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Packing for the Trip

Essential Items:

  • Rain gear (a good rain coat or poncho is very useful; umbrellas are widely available in Japan)
  • Backpack or cross-body bag for short trips and commuting by bike
  • Comfortable and durable shoes for walking or hiking
  • A laptop, tablet or other personal computing device (not required for classes, but most students find it invaluable to have a computer or other device for communicating with family and friends).
  • Camera
  • Indoor slippers
  • Favorite toiletries

Personal Items:

The following are personal items that students have found to be expensive (or unavailable):

  • All contact lens supplies: saline, enzyme, chemicals, etc.  (Take what you need for the first two months, send the rest).
  • Glasses or contact lenses: bring an extra pair. (Be sure to bring a copy of your prescription with you.)
  • Deodorant: many former students complain that Japanese deodorants do not work, so make sure to bring your own from the US.  Previous students have even had to have family members send them deodorant from home, which is costly and time- consuming.
  • Favorite perfume/cologne and skin cleansing products.

Remember, if you wish to bring liquids, gels, or aerosols in your carry on, there may be restrictions on how much you can carry.  For more information on what you can bring, please check the airline you intend to fly with and


Life in Hikone requires somewhat different clothing than life on your home campus, for climatic and cultural reasons.  With the exceptions noted below, it is best to take or send to Japan the clothing you will need for the academic year.  Remember everything you take over, you will have to take back.  Do not over-pack; one or two weeks’ clothing for each season is fine.  It is a good idea to pack light clothing that can be layered.  Students coming for the fall or academic year will find long-underwear and a couple of sweaters to be useful.

Although a wide range of clothing is available in Japan, it may be difficult to find something in your size, or in the styles you prefer. Women who are 5’6” or under and men who are 5’10” or under and of very slim or medium build should be able to find clothes that fit in Japan. If you are taller, or stocky, it will be much more difficult to buy new clothing in Japan. Keep in mind that the prices of clothing are often more expensive in Japan.


Thinner towels are recommended because they will dry easily. You can buy much thinner towels in Japan, which will dry quickly, at reasonable prices. If you plan to buy towels in Japan, however, please bring at least one bath towel with you to use immediately, before you are able to go shopping.

Non-perishable Food:

Generally, you will be able to find most everything you will need. If there is some food item that you simply cannot live without, you might want to leave a little space in your luggage. You may also consider sending some supplies to yourself before you leave the USA or leave a list with family and friends for “care packages” to send later on. In general, the cost of food is greater in Japan than in the United States.

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