What to Wear in Japan

Exploring Tokyo in March

Exploring Tokyo in March

Tokyo cherry blossom, March

Tokyo cherry blossom, March

Tokyo in the Spring

Tokyo in the Spring

Beautiful Spring cherry blossoms

Beautiful Spring cherry blossoms

Tokyo fish market, March

Tokyo fish market, March

Kyoto in Spring

Kyoto in Spring

Tokyo in April

Tokyo in April

Visiting a Buddhist Temple, Kyoto, in April

Visiting a Buddhist Temple, Kyoto, in April

Tokyo shopping in June

Tokyo shopping in June

Iriomote Island, Okinawa, in September

Iriomote Island, Okinawa, in September

Shibuya Station Intersection, Tokyo

Shibuya Station Intersection, Tokyo

Hotter Shoes women's summer collection

 

General Style Tips

  • The Japanese dress as Westerners do and are quite conservative on the whole, but the youngsters are very daring and you'll see some mad outfits in Tokyo.
  • Shorts are fine, jeans, even camisoles etc.
  • But jeans are not generally popular with local men or women beyond their 20's, so for jean lovers we suggest packing black jeans as an alternative to blue denim.
  • The biggest thing to remember for Japan is to make sure your clothes are not tatty looking.
  • Holes in socks are a big no-no, because you spend lots of time without shoes on - visiting temples, shrines and traditional restaurants etc.
  • Dress in layers because the indoor temperature will be very much warmer than outside - a jumper or pashmina works well as it's easy to slip around you if you feel cold.
  • Communal bathing in hot springs (onsens) is a traditional pastime. But apart from in a few mixed-gender baths, you won't need a swimsuit as they are explicitly forbidden (for hygiene reasons).
  • As the Japanese are very petite, finding clothes to fit in the popular stores can be difficult - so take everything you will need with you.
  • Japan is famous for its futuristic toilets, with an array of remote controls that dispense jets of water and blasts of hot air. Public conveniences are always spotlessly clean and there will be hand-washing facilities, however towels or hand-driers are rarely provided - so carry some tissues or a microfibre travel towel with you. Also note you'll need to remove your shoes and put on plastic 'bathroom slippers' which are provided outside the door.
  • In Japan tattoos are associated with the mafia, and are banned in many places - even a tiny mark may mean you are refused entry. So if you have any, keep them covered with clothing, plasters or special concealer products.

What Shoes To Pack

  • Pack comfortable shoes for walking that can be slipped off easily when you need to (visiting temples etc). We can't emphasise enough the need for really comfortable well broken-in walking shoes (try Hotter shoes, we love their styles and they are just so comfy).
  • Women here favour high heels, however with all the walking we would recommend saving yours for an evening out rather than a day sightseeing. We love the Lindsay Phillips Switch Flops range - using interchangeable shoe and flip-flop bases with snap-on decorations, you can change your look from day to evening in an instant whilst still packing light.

Clothing Tips for Women

  • You don't need dresses or skirts unless you feel more comfortable in them.
  • If you are travelling to Japan on business then a formal, conservative trouser or knee-length skirt-suit worn with tights in dark colours works well, but do avoid an all-black look - this is associated with funerals. Also avoid revealing or sleeveless blouses.
  • Japanese women generally do not wear nail varnish.

Clothing Tips for Men

  • Men don't need a jacket or tie unless that is how you prefer to dress.
  • For men on business pack dark coloured suits with a blue or white shirt. Other colours are worn, but blue and white are considered the most acceptable. Avoid wearing a black tie as it is associated with funerals. It's also advisable for men to be clean shaven - stubble is generally frowned upon.

