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I had a whole week to myself, so what’s a girl to do? A 4-day solo trip to Tokyo, of course. Read on to find out what I packed just 30 hours before my departure!


My Tokyo Packing List



Table Of Contents



Recently, I shared how I’d finally booked the trip to Japan I’ve been putting off for years. I unexpectedly found myself with a whole week to myself, and after receiving so much support from the community, I felt uplifted and ended up taking a last minute whirlwind 4-day trip to Tokyo to make the most of my alone time. It was the best thing I could’ve done! It turned out to be an incredibly healing experience.

Because I booked the trip just 30 hours before departure, my time to plan and pack was limited, to say the least.


Below is everything I packed, why I chose it, AND WHERE I WENT WRONG!




This is seriously the best waterproof winter jacket ever! It keeps me warm AND dry, too!



How I Packed


I traveled carryon only with the Monos Carry-On Pro plus my Rebecca Minkoff Julian Backpack as my personal item and purse. I only used two total packing cubes for my clothing: one Compass Rose Slim Packing Cube and one Compass Rose Medium Size Packing Cube.



Wearing ​Columbia Carson Pass II Jacket and Rebecca Minkoff Julian Backpack





This trip was extra challenging to pack for because the weather was quite varied. I would only have four full days in Tokyo (Fri-Mon), and based on the forecast BEFORE DEPARTING, two of those days were high temperatures (45℉-50℉), and the other two were high temperatures (60℉-65℉). Lows were in the mid-30s to upper 40s.


It actually turned out to be rainy and cold almost the entire time! These are some tips on packing for cold weather.




My carryon was the Monos Carry-On Pro, and my personal item was my Rebecca Minkoff Julian Backpack. No checked bags.



How I Chose the Items

Since I’d never been to Japan and was thrown off by the weather, I posted on the Travel Fashion Girls Facebook Group and asked the community what I should pack. The consensus was that I should bring layers and that it felt colder than expected.

Based on the mixed weather and the fact that I’d have two travel days and only four full sightseeing days, I figured I‘d bring two outfits for cold weather and two outfits for warm weather, including items that could mix and match for fashion or warmth (function).

Spoiler alert: my packing choices were NOT the best. Keep reading for the full breakdown!

These are some tips on how to pack for mixed weather!




Left side: leather jacket, straightener, and toiletry bag | Right side: boots in a shoe bag and clothing in one slim and one medium Compass Rose packing cube | Front compartment (not shown): laptop, chargers, travel umbrella, and book



The Challenge


Since I was flying to Tokyo directly from Playa del Carmen without going back to my closet in Louisville, my clothing options were limited to mostly beachwear, but I did have a few ‘winter friendly” things that would work for the last-minute trip.


The Strategy


I chose a 12-Piece Classic Capsule Wardrobe, which consisted of 10 main clothing items that could be mixed and matched for the weather (which included my flight outfit), 2 outerwear pieces, 2 pajamas, and 1 week’s worth of undies.




My travel outfit to and from Tokyo – would’ve loved to fly in Spanx AirEssentials Pants instead, but these jeans were the only pants I had at home in Playa del Carmen.



Tokyo Packing List


The ​Columbia Carson Pass II Jacket was a lifesaver for me in Tokyo, as it was colder than I expected!



Outerwear (2)

​Columbia Carson Pass 2 – For the cold days and nights of 35℉-45℉, I brought this coat. This jacket is my go-to must-have for cold weather because it’s cute looking but keeps me very warm. I planned to wear this over a sweater and a tee. Having this jacket saved my life!! I wore it the entire time I was there.

​(Faux) Leather Jacket – For the second half of the trip, which showed milder days in the 60s. The weather never got warm enough not to wear my winter jacket, so I didn’t wear this jacket.




I wore my ​L.L.Bean Black Long Sleeve Tee repeatedly under my clothing, and it kept me warm and toasty!


Clothing (10)

​Mother Hustler Jeans – These were the ONLY bottoms I brought because they were the only pants I had in Playa del Carmen. I intended to wear them every day and on the flights. They are shockingly comfortable to wear during long periods, but I still longed for a pair of SPANX AirEssential Pants, which would’ve been perfectly comfy for this long-haul journey. Mostly everyone wore wide leg pants.

​All Saints Grey Merino Wool Sweater – Brought this to wear on repeat if needed alone or under my winter jacket on the coldest of days. I wore it almost every day.​

​Rebecca Minkoff Black Puffy Sleeve Hoodie – Although not as warm, I brought this instead of a second All Saints sweater in black to create a little diversity in my looks. I wore it when I wasn’t wearing the All Saints sweater, but felt it was too casual and wished I’d brought more sweaters instead.

​Denim Cloth and Stone Button Down Top – To be layered over a tee, under my leather jacket, or worn over my dress. Unworn.

​L.L.Bean Black Long Sleeve Tee – This is one of our most reader-recommended long-sleeve tops for travel. It could be layered under sweaters, added as a layer on the flight, or worn alone with jeans. I wore it repeatedly under my sweater/sweatshirt.

