12 Essential Winter Items to buy in Japan Directly
Singapore’s all-year Summer season leaves us with no experience in surviving natural snow and winter climate. As such, Singaporeans on their first trip to winter countries typically feels excited (about witnessing the snow ? ☃) and yet nervous at the same time. In fact, I was so anxious to equip myself against the cold climate that my luggage for my first winter trip was overweight and over-packed! ? Now, having experienced a few winter holidays in Japan, I am happy to share with you a list of items,which are better off buying them in Japan itself for a warm and comfortable winter vacation!
1) Inner Thermal Wear
Thin Thermal Wear
Thin thermal wears are popular as they are thin and feel comfortable. While we can get them from Uniqlo in Singapore, I personally prefer to buy them in Japan as I can find pretty ones with nice colours and designs, different sleeve lengths from departmental lingerie shops such as Triumph and Wacoal, as well as other lingerie shops along shopping streets.
HEATTECH – an inner thermal wear series from Uniqlo.
Triumph’s thermal wear with hot spring water treatment from Niigata Tsukioka Onsen for great moisture retention and hygroscopic heat buildup, as well as a moisturizing and smooth texture in nice burgundy.
Wacoal’s warmest cotton series 1/2 sleeve thermal wear that is blended with acrylic and cotton yarn in warm pink. Made in Japan.
Ultra-Thin Thermal Wear
Ultra-thin thermal wears such as “Powdery Inner” produced by S.Mile and manufactured in Shikoku, Japan is my all-time favourite thermal wear. Because of its very thin and light material at 0.25mm and weighing only 45 grams, I sometimes even wear them during cold spring and autumn. During warm winter, you can wear it on its own or pair it up with thicker thermal wear when temperature drops. The thin material also allow you to wash them frequently as they dry fast. Available in 4 colours, I would recommend the nude colour so that it doesn’t show under light coloured clothing. Powdery Inner can either be purchased online from Rakuten or Amazon or alternatively from PLAZA. The one shown below is from PLAZA Outlet at Karuizawa Prince Shopping Plaza at approximately SGD12. The usual pricing should be somewhere between SGD 16-18. PLAZA store listing: https://www.plazastyle.com/store/ .
2) Winter Leggings
Do not mistaken thermal wear leggings with winter leggings. Thermal wear leggings are inner wear (like an pile-on layer to your lingerie), which you do not expose to others. Winter leggings are outer winter wear and as such, come in various designs and materials. Sometimes, I will wear an Ultra-Thin thermal leggings underneath my Winter leggings for additional warmth and protection from the harsh Winter winds. ? Till date, my favourite leggings is the “Magic Pile Tights” by Train Corporation. It is so warm that I can just wear it on it’s own without any thermal leggings! They are also found in PLAZA. PLAZA store listing: https://www.plazastyle.com/store/ .
3) Jeans / Skiing Pants
Besides winter leggings, jeans and skiing pants are also great bottom wears that can protect you from the winter cold. I personally prefer wearing jeans or leggings, which look better and more stylish than skiing pants though skiing pants are waterproof. ? Your ultra-thin thermal bottoms come to great use as you can wear it underneath your skinny jeans! (Winter leggings would be too thick and uncomfortable.) If you travel frequently during winter, you might want to invest in a pair of winter jeans from Levi’s. Levi’s carries a range for performance warm jeans that are woven with Thermolite® technology fibers, to lock in body heat, promote insulation and keep the legs warm. Do note that this range of jeans would however be too warm for Singapore climate. Levi’s Japan website: Levi’s performance warm jeans.
4) Winter Fashion – Winter Jacket / Winter Scarf / Winter Cap
Go stylish with winter shopping in Japan and immerse in their feminine, creative, adventurous dressing style!
I would recommend you to visit outlets during winter as they sell off-season clothing from summer, or autumn, which are suitable for Singapore weather. Typically, it is more expensive to buy winter jackets in non-winter countries back home. I have a personal preference for buying winter jackets in Japan as they come in much greater varieties and more feminine designs that go well with dresses and are at similar or lower pricing that those in Singapore. You may like to buy winter jacket with detachable inner so that you can continue to wear the thinner layer during Spring or Autumn. If you have sufficient baggage allowance, I would highly recommend you to bring at least 2 sets of winter jackets as winter jacket tend to smell and get soiled after 2-3 days, especially if you visit BBQ or ramen restaurants. ?
Pink winter jacket from L’est Rose in Tokyo at SGD40 during a sale.
Photo taken at Kawazu-Zakura Cherry Blossom Festival.
White winter jacket from Sapporo, Hokkaido at approximately SGD20 during a super sale.
Photo taken outside JR Karuizawa Train Station during heavy snow!
Khaki winter jacket with detachable thick inner from Sapporo, Hokkaido at approximately SGD90.
Photo taken at Itsukushima Shrine at Miyajima, Hiroshima.
The same jacket is worn without the thick inner during autumn.
Photo taken at Kawaguchiko Autumn Leaves Festival.
Winter scarf is also a fun part of a winter outfit and wearing bold and colourful ones could accessorize and brighten up your overall look. This Youtube video will show you different ways to tie your winter scarf.
5) Hand Gloves with Hidden Fingers Cut-out
Wearing gloves during winter always becomes a dreadful experience when you want to swipe your phone or take photos because you have to remove your gloves and expose your unprotected hands to the harsh wind and snow! ? As such, I was thrilled to find this set of hand gloves with hidden fingers cut-out from An-Zu, located along Pole Town in Sapporo. Though it cost a bit more at around SGD20, it remains as one of my best buys! Now my hands can start protected all day long outdoor! ? As such, I highly recommend you to keep a look out for such gloves while shopping. ☺️
6) Disposable Kawaii Face Mask
Wearing face mask can help to keep your nose area warm and reduce the probability of catching a cold, and it has become an important part of my winter outfit. You can easily get nice printed face masks from convenience stores, fashion boutiques or even Donki Quote!
