Travel, Teach, Live in Japan
Cash - The Japanese mostly use cash for paying for things. Most stores in Japan don't accept credit or debit cards so you should remember to bring plenty of cash with you. You can also bring traveller's checks and exchange them into yen at a local bank. Moreover, big cities such as Tokyo and Kyoto are very expensive and they are full of things you want to buy as souvenirs. Only buy the most unique things and don't make yourself broke right from the beginning of your trip. You should also be aware of pickpockets in crowded places such as train stations or some festivals.
Shoes and socks - Do remember to bring convenient shoes which are easy to slip on and off because you will visit lots of temples, traditional houses or even changing rooms in clothes shops in Japan. Those places always require you to take off your shoes at the entrance. You should also bring some pairs of clean socks along, especially if you are invited to visit a Japanese family. Clean socks will make you look more polite to them.
Luggage - Light and small luggage is recommended when travelling in Japan. You will have to travel to many places by bus or train and it is usually very crowded, especially in rush hours. Therefore, don't bring much luggage along if you don't want to your travel to be slowed down.
Medicine and rain coats - Bring all medicine which you may need during your stay in Japan, especially in the summer when it is intensely sunny in case you suffer from a fever or headache. Summer is the rainy season in Japan. Therefore, remember to bring a rain coat with you, an umbrella will not be enough to keep you from getting soaked by the rain.
Tissues and handkerchiefs - You may not believe it, but in many Japanese public bathrooms and restrooms there is no toilet paper! Thus bringing some pocket tissues along is essential when travelling in Japan. A handkerchief or a small towel will also be very handy because you may not find hand dryers or paper towels in some public restrooms.
Gifts - If you plan to visit a Japanese family, remember to bring a small gift with you. That's one of the Japanese traditions. The gift should be wrapped carefully but not necessarily be expensive. You should bring something from your home country such as chocolate, postcards, key chains, etc.