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japan & menstruation

September 23, 2023

Is Japan a dream place to travel to when menstruating?

Japan has excellent public toilets and a wide range of products available in stores. This should not mean you can let your guard down if you are menstruating when visiting the Land of the Rising Sun.

Finding period products

Period products cannot usually be found in public toilets, but Japanese cities are full of convenience stores where you’ll find what you need, even at an ungodly hour. If you struggle to find what you need, you can ask the staff for “Siri Youhinn”, which means “period products”. It is common practice for the staff to wrap it in brown paper, as period culture in Japan remains on the taboo side!

Public toilets

Japan has the best public toilet system I have experienced in my travels. There is almost always every essentials needed, such as toilet paper, soap, bin and a functioning flush. At times, you might also find antibacterial products to disinfect the toilet seat! And all of this… for free. Japan’s extra care for hygiene means public toilets are free of charge, at all times and everywhere.

I found public toilets in every underground station of Tokyo, which is very handy when, after a full day visit, you want to enjoy a fun evening in Shinjuku but do not have the time to rush back to your hotel to change your pad, tampon or cup.

So, is Japan the best country for menstruating travellers? It’s definitely a yes for me, as I had my best menstruation travel experiences there. However, there are a few things to keep in mind if you have your period while visiting the island.

Vending machines

Although hygienic products are easy to find in convenience stores, I have never found any from vending machines. Surprising, coming from a country that hosts over 4 millions vending machines offering drinks, food and even eggs or underwear…!

Bringing long-term medications

Something worth mentioning is the restrictions regarding the import of prescription medications. If you need continuous medications you might need to apply for a “Yunyu Kakunin-sho”, a form allowing you to bring personal medicines into the country. This does not seem to apply to Ibuprofen or medications used for endometriosis, however it is a good habit to double check before flying into the country with pain relief medicines!

Visiting Onsens

Another point to be considered is the concerns around accessing onsens when menstruating. Bathing in an onsen is a no-miss in Japan, however it is worth noting that it is widely unaccepted to enter the baths during the menstrual cycle. This is due to a mix of taboo, hygiene with health concerns existing in Japan. Onsen’s baths can be very hot and could increase the risk of fainting and dizziness for people prone to dehydration and anaemia during their periods. If the health risk is not a concern for you, wearing a cup can easily solve the visibility problem, as well as risk factors attached to infections or leaks.

Share your experience!

Why not download our menstruation app and check the reviews in Japan? You can also share your valuable feedback on the app during your visit!

Laura Sieg

Laura is a full time traveller, writing and recording exciting stories around the world - when not climbing or surfing, you will find her holding a mic capturing sounds in natural and cultural spaces.

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