Tuesday, February 21, 2017

Japan trip Winter 2017 Part 9: What's in my bag - Japan trip edition

I've done a "What's in my bag" post before, but I thought it would be interesting to share what I keep in my purse/bags especially in regards to travel! I also wanted to breakdown what I usually pack in each piece of luggage when I'm on my way back to Hawaii as well because I've had some people question my packing techniques lol. I'll admit it's not aesthetically pleasing and doesn't make a nice IG post, but I'd rather have function over a pretty picture any day, especially if it means bringing back the items I want.

Bag: Liz Lisa 2015 web-limited rose embossed fukubukuro trunk
I'm lucky to have a few Liz Lisa suitcase options, but I've found myself using this one the most. Even though the 2013 version is very similar. I like the upgrade they made to the inside straps for this one and the cute outside design as well. Plus with the rectangular 2-wheel design, it can hold a good amount of content and is easy to use.
On the way over to Japan, I usually pack this bag with all of the clothes and items I need during the trip and then pack it into my large black check-in suitcase. This way, it helps control how much I'm bringing with me, but also allows me to bring this Liz Lisa suitcase without actually having to hassle with rolling it separately.
On the way back to Hawaii, it's typically just filled with odds and ends and last minute purchases, fragile items that can't be checked in, plus minimal essentials. In this specific case, I had my white Liz Lisa coat, a set of roomwear, the satin blouson I wore on the last day but didn't need on the plane, socks, undergarments and accessories. I also had a 20 pack of Black Thunder, 5 Hi-Chew packs, the two Knot watches I purchased and the fishing lures I bought on the last day for my bf + a few other random things. The outer pieces and the fluffy roomwear took up quite a bit of space, but I wanted it handy in case I needed it for some reason.

Bag: Liz Lisa 2013 royal rose fukubukuro tote
I love the size of this tote. It's way too oversized for regular, everyday use for me but perfect for traveling. The bag I originally had as part of the 2013 fukubukuro I bought fell apart a bit (fake leather and Hawaii's humidity don't pair well), but I found a replacement on Yahoo Auctions and I'm thrilled to have this bag back in my life. I used the Liz Lisa My Melody 2016 fukubukuro tote for my US East Coast trip and that one definitely does not hold as much.
On the way over to Japan, this is my main carry on item which usually includes my footwear, a change of clothes and a few other essentials.
On the way back to Hawaii, this functions as my "personal item" and I have to shove a lot more things in there - most importantly my purse. I also had my knee high boots, slip on shoes (for the plane), Berri's sukapan which was a last minute purchase that didn't fit anywhere else, facial wipes, the airplane amenities kit and apparently napkins lol. Not pictured is the quart size bag with my cosmetics and other things I need to keep on me like my glasses and contact solution.

Bag: Liz Lisa rose quilted purse
This is my favorite purse to travel with for my daily essentials. I originally purchased it during my study abroad in Kobe in 2012. I used that bag into the ground and was lucky enough to find a replacement on Yahoo Auctions in reasonable condition (which is this one). That being said, this "new" one doesn't have the best straps and isn't holding up as well as I anticipated, so this might have been its last trip! Unlike the other two Liz Lisa bags, what's pictured above is what I usually carry with me day-to-day while in Japan - not necessarily what's in there when I'm on the plane/going to and from the airport.

Here are a few highlights of the contents that are must-bring items for almost every trip in Japan (somewhat in order of importance) -
Samantha Thavasa wallet, Kate Spade New York passport case with passport, JR Rail Pass/daily passes, Liz Lisa My Melody mook vol 1 tote, Liz Lisa handkerchief print small towel
Not pictured: Pocket wifi unit and key to access accommodations (had to be returned while in Japan)
Some of these items are important for obvious reasons (wallet for money and cards, passport for international travel and identification), but the My Melody tote is really handy for carrying small items/packages from various stores or even sometimes an outer piece in one bag and the small towel is for drying your hands if there's no paper towel or hand dryer handy.

BCP, bandaids, face masks, tissue, Vaseline Lip Therapy, Tylenol
These are items mostly related to health. I find it handy to carry around bandaids in case I get a blister or a small cut. Although you can buy them almost anywhere, sometimes you need an immediate solution and they're easy to carry around. The face masks are more essential in the colder seasons, but I often just carry it around in case I feel like wearing it since the climate in Japan affects my skin a little differently than Hawaii. I hardly ever use the Tylenol myself but it's expensive in Japan and I like to bring a few just in case I need it since the American version is also stronger.