7) Heat Pads
I usually stick mini heat pads in my pockets for some hidden warmth while walking in the snow. As heat pads are conveniently available in Diaso, convenience stores and pharmacies, and lower-priced than in Singapore (Diaso sells at 100 yen – approximately SGD1.30), I prefer to buy them in Japan than lugging from Singapore.
8) Winter Socks
Temperature differences between indoor and outdoor during winter trigger excessive sweating and as such, it is recommended to change your socks regularly. Instead of buying boring designs from Singapore, I would highly recommended you to get them from Japan directly. Massive beautiful designs can be found in Tabio, an established Japanese manufacturer and retailer of socks. Because of its high quality, Tabio socks are priced higher than other competitor brands, starting from 800yen – approximately SGD10 a pair. I personally prefer buying from tutu anna, though made in China, has good quality and variety of feminine winter socks, typically priced at 3 for 1000 yen (approximately SGD4.50 per pair).
9) Non-Slip Cleats
Walking on slippery snowy grounds can be a terrifying experience especially if you are on grounds of icy snow, which have yet to melt. Unless you are already wearing winter boots, it is recommended that you buy winter non-slip cleats that are available at convenience stores or any shoe shops. These shoe guards can be easily fitted over existing footwear with no buckles or straps and its non-slip studs offers traction on ice and snow. Now, you can walk in peace! ?
10) Shiseido Water In Lip Moisturizer and Kose Sekkisui Facial Masks
Lack of humidity in winter climate tends to cause chapped lips and the savior to this uncomfortable situation would be applying lip moisturizer or lip balm. One of my favorite buys from Japan Pharmacies is Shiseido Water in Lip Moisturizer that are not available in Singapore. This line of products under Shiseido Brand are very hydrating, with SPF18 and so affordable at only 350yen (SGD4.50). They also make great gifts for friends and family.
Shiseido Water In Lip Pure Skin Lip Moisturiser
Shiseido Water In Lip Medicated UV Lip Moisturiser
Regardless your skin type and complexion, you will tend to experience dryness, or even more oily skin (because it is too dry) during winter. I will definitely try to hunt down the Kose Sekkisui skincare series exclusively available in 7-11 stores countrywide. The winter limited-edition masks soaked with 30ml of Kose Sekkisui lotion are highly raved upon and 1 piece is enough to restore a well-moisturized complexion for at least the next 2-3 days.
11) Waterproof Spray
I used to restrict myself to carrying only non-leather bags during winter until I was introduced to this little saviour in Japan. Tada! A waterproof spray!!! ? Now, with this spray, I can comfortably carry leather products as long as they are coated with a protective layer from this mighty can, and need not worry about them getting wet from the snow. I soon found out that almost every shoe shop in Japan carries different brands of waterproof spray. Do remember to spray them on your shoes and bags, and you can continue using them during rainy days in Singapore! ? 1 can cost around SGD11.
12) TIGER Thermal Flask
It’s strange but somehow, most F&B establishments continue serving complimentary icy cold water during winter! ? Nevertheless, I have my TIGER thermal Flask to provide me with warm water at all times! ? It is cheaper to buy TIGER thermal flasks in Japan than in Singapore and I managed to find a compact 200ml one from Don Quijote at 20% discount which can easily fit into all bags! ?
Photo taken at Asahiyama Zoo, Asahikawa Hokkaido at -10 degrees.
4 thoughts on “12 Essential Winter Items to buy in Japan Directly”
Hi, I’ll be going to Hokkaido in early Dec 2018. Will I be able to buy snow boots at the Uniqlo shop at Chitose airport? Is it cheap there? Do they open early?
Hi, the Uniqlo shop at Chitose airport opens at 8am. However, I don’t recall them selling boots. If you have time, perhaps you want to consider going to Rera Chitose Outlet Mall, which is just 10 minutes away and accessible via a free airport shuttle bus. One of my favourite outlets with plenty of shops selling snow boots. Refer to more details: http://www.outlet-rera.com/english/#sec01
Hi, I am still a tad confused about the snow boots and the non slip cleats. Hope you can enlighten me. My first time travelling in winter and am going to Hokkaido. If I wear a pair of snow boots, do I still need the cleats? If I plan to get snow boots in Hokkaido, and I just wear a pair of normal sports shoes and with the cleats, do you think it is safe till I get from New Chitose to the outlet? I am renting a car so I would be out of the airport and into the snow.
Hihi! Sorry for the delayed response! If you are already wearing snow boots, you should be quite safe! Based on my previous experiences with winter footwear, i think the difference to the slippery level depends on the sole itself and the ground you are on. If it is just wet road (floor), normal sports shoes is fine with cleats. I have survived walking on those grounds with adidas stan smith. However, if you are walking on snow ground or those icy grounds/frosting snow, that’s when it is safer to wear proper winter shoes. I have tried Timberlands – warm and safe but heavy and not waterproof. So you need to dry them really well otherwise they will turn mouldy. I have also tried UGG boots – those soles are a killer and i almost slipped so many times.
Best choice would be probably something similiar to Hunter rubber winter boots. I loaned a pair during a winter mountaineous hike and they are light, safe and classy on photos. Hope this helps!