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What clothing is inappropriate for Japan?


Japan is a country with a rich culture and traditions that are very different from Western countries. One of the most important aspects of Japanese culture is etiquette, which includes the way people dress. While Japanese fashion has become more globalized in recent years, there are still some clothing items that are considered inappropriate in Japan.

Cultural Differences

Japan has a unique culture that values modesty, respect, and conformity. This is reflected in the way people dress, as clothing is seen as a way to show respect to others and maintain social harmony. Western clothing styles that are too revealing or flashy may be seen as disrespectful or attention-seeking.

Japanese Snack Box


In Japan, tattoos have a cultural association with the yakuza (Japanese mafia) and are often associated with criminal activity. As a result, many public places such as onsens (hot springs), gyms, and swimming pools prohibit people with visible tattoos from entering. If you do have tattoos, it’s best to cover them up while in public.


In Japan, low-cut tops or dresses that show too much cleavage may be seen as inappropriate or suggestive. It’s best to err on the side of caution and choose tops that cover your chest.

Short Shorts

While shorts are acceptable in Japan during the summer months, short shorts that expose too much skin may be seen as inappropriate. It’s best to choose shorts that fall at least mid-thigh or longer.

Mini Skirts

Like short shorts, mini skirts that expose too much skin may be seen as inappropriate in Japan. It’s best to choose skirts that fall at least mid-thigh or longer.

Flip Flops

While flip flops are popular in many Western countries, they may be seen as too casual for certain situations in Japan. It’s best to choose closed-toe shoes or sandals with a back strap for more formal occasions.

Visible Underwear

Visible underwear is considered inappropriate in Japan, whether it’s a bra strap or boxer shorts. It’s best to choose clothing that covers your undergarments.

Loud Prints

Japanese fashion tends to be more subdued, so clothing with loud prints or logos may be seen as too flashy or attention-seeking. It’s best to choose clothing with neutral colors and simple patterns.

Offensive Graphics

Clothing with offensive graphics or slogans may be seen as disrespectful or inappropriate in Japan. It’s best to avoid wearing anything that could be considered offensive or rude.

Religious Symbols

While Japan is a tolerant country, wearing religious symbols such as crosses or hijabs may attract unwanted attention. It’s best to avoid wearing any clothing with overt religious symbolism.


While it’s acceptable to wear bikinis on the beach, they may be seen as inappropriate in other public places such as parks or pools. It’s best to cover up with a cover-up or shirt while not swimming.


Overall, it’s important to be respectful of Japanese culture and traditions when choosing clothing to wear in public. While there is some leeway for personal expression, it’s best to err on the side of modesty and simplicity when in doubt. By following these guidelines, you can ensure a comfortable and respectful experience while in Japan.

How strict are Japanese dress codes?

Typical attire for men includes a shirt with a casual blazer or jacket, and trousers, without a need for a tie. Opt for muted colors like black, white, navy, or beige, and subtle patterns like stripes or dots. Women usually wear a shirt with a cardigan or jacket, paired with a knee-length skirt or trousers.

Is it safe to wear a skirt in Japan?

The Japanese business culture values blending in, which is reflected in their dress code. Business attire for men includes dark colors, a neutral shirt, and tie. Women may wear skirts, but they should not be too short or tight, and low heels are preferred for footwear.

What is seen as disrespectful in Japan?

In Japan, it is considered impolite to point at individuals or objects. Instead, they use a gentle hand wave to indicate what they are referring to. When referring to themselves, the Japanese touch their nose with their forefinger instead of pointing directly at themselves. This cultural norm has been in place for a long time.

Is it inappropriate to wear shorts in Japan?

Wearing shorts in Japan is perfectly acceptable. Although it may not be as popular among Japanese men, particularly on workdays, there are no restrictions against wearing shorts. Additionally, many tourists wear shorts during the summer season.

Is it OK to wear crop tops in Japan?

When it comes to crop tops, it’s up to your discretion. In Japan, women are expected to be modest with their cleavage and even a small amount of exposure may not be considered appropriate. If your crop top has a low cut or can expose your bra, it’s recommended to avoid wearing it while in Japan.

Can Japanese girls wear pants to school?

Traditionally, Japanese school uniforms have been separated by gender, with boys wearing pants and girls wearing skirts. However, beginning in April 2019, public junior high schools in Tokyo’s Nakano Ward started allowing students to choose their uniforms regardless of their gender.

Business Attire

When it comes to business attire in Japan, conservative clothing is the norm. Men are expected to wear dark suits and ties, while women are expected to wear conservative dresses or suits with closed-toe shoes. Avoid bright colors or flashy accessories, as they may be seen as unprofessional.

Seasonal Clothing

Japan has distinct seasons, and the type of clothing you wear will depend on the time of year. During the summer months, lightweight fabrics such as cotton and linen are preferred, while in the winter, heavier fabrics such as wool are more appropriate. It’s best to check the weather forecast before packing for your trip to ensure that you have the appropriate clothing.

Cultural Festivals

If you plan on attending a cultural festival in Japan, it’s important to dress appropriately. Many festivals involve traditional dress or costumes, so it’s best to inquire beforehand if there are any expectations for clothing. If in doubt, wearing comfortable clothing and shoes is always a safe choice.


In Japan, it’s customary to remove your shoes before entering someone’s home or certain public places such as temples or traditional restaurants. It’s important to wear shoes that are easy to slip on and off, such as loafers or sandals. Socks should be worn with sandals to avoid showing bare feet.


While there are no strict rules about hairstyles in Japan, long hair for men may be seen as unconventional. Women are expected to keep their hair neat and tidy, with natural colors preferred over bright or unnatural colors. Avoid hairstyles that are too flashy or attention-seeking.


Japanese fashion tends to favor simplicity over excess when it comes to accessories. Small earrings or simple necklaces are preferred over large statement pieces. It’s best to avoid accessories with loud or flashy designs, as they may be seen as too attention-seeking.

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