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This time of year in Japan can be tricky to pack for. It’s a transitional season where some days you’ll be fine wearing just a sweater, but other days you’ll find yourself needing a coat. We flew into Japan the last week of March and stayed until the first week of April and the temperatures definitely fluctuated throughout our stay. Dressing in layers was key to staying comfortable throughout the day and wearing a coat in the early morning and late evenings were a must.
Coat or Jacket
Definitely bring a coat or jacket for this time of year. It was pretty chilly in the mornings and at night temperatures were on average 40-45°F. During the day, if the sun was out, it was pleasant and comfortable. However, there were several days where it was gloomy with some light rain, so a coat or jacket was definitely needed throughout the day.
Sweater or Sweatshirt
Wearing a light sweater or sweatshirt underneath our coat was sufficient and comfortable pretty much throughout the day. I tried to wear a T-shirt with just a coat and it was a bit chilly for me, so I only did that one time. Some of the places we went to that were indoors like museums provided free lockers so we were able to store our coats in a locker for a few hours. This way we were hands-free which was nice especially when taking photos.
Crystal wore leggings most of the days we were in Japan. It was warm enough for this time of year and leggings are great when you’re walking around all day. We typically like to wear leggings that have a mid to high rise with pockets. I wore my UNIQLO heat-tech leggings a couple of times underneath my long skirt. I knew my legs would be a bit chilly if I didn’t wear something underneath and the heat-tech leggings were perfect.
We did wear jeans a few times but made sure to wear jeans that had some stretch to them. We spent a ton of time walking or sitting on trains when we were in Tokyo, so wearing a pair of jeans with at least 2% elastane in them really made a difference.
Dress or Skirt
I only wore a dress a couple of times when the temperatures were in the high 60s and when the sun was out. However, I had to wear jeans underneath my dress since it was a tad too chilly for my legs to be exposed. I wore a skirt one time and underneath it I had on my UNIQLO heat-tech leggings and just rolled the leggings up to my skirt’s hem. The heat-tech leggings added that extra warmth that my legs needed.
We really wanted to wear some cute sandals, but it just wasn’t warm enough so we wore our booties. We really like our booties from Seychelles and love that they are easy to slip on and off.
You will be doing a ton of walking if you are going to view the cherry blossoms, so it’s best to wear flat shoes on those days. Walking up and down the stairs at the train stations can really take a toll on your feet so we highly suggest wearing sneakers or something flat so that your feet stay comfy.
Bandolier Phone Strap/Case
Most likely you will be getting around Japan by train, so having a reloadable transportation card (Suica or Pasmo) is a game changer. When we were in Japan, we carried our card inside our Bandolier case and wore it everywhere we went. Not only does the Bandolier hold our phone, but it also conveniently holds several cards. The Bandolier was there when we wanted to snap a quick photo and it was there when we wanted to scan our transportation card. There was no need to take the card out of the case when we scanned it, so going through the ticket scanner was a seamless process.
Pacsafe Anti-theft Backpack
Japan is one of the safest countries to travel to so having an anti-theft backpack isn’t a concern. However, the Pacsafe backpack goes with us wherever we go regardless because of all its other amazing features. Some of our favorite features are the bright pink interior so that it’s easy to find our belongings, the interior padded laptop sleeve, the exterior sleeve that slides onto a suitcase handle and the exterior pockets that holds a water bottle and/or a collapsible umbrella. There are so many useful and convenient features in this bag that we can’t go anywhere without it.
Hokkairo (Disposable Personal Heating Pad)
Although it’s not extremely cold during this time of year, we did use the heat pads a few times. These little heat patches do a great job of keeping you warm all day. One time we used it to stick on our lower back when our backs were killing us from all the walking (yes, we are getting old!). You can buy a heat pad that has an adhesive so that you can stick these things anywhere you want. They are sold everywhere in Japan from convenience stores to drug stores. You can even buy them in the US on Amazon.
Hope our suggestions will help you narrow down what to pack for your cherry blossom travels to Japan. Please keep in mind that we were in the Kanto region (greater Tokyo area) so our recommendations don’t apply to the Northern or Southern regions of Japan.