Slobodanka Graham


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Tokyo light travel: my summer packing list

Tokyo light travel: my summer packing list

Packing for Tokyo travel

I recently spent four wonderful days in Tokyo, which is an exciting, dynamic, young and vibrant megacity. When I recently surveyed and asked you, my Planepack readers, what you'd like to know more of, many of you indicated you'd like fashion advice and packing lists. So here they are: my Tokyo packing list and what I wore. I hope you find this useful.

I spent 10 days in Japan with a light wardrobe. You can do it too!

Tokyo is hot and humid in summer. When we were there in early July, the temperature ranged between 27 and 30 degrees, with fairly high humidity - I drank a lot of water! We walked an average of 12 kilometres every day, so I was grateful for my comfortable walking shoes and light clothes.

As a Planepacker and light traveller, I pack a minimal, compact wardrobe. Remember, I need to fit all my possessions into my single carry on bag. The weight of this bag should not exceed 7 kgs if I want to take it on board the plane.

One carry on bag only

Travelling with one light, carry on bag makes sense: I got in and out of planes, trains and subways easily; my bag didn't take up much space in my small hotel room; it was easy to walk miles and miles through subway corridors and train stations with one small bag; my bag never got lost - and best of all - I spent no time at the airport baggage carousel waiting anxiously for my bag to arrive.

My wardrobe

My Tokyo wardrobe 

My Tokyo wardrobe 

My Planepack Tokyo packing list

  • Three short-sleeve t-shirts: a black, a grey and a red one. These were my foundation tops. This time I tried out my Tradlands t-shirts, which were great: good quality and cool cotton for the high humidity.
  • One pair of black cut-off pants that I wore almost every day.
  • One pair of long black pants, for evening wear
  • One black skirt or divided shorts, for day wear
  • Walking shoes (two pairs)
  • Sandals (I took my Birkenstocks, but never wore them. I would have liked walking sandals, but instead wore my walking shoes every day.)
  • Hat (although I swopped that in Tokyo for a parasol)
  • Three pairs of socks
  • Two bras: a black and a flesh-coloured one
  • Five pairs of black knickers
  • One long-sleeved grey t-shirt - for the plane
  • One blue splash jacket - for the plane and the cold Canberra departure and arrival
  • One pair of leggings - for the plane
  • One black evening tunic or t-shirt
  • One black evening wrap
  • One red silk scarf
  • One red parasol (bought in Japan)

And that was it! I rotated my t-shirts every day with my shorts and cut-off pants. In the evenings I 'dressed up' in my long black pants with my smarter t-shirt. Some evenings I wore my black evening tunic or wrap. I never felt underdressed - apart from tea at the Ritz-Carlton!


I found it easy and practical to wash clothes in the hotels' coin-operated laundromats. I didn't bother taking soap, washing lines, hangers or other laundry paraphernalia. 

Compact packing for travel

My clothes - together with my toiletry bag - fitted easily into my Samsonite Spinner, which I reviewed on its maiden voyage. When I left Canberra, my bag weighed in at fractionally over 7 kgs, which I thought was reasonable. We breezed through check-in everywhere. In previous years the airport staff were surprised that I travelled with carry on only; not any more.

I had packed my bathing costume and a sarong, which I could have left behind as we never swam anywhere. I had also packed a nightie and light dressing gown, but I could have left those behind as in every hotel we found a pair of cotton pyjamas on our bed, as well as a pair of disposable slippers - so comfy.

My colours: black, grey and a touch of red

My colours: black, grey and a touch of red

My colour palette

You might notice that my wardrobe consists mostly of black clothes, with a splash of red and grey. Limiting my colour palette to something that suits me makes it easy to mix and match my wardrobe - and I never have to think: I know that everything goes with everything else.

Over the years I've learnt to wear the colours that suit me best. I'm interested in style - and how we develop our own sense of style

For some time now, I've been thinking about style: what is it? Is it learnt or innate? Where does it come from? What about our fashion style? How does that influence the way we prepare and pack for light travel? My personal style is to usually only wear one or two colours at most - never more. So that makes my travel light packing very easy: one foundation colour (black) + one or two complementary colours (red or grey).

I hope as Planepack takes off into the travel internet, I'll be able to write more about colour styling: how to choose the colours that suit you best. Let me know if that's something that interests you. By exploring colour, style and palettes, I hope to provide more Planepack advice and services. Watch this space!

About the author

On the plane, flying to Tokyo, wearing my grey long-sleeved t-shirt - thank you Tradlands!

On the plane, flying to Tokyo, wearing my grey long-sleeved t-shirt - thank you Tradlands!

I'm Slobodanka Graham, light packer and traveller, blogger and content entrepreneur.

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10 Tokyo Travel Light Tips

10 Tokyo Travel Light Tips