. I would get her a Capital One Visa credit card, since they don't charge the usual 2% or 3% fee for foreign transactions. I would give her a plain ATM card.

My favorite guidebook is Frommer's Japan. If she will be travelling on her own, New Japan Solo is a good supplement. The Lonely Planet phrasebook is helpful (it's the only one that includes "I never want to see you again!") As preparation, she should take a look at the videos posted on YouTube under the name The Japan Channel, particularly those about Japanese etiquette.

Definitely bring a 3-week supply of toothpaste, deodorant, shampoo, and hair care products. Even if her favorite over-the-counter medications are available in Japan, she may not be able to read the labels, so I would bring them. According to my doctor, sanitation in Japan is better than in the USA, so don't worry!.

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Auckland, New...
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2. Re: What would you recommend to take to Japan?

Hi Georgiagirl,

as she is going in summer, the flu season should be over by the time she arrives in Japan. Also hygene standards are very good in Japan so I think there is little to worry about on the health front.. She may need an adaptor for appliances i.e. hair dryer. The normal Japanese wall socket takes a vertically aligned flat two pin plug shown in Wikipedia as model JIS C 8303, Class II (Japanese 15 A/100 V ungrounded) see;


You will need to scroll about a quarter of the way down the Wikipedia page to see a photo.

As to food, don't worry, she won't go hungry. See www.japan-guide.com/e/e620.html


Edited: 18 February 2011, 08:43
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Hong Kong, China
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3. Re: What would you recommend to take to Japan?

Take a credit card for purchases and a debit card for ATM withdrawals.

Japanese phones run on different systems so your phone would need to be 3G for it to work. The best deal though is probably rent one while in Japan. Daily rental costs are very low, and incoming calls are free so you can call her as much as you want.

Japan uses the non-polarized two-prong plug while some American appliances are polarized. Check the appliances/chargers she will be bringing and see if you need to get her an adapter. Most mobile devices these days can handle voltage conversions so that is usually not an issue.

Hair dryers, toothbrush and toothpaste are available at just about all Japanese ryokans/hotels. There are also many convenient stores and supermarkets around so she can get whatever she needs quite easily, including medication.

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4. Re: What would you recommend to take to Japan?

I recommend taking a small compass! Useful for figuring out which way you're facing after emerging from some of the labyrinthine train and subway stations and whilst out and about in general.

Note that North isn't always up on the maps you find on the street.

Kurashiki, Japan
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5. Re: What would you recommend to take to Japan?

Bring deodorant, sunglasses and favorite toiletries, but things like shampoo and toothpaste can be purchased here (same brands as in the west). The summer season will be EXTREMELY hot and humid, so comfortable clothing, i.e. synthetics that absorb sweat and dry on the body (outdoor shops carry these materials) . Jeans and T-shirts will get soaked in sweat and will absorb odors and take forever to dry.

Sturdy sandals are good for walking around, and are useful when visiting temples, schools, etc where people take off their footwear when entering.

Oh, re: the viruses-

Not much around in the summer months but a huge number of people tend to get colds which they attribute to to much air conditioning. (I attribute it to a poor immune system!)

Edited: 18 February 2011, 11:14
Kootenays, British...
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6. Re: What would you recommend to take to Japan?

I'd just like to address clothing. I know she's a teenage girl and will NEED to bring a lot of stuff but her trip will be far more enjoyable if she packs lightly -one small to medium suitcase and a daypack. I was recently on the train from Kyoto to Hiroshima when a teenage school group from Australia got on board. They had so much luggage (typically at least two very large suitcases each) that the overhead racks were full and the kids had to sit with their huge suitcases under their feet so that their knees were up around their ears.

While you don't say where in Japan she is going it should be warm and humid in the most tourist areas. She should take the same type of clothes as if she was going to the south eastern US at the same time of the year. She will want to bring a light jacket as they may well go up a mountain or two.

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Kyoto Prefecture, Japan
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7. Re: What would you recommend to take to Japan?

your phone from home has to be 3G 2100 to work. Most 3G phones from the US do not support 2100MHz.

Honolulu, Hawaii
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8. Re: What would you recommend to take to Japan?

A cell phone defeats the purpose of the trip when time is spent merely talking between class members or worse, friends at home. If it is an emergency, they will be ample ways of communicating with her. Time and money directed towards speaking and interacting with locals would make it a true learning experience while traveling, not just in Japan.

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9. Re: What would you recommend to take to Japan?

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