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Is there a dress code in Japan?


Japan is a country with a unique culture that values tradition, respect, and discipline. When it comes to dressing up, Japanese people have a high sense of aesthetics and pay great attention to details. However, many people wonder if there is a specific dress code in Japan that one should follow. In this article, we will explore the dress code in Japan, what is considered appropriate and inappropriate attire, and how to dress appropriately for different occasions.

History of Japanese Fashion

Japanese fashion has a rich history that dates back to the ancient times. Traditional Japanese clothing includes kimonos, yukatas, and hakamas which are still worn for special occasions. However, after World War II, Western fashion started to influence Japanese fashion trends. Today, Japanese fashion is a fusion of traditional and modern styles that are unique and fashionable.

Japanese Snack Box

Casual Dress Code

The casual dress code in Japan is quite relaxed compared to other countries. People can wear jeans, t-shirts, and sneakers without being judged. However, it is important to note that revealing or offensive clothing is not acceptable in public places. Also, some restaurants and establishments may have their own dress codes that customers should follow.

Business Attire

Japan has a strict business culture where appearance plays a significant role. Men are expected to wear suits with ties in conservative colors like black, navy blue or grey. Women are expected to wear suits or dresses with modest hemlines and no cleavage. Accessories should be minimal and shoes should be closed-toe and polished.

Ceremonial Dress Code

Ceremonial dress codes are still observed in Japan especially during traditional events such as weddings, tea ceremonies or funerals. Men wear kimonos or suits while women wear kimonos or dresses called furisode which have long flowing sleeves.

Seasonal Dressing

Japan experiences four distinct seasons which affect the way people dress. During summer, lightweight clothing made of cotton or linen is preferred while during winter, thick coats, boots and warm accessories are necessary. Spring and autumn call for layering of clothing to adjust to the varying temperatures.

Casual vs Formal

In Japan, there is a clear distinction between casual and formal attire. Casual attire is worn for daily activities while formal attire is worn for special occasions or business meetings. It is important to understand the difference between the two to avoid committing any social faux pas.


Tattoos are still taboo in Japan as they are associated with Yakuza or organized crime groups. Many public places like onsens (hot springs), swimming pools, gyms and even some restaurants prohibit entry for people with visible tattoos. Therefore it’s advisable to cover up tattoos when visiting such places.

Footwear Etiquette

In Japan, shoes are considered dirty since they touch the ground outside and should not be worn indoors. Therefore it’s common practice to remove shoes before entering homes, temples, restaurants or any other indoor spaces. Some places provide slippers or sandals for indoor use.

Accessories and Jewelry

Accessories and jewelry should be minimal when dressing in Japan especially for formal occasions or business meetings. Dangling earrings or flashy necklaces can be distracting while too many bracelets or rings can be noisy and unprofessional.

Color Coordination

Japanese people pay great attention to color coordination when dressing up especially for formal occasions. Conservative colors like black, navy blue or grey are preferred as they symbolize seriousness and professionalism while bright colors like red or yellow might be viewed as too flamboyant.


Japan has a unique dress code that reflects its culture and traditions. While casual attire is acceptable in certain situations, it’s important to understand the difference between casual and formal dressing to avoid committing any social faux pas. When visiting Japan, it’s advisable to dress conservatively especially for business meetings or formal events. By following these guidelines one can blend in seamlessly with the locals while enjoying all that Japan has to offer!

Does Japan have dress codes?

Japan, being a predominantly conservative society, has unique cultural norms that may differ from Western countries, particularly in terms of clothing. To avoid causing offense and to be appropriately dressed for important occasions, it is important to understand and follow Japanese dress code guidelines. Read on to learn practical tips for dressing appropriately in different situations.

Is there a dress code in Tokyo?

Despite some changes over time, Japan remains a culturally conservative country. While most establishments welcome all visitors, it is generally frowned upon to wear revealing clothing. While there is no official dress code for a night out in Tokyo, it is best to err on the side of modesty.

Are jeans allowed in Japan?

For spring, it’s best to have bottoms like shorts and dressy skirts, but make sure they are tasteful to avoid feeling inappropriate when visiting religious places. On colder days, jeans or cropped pants can be worn. It’s important to remember that the Japanese style is modern yet conventional, so avoid wearing ripped jeans.

Can I wear whatever I want in Japan?

While visiting Japan, you have the freedom to wear whatever you want, but it is important to respect the culture by being mindful of what you are wearing. It is important to cover certain areas of the body and avoid wearing clothes that may offend locals at certain times.

What not to wear in Japan as a tourist?

Maintaining cultural customs and norms requires dressing modestly, which means avoiding clothing like tank tops, shorts, and mini-skirts. Opting for more conservative clothing is recommended, even if you don’t plan to visit religious sites. Additionally, it’s considered inappropriate for women to wear revealing clothing that displays cleavage.

Is it OK to wear crop tops in Japan?

When it comes to wearing crop tops in Japan, it’s important to be cautious. The cultural norm for women is to dress conservatively when it comes to showing cleavage, even a small amount. Therefore, it’s recommended to avoid wearing low-cut crop tops or ones that may reveal your bra. It’s better to leave these types of tops at home.

Fashion Trends in Japan

In addition to traditional and formal dressing, Japan is also known for its unique and avant-garde fashion trends. The Harajuku district in Tokyo is famous for its street fashion where young people experiment with bold colors, patterns, and styles. The Lolita fashion trend, which originated in Japan, features Victorian-style dresses, petticoats, and accessories like bows and lace. Another popular trend is the cosplay culture where people dress up as their favorite anime or manga characters.

Dress Code for Tourists

Tourists visiting Japan are not expected to follow the strict dress code that locals adhere to. However, it’s still important to dress appropriately when visiting certain places like temples or shrines. Revealing clothing or beachwear is not appropriate in such places. It’s also important to remove shoes before entering indoor spaces that require it.

Japanese Fashion Designers

Japan has produced several world-renowned fashion designers who have made a significant impact on the industry. Yohji Yamamoto, Kenzo Takada, and Issey Miyake are among some of the most celebrated Japanese designers who have gained international recognition for their unique designs and techniques. Their collections often feature a fusion of traditional Japanese elements with modern styles and fabrics.

Fashion Industry in Japan

The fashion industry in Japan is a multi-billion dollar industry that includes both domestic and international brands. From high-end luxury brands to fast-fashion retailers, Japan has a diverse range of options for consumers. Tokyo Fashion Week is a bi-annual event that showcases the latest collections from Japanese designers and attracts buyers and media from all over the world.

Cultural Significance of Dressing Up

In Japan, dressing up is not just about looking good but also reflects one’s respect for tradition and culture. Many traditional events like tea ceremonies or festivals require participants to dress up in specific attire to show their appreciation for the customs and rituals. Dressing up in formal attire for business meetings also shows respect for the other party and reflects one’s professionalism.


From traditional kimonos to avant-garde street fashion, Japan has a diverse and unique fashion culture that reflects its rich history and traditions. While there are specific dress codes for different occasions, it’s important to understand the cultural significance behind dressing up in Japan. Whether you’re a tourist or a local, dressing appropriately and respecting local customs can go a long way in creating positive experiences and building relationships.

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