Pack for the Weather

  • If travelling in the winter (December, January and February) take an overcoat, gloves, scarf and ear muffs. You won't see many Japanese wearing ear muffs but you'll be glad you packed them.
  • Spring (March, April and May) is a great time to be in Japan but the weather can be variable so for March/April we would suggest packing gloves, scarf and a waterproof jacket. Buy an umbrella when you get there.
  • Summer (June, July, August) gets very hot and humid, so lightweight natural fabrics such as linen will work best. Make sure you wear sunscreen (we love the Riemann P20 range for 10 hour protection), a sunhat (or carry an umbrella), and take plenty of water with you when sightseeing (a Go! Filtered Water Bottle is handy).
  • It's worth knowing that it rains more in June, so a lightweight raincoat would be worth packing (but save space in your case and buy an umbrella when you get there - you will have plenty of choose from).
  • We love the Weather+ app - it gives an accurate 6 day forecast for day and night, which when you're planning from home is really helpful. You can keep all the places you've been to too - a nice way to remember your trip :) Download for iPad/iPhone or Android

Regions of Japan

  • In Tokyo, black and grey are very popular but outside the capital you will see a far greater choice of colours being worn.
  • If your itinerary includes Kyoto you'll find a more colourful feel to dress than there is in Tokyo - perhaps because it is a popular tourist destination and people are dressed for holidays rather than work.
  • Trips to climb Mount Fuji are available, but the full ascent can take 6-11 hours so you do need to be fit. Make sure you have sturdy footwear and carry a light backpack with drinks, snacks and warm layers. Climbing overnight is popular, so you can see the sun rise from the top.
  • Do pack swimwear (opt for a one-piece rather than a bikini) if you're heading for the pacific island resorts where the beaches rival those of the Caribbean.

Other Things To Pack

  • Note that some common medical nasal sprays, which are fine elsewhere, are illegal in Japan. Check your brand if you use one.
  • Surprisingly, Tokyo doesn't have free WiFi in cafes or malls etc, so you may want to take a portable Wifi device. We recommend the SkyRoam Solis because it works in over 100 countries and allows you to share WiFi with up to 5 devices. This means all of your devices can stay connected, or that you can easily share WiFi with all of your travelling companions (saving you $$$). It also comes with a built-in power pack, allowing you to charge your devices on the go. 
  • Aside from the younger generation in Tokyo, few people speak English - however everyone is extremely helpful if you look lost or confused. Add a translation app to your smartphone before you go, and learning just a few simple words of Japanese (hello, thank you etc) will be hugely appreciated.
  • And take a comfy shoulder bag or backpack to carry your daily sightseeing essentials.
  • Avoid paying unexpected baggage fees by using an accurate luggage scale to ensure you keep within the weight allowance. Don't forget to leave room for souvenirs you have picked up on your travels. Look for Japanese pottery and porcelain, and if you love stationery you'll be spoilt for choice.
  • To use electrical gadgets you may need a travel adapter plug, and be aware of the voltage (100V) if this is different from your home country.
  • Japanese etiquette is a minefield, although they are tolerant and forgiving of tourists. Carry business cards, if you have them, and hand them (with both hands) to everyone you meet; be overtly admiring of the ones you are given.

Last updated 07 May 2019.

Get a Full Packing List for Japan

Our Members can download a suggested packing list for Japan which covers ladies' and men's clothes for all seasons, plus a checklist for must-take items. Sign up or log in below.

Join us here - it's free!

*
*
 
*
 
(min. 6 characters) *
*
*
 
Privacy Policy
Tracey in USA
joined 1 hour ago

Or Members log in here

*
*

Or

Tracey in USA
joined 1 hour ago
Hotter Shoes women's summer 
collection

Pack Right

  • Less baggage to carry
  • Save money on baggage fees
  • Respect local cultures

Advice You Can Trust

Japanese dress very chic, so tourists need to dress smart, if they don't want to look dull. Your outfits do not have to be new, just well pressed, well coordinated and confidently presented. Also having a portable WiFi card is a MUST. In spite of being one of the most sophisticated cities on earth, Tokyo does NOT have free WiFi in most obvious places like cafes or malls.

- Radhika, India



Hotter Shoes women's summer 
collection