​Spanx Navy Blue Tee – It’s so soft and almost fleece-like. I wore it with my jeans to fly to Tokyo and to sightsee during the day. Unworn but it is amazing. So perfect. Currently on final sale but if Spanx brings this tee back I’ll definitely be buying more colors.

J Crew Black 365 Tee (sold out) – Could be layered under my sweater, denim shirt or worn alone if the weather was warmer than expected. Worn repeatedly under my sweater/sweatshirt. More black t-shirt here.

Faux Leather Tee – As my dressier, slightly more fashionable sightseeing or going out top option. I intended to pair it with a leather jacket, boots, or sneakers. Unworn.

​Spanx Grey Camisole – I love this top so much; it’s a smooth, comfortable underlayer. Worn repeatedly under my sweater.

​H&M Black and White Polka Dot Dress – This dress is sheer, featherlight, and ultra-packable. I’d have to buy leggings or tights to wear underneath, but this is a more fashion-forward look, which better represents what I’d want to wear for Japan compared to what I brought because I only had 24 hours to plan and pack. Unworn.




I wore these uber comfy JORMATT socks with my sneakers and they were awesome and didn’t slip down!



Pajamas (2)


Music Festival Tee: This could be worn with my jeans, boots, or sneakers. Unworn.

​Aerie Shorts – Were part of a 2-piece set, but I wanted more versatility, so I opted for a regular tee to pair with the PJ shorts. Unworn.



Underwear (7)


A week’s worth, plus the ones I wore on the flight there.


Socks (6)

​2 White Ankle Length No Show Socks – To be worn with my sneakers. 1 pair I wore on the flight, and I used the 2 medium-weight socks for boots. I also brought compression socks for the plane. I should have brought a couple more pairs (but I didn’t have any).




Turns out the ​Golden Goose Sneakers were comfortable, but still would’ve brought my Taos Plim Soul Lux Sneakers instead!



Shoes (3)

​Golden Goose White Sneakers – I would’ve brought my Taos walking travel sneakers had I been in Louisville when I departed, but these are what I had with me in Playa del Carmen, and they’re actually very comfortable. Adidas Samba, and Gazelle seemed very popular in Tokyo, as I saw those 2 styles frequently.​

​Rebecca Minkoff Black Chunky Leather Boots – These are heavy but surprisingly comfortable, but definitely not to be used as a main sightseeing shoe. I felt they were a better representative of my style and what I’d see in Tokyo. I was right. Chunky soled boots and combat boots were everywhere.​

​Ipanema Flip Flops – I didn’t know what to expect in the shared capsule hotel showers, so I bought these just in case. It was a wise choice!




The one outfit I ended up wearing the entire trip! Columbia Carson Pass 2, All Saints Ridley Merino Wool Sweater (similar), Mother Jeans, White Sneakers



What Worked and What Didn’t

As it turned out, the weather never got warm enough for the Cherry Blossoms to bloom during my visit, which also meant that some of my capsule items were not worn.

I didn’t need to pack for mixed weather—I just needed to pack for cold weather.

Because of this, I didn’t wear the leather jacket, Chambray button-down, faux leather tee, or H&M polka dot dress, which would’ve been SO cute to wear in Tokyo.

I also didn’t wear my pajamas (shorts and tee) because the hotel I stayed at, Millennials Capsule Hotel, rented nice, warm pajamas for just $3.

While my Mother jeans are super soft, I wish I would’ve had my favorite Anthropologie Wide-Leg Pants instead because they’re even more comfortable, stylish, and a better color for the destination and season.

Despite being advised that a winter jacket wasn’t necessary, I opted to bring my trusty Columbia Carson Pass 2 instead of a recommended packable down jacket. It’s important to make packing decisions based on your own weather tolerance.

Considering my prior experience traveling to Paris in the winter and standing hours in the cold rain, I knew my winter jacket wouldn’t let me down in 30℉-40℉ degree temperatures. It was the best decision I could’ve made.

The color ended up being perfect, too. It seemed that everyone in Tokyo was either wearing black or beige coats.




On the left: I would have worn my Anthropologie black pants and my All Saints Gray Sweater. On the right: Or would have brought my All Saints Black Sweater, also wearing Anthropologie pants here!



How I Would Re-Do My Packing List


Despite my outfits being monotonous, if I could have a do-over using my current wardrobe and not buy anything new, I would’ve just packed the way I originally intended with my three favorite All Saints sweaters (shown above):



And I would’ve bought these items on the go: Green Spanx Pullover and Green Spanx pants (at Dallas airport) and Uniqlo Thermal Top and Bottoms (at the Uniqlo store in Tokyo).

Note that I still would’ve brought the polka dot dress I didn’t wear because it took up no room, and if I’d bought the thermals upon arrival, I could’ve worn them underneath the dress.

The whole trip was an incredible learning experience, both from a packing perspective and from a personal standpoint!



Do you love spontaneous trips as much as I do? What was your most exciting last-minute adventure?


For more Asia packing lists, please read:


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