What To Wear In Japan
To sum it up - Smart casual
- 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 strappy vests etc.
- Jeans are not generally popular with men or women beyond their 20's, so for jean lovers we suggest packing black jeans as an alternative to blue denim.
- In Tokyo, black and grey are very popular but outside the capital you will see a far greater choice of colours being worn.
- Women favour high heels, however with all the walking we would recommend saving yours for an evening out rather than a day sightseeing.
- 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.
- Men don't need a jacket or tie unless that is how they dress at home.
- Women don't need dresses or skirts unless they are more comfortable in them.
- The only 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.
- Pack comfortable shoes for walking that can be slipped off easily when visiting religious sites or traditional restaurants. We can't emphasise enough the need for really comfortable well broken in walking shoes.
- And take a comfy shoulder bag or day sack to carry your sightseeing essentials.
- If travelling in the winter (December, January and February) take an overcoat, gloves, warm 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.
- Dress in layers because the indoor temperature will be very much warmer than outside - a wrap or shawl works well as it's easy to slip around you if you feel cold.
- Summer (June, July, August) gets very humid and lightweight natural fabrics such as linen will work best.
- 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 – there is plenty of choice).
- For women, 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.
- 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.
- Keep your electrical gadgets (camera, iPad etc) fully charged using a solar powered charger. This one gadget will charge most devices anywhere at any time, and it also cuts down on the number of leads and adaptors you need to pack.
- If you would like to give something back on your holiday, the local community projects are very grateful for new materials. See the Pack for a Purpose website for ideas of things you could take.
- For more pictures and ideas, see our Pinterest board: What to Wear in Japan.
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We went in late March and your advice was spot on - even the ear muffs were greatly appreciated. We wore everything we took and felt very proud of the small amount of luggage we had compared to others and we never ran out of anything. You were so right about comfortable walking shoes at the end of each day our feet throbbed. Smarter shoes at night were a great tip. I would reinforce what you say about people dressing very smartly even our teenage son smartened up his look when we there! Thanks for the help. - Steve, Windsor