Intro about our visit to Japan
We traveled to Japan in the middle of November and the majority of research said it'd be in the 50's for most of the trip - which was exactly right. We lucked out and only had one rainy day the whole time! The first few days were definitely cooler - I was glad I had brought a hat and mittens. We also had a few days that were gorgeous and sunny where we didn't even bring a coat.
We were newbies to backpacking but knew we didn't want to haul suitcases around. I borrowed a backpack similar to this from a friend, it was about a 40 in terms of backpack sizes. It was definitely a small bag but I was able to pack lightly and we made sure to stay somewhere with access to laundry halfway through our trip (couldn't have done it without that!)
Before we left I tried all over the place to find actual packing lists for what to bring. I found the phrase 'just bring lots of layers' about 164567 times. I'm a girl. I want specifics. So I present to you, my packing list:
First, I know. My illustration skills are astounding. It's remarkable how life-like these garments appear. You probably didn't even realize they were illustrations - but no! that's not a photo! unreal.
skinny black pants. Jeans are bulky, take a long time to dry (wasn't sure of the dryer status in these laundry places) and aren't necessarily comfortable for travel. I brought the Globetrotters from Athleta. They were heavenly for the 15 hour flight without looking stretched out and/or wrinkly at the end.
boot cut black pants. I brought the low rise Dipper Pant from Athleta. I hate the photo on their website - they look very wide leg or something but they are definitely more of a fitted bootcut pant. They were perfect for our one rainy day because they dry so quickly and I loved how I could squish them into my backpack and they never looked wrinkled.
basic black cotton skirt and tights.(skirt was from H&M a few years ago) These were not a necessity. But in general I had packed for walking-all-day-comfort and wanted to be able to put on something a little nicer at night for dinner. I think I also wore the skirt one day for sightseeing when I was pants-out.
long sleeved tshirts. I probably didnt need to bring four. Excessive and could have saved a little room in the bag. Mine are all the basic tall t's from the Gap (like this).
henleys. Again, two was more than I needed when I already had four long sleeved ts. Mine were from the Gap (I swear this post wasn't sponsored). I bought them specifically for the trip and it turns out they stretch out like crrrrazy and ended up being terrible for travel (they aren't available anymore on the website, probably because they suck).
random vintage button down. This is one of my favorite shirts, similar to the skirt it was probably not a necessity - but was fun to throw in the mix every few days to change things up. My only mistake was that this vintage shirt has shoulder pads which do not travel well smooshed in a backpack.
sweater. This is a really basic cotton sweater I got from Target a while ago. It's a little too big which is nice for layering on top of other shirts.
jacket. Mine is a mid-weight North Face jacket (similar) a little waterproof is a good thing.
You might have read in the Harajuku post, but I brought two pairs of shoes - first a tall pair of boots (similar) that I love love. Second, a pair of mary-jane like shoes (similar) that I bought a few years ago for another walking-heavy vacation. They're not attractive but they're comfortable for looong days walking on concrete.
I brought a knitted hat, a cirlce scarf (I can't believe you couldn't tell what that was in the illustration!) and a pair of mittens. I brought one purse that I used 24/7 - a favorite cross body bag big enough to fit my camera.
And that friends, is my rambling packing list.