 Shinkansen reserved tickets with Liz Lisa Champouf pass case
Because I do a lot of planning ahead, we usually know when we would ideally like to catch the shinkansen for the various days of the trip and try to reserve our seats on the same day that we exchange our JR Rail Pass voucher so we only need to stand in line once. I keep the tickets in the inside zipper pocket of my purse until we're about to catch the train. At that point, I usually slip the set of tickets for that shinkansen ride into my Champouf pass case so I can easily be reminded of the car and seat numbers and have them easily accessible if I need to show them to the train staff.

File folder, important papers/information and flat souvenir items
I keep a folder in my purse (another reason I like this specific purse is that a folder fits almost perfectly inside) so I can keep important papers/information safe. This includes print outs of the proposed trip schedule, directions to the Airbnb or hotel, emergency contact information, maps/diagrams, bus schedules etc. It's also really handy for keeping flat souvenirs in good shape such as stickers or purikura! Ofc much of the information we might have printed is accessible on/via the internet, but I like to have a printed copy in case something happens to my phone or wifi access. Having paper (and a pen) is also good in case you need to write or draw something to help you communicate.

Bag: TravelPro Crew 10, Expandable Spinner 25" suitcase
I wasn't sure if it was going to be helpful to include this since it's such a mischmash of items, but this bag is actually a really valuable piece when I travel, so I do think its worth mentioning. These are all the items I was able to fit into my one check-in suitcase. Thankfully, everything arrived safely and I didn't have any trouble with airport personnel.

Here are a few close-ups from the hodge podge of items
It ended up being a lot of snacks and omiyage-type things, but I also got pretty much all of my (dirty) laundry (wrapped separately ofc and piled messily in the back) and my Liz Lisa purchases in there as well. With all of these items, I was pretty close to the 50lb limit and didn't need to use the expanding zipper. Sorry the color is a bit off for these pictures. I didn't completely unpack this suitcase until close to 20:00 and needed to start distributing the items ASAP so couldn't have it wait for better natural lighting.

This is the final post in my Japan trip Winter 2017 series! I hope it contained useful information or at least entertained a bit. It was a really good trip for me, and I'm glad we were able to have a few new experiences.
I'm always looking for ways to improve these kinds of posts, so please let me know your feedback or suggestions for what to write about in the future!

Japan trip Winter 2017
    Part 1: Arrival and Day 1 - Tokyo errands, Ebony/Liz Lisa & Shiodome Caretta Illumination
    Part 2: Day 2 - Yokohama NOAH Inner City Zoo, Knot, Chinatown & Machida 109
    Part 3: Day 3 - Nagano Jigokudani Snow Monkey Park & Omiya
    Part 4: Day 4 - Tokyo shopping, Imperial Palace & dinner with Yuni
    Part 5: Day 5 - Shizuoka Izu Cactus Park (Capybara onsen!) & Mount Omuro
    Part 6: Day 6 - Last minute shopping, Ameyoko & Harajuku
    Part 7: Liz Lisa & Other shopping purchases/coordinates
    Part 8: Travel Notes - Airbnb, Pupuru pocket wifi & weather
    Part 9: What's in my bag - Japan trip edition

Japan trip Spring 2016 posts
Japan trip Autumn 2015 posts
Japan trip Summer 2015 posts
Japan trip Spring 2015 posts
Japan trip Summer 2014 posts


  1. I really want to do a completely undignified sliding dive into that glorious sea of kitkats! Again, this was oddly satisfying for me to look at because it's organizational heaven! And all of your various bags and vessels are so adorable!

    1. Lol it sometimes takes forever to try and do these dang flat lays but when it works out, I'm really happy with the result! (And when it doesn't, I just have to deal with it and move on lol.)

  2. Lovely post~! I was wondering if you would make a post about how to get around in Tokyo/Japan? I'm traveling there for the first time in a few months, and I'm quite confused about how it works with public transportation. Also, the pocket wifi unit you mentioned, how did you get that? And lastly, do you have any recommendations for hotels, or do you prefer airbnb?

    1. Please consider checking out some of my past Japan trip posts including ones earlier in this series!
      I talk about getting around, accommodations and pocket wifi and their pros/cons in the different situations based on my experience at those times.
      I would be willing to go into those details further if requested but don't want to be redundant with every single trip (since I function basically the same way during each one).
      Hope this is useful!

  3. I'm always amazed by how much snacks you bring back from japan lol. Actually I found this post pretty useful as well. ^^

  4. I always enjoy your travel posts! out of curiosity, do you have any tips in regards to their airport/good airlines?

    1. I've always flown Hawaiian Airlines to/from Japan but that may not be the best airline for you if you are not located in Hawaii.
      In terms of airport, my favorite so far has been Haneda, but I've also had reasonably good experiences at Kansai (KIX) and Chitose (CTS) for different reasons. Hawaiian only recently started flying into Narita so I haven't flown in/out of there yet.