How to pack for your trip to Japan in February

As you may or may not have read in previous posts, we went to Japan in February. We spent 2/3 of our time on Hokkaido in Niseko and 1/3 in Tokyo. Skiing in Niseko required more warm layers, as the temps were 20-30's F. In Tokyo, the weather was much warmer in comparison, reaching the 40's F. 

Here's what I ACTUALLY packed to go to Japan in a 36 Liter Osprey Women's Kyte backpack


Winter gear:



  • Canada flag pins (for personal thank-you's)
  • Travel Towel
  • Japan travel book
  • Playing cards
  • Space saver roll up bags (x2)
  • 3 packing cubes (with items packed in them)
  • Ski goggles
  • Inflatable pillow
  • Red leather day bag to carry around town
  • iphone and charger


  • Chapstick
  • Conditioner
  • Bobby Pins
  • Deodorant
  • Sports tape
  • Sewing kit
  • Tissues
  • Tampons
  • Undereye concealer
  • Eyebrow crayon
  • Hair ties
  • Nail clippers
  • Toothbrush
  • Toothpaste
  • Floss
  • Comb
  • Razor
  • Eye drops
  • Face lotion
  • Face cleanser
  • Hand sanitizer
  • Stain stick
  • Advil
  • Inhaler (for asthma)
  • Dramamine
  • Shout wipes
  • Cold and flu meds (x4)
  • Bandaids
  • Gas-ex strips
  • Imodium and traveler's diarrhea meds
  • Tums
  • Allergy meds 
  • Headband


    The items in italics are items I did not use on this trip. You can see that there are few items I did not use. However, I would not have gone without any of the meds in my toiletries; they are invaluable if needed (I'm never sure what kind of meds are sold in foreign countries). I would have taken 1 less pair of underwear (not that it would have made much difference in space) and left the travel towel (which I brought to bring to onsens, but every one provided towels). On the way to Japan, I was able to put my day bag in my larger backpack and only have 1 bag to carry on (yes, 36L is carry-on size) and on the way home, I took it out, giving me additional space in the Kyte. I had plenty of room for souvenirs; I brought home 2 kokeshi dolls about 5" high and 1 bottle of Japanese whiskey, as well as some other small trinkets.

    What are your packing experiences at this time of year for Japan? What would you do differently?