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appropriate attire

Taipei, Taiwan
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13 posts
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appropriate attire

will be in japan from beginning to mid-june. checked the weather pages, but just never can tell what it really is like!

just wanted to ask - is summer clothing okay to be wearing at this time? i'm thinking shorts (right above the knee) and tanks (just sleeveless, not spaghetti straps), but is that appropriate to wear? i have a friend in japan who keeps telling me it's not okay to wear sleeveless. i've read on the other threads that keens sandals are okay, but is that talking about walking sandals? or will it be okay to wear thong sandals?

thanks for your help in advance!

Tokyo, Japan
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1. Re: appropriate attire

At your hotel room you have freedom to wear anything. You can wear whatever you like; there aren't any laws prohibiting sleeveless and throng sandals. However, they won't be practical and do stand out in large cities in Japan among workers. They won't be considered appropriate if you dine at plush restaurants.

Edited: 05 May 2013, 07:39
London, England
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for Solo Travel
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2. Re: appropriate attire

When I was in Japan last summer, I saw young, slim, Japanese women wearing shorts everywhere, even in Tokyo, but they wore loose tops that covered their shoulders and chests. Some of the shorts were very short.

I met an Australian woman at a ryoken in Takayama who said that when she wore tank tops, even with jeans, people looked at her as though she was not decently dressed.

Different cultures have different ideas of what is decent. In Japan showing even a hint of cleavage seems to be regarded as not appropriate. You can.of course, ignore this, but at the cost of being seen as a bit sluttish.

I don't think it is the old rule about showing either cleavage or legs. No matter how long the skirt or loose the trousers, the vast majority of the Japanese women I saw covered their chests.

Thong sandals are not considered proper footwear either, but I admit to breaking that "rule". I wear Reef sandals when it rains or for hiking and Fitflops for general sight-seeing, but I bring a pair of dressy flat sandals for going out in the evening or to good restaurants.

Whatever you wear on your feet needs to be comfortable for lots and lots of walking and slip on and off easily when you enter temples, some restaurants or any place with tatami mats.

You also need to be certain that you can kneel in anything you bring. Short straight skirts run the risk of actually being indecent.

Edited: 05 May 2013, 09:49
Taipei, Taiwan
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8 reviews
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3. Re: appropriate attire

okay great, thank you so much for your responses! this really helps a lot :)

Hong Kong, China
Destination Expert
for Hong Kong, Osaka
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4. Re: appropriate attire

As a tourist, you can pretty much wear whatever you want within reason. If you show too much skin, you might get some looks here and there and that's about it. Otherwise, unless you are going to finer restaurants or some proper functions, you won't need to be concerned with dress code.

Comfortable footwear is a must. You walk a lot when sightseeing.

Tokyo and California
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for Tokyo, Kyoto, Osaka, Shinjuku, Japan
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23,770 posts
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5. Re: appropriate attire

If you're a woman, sleeveless tops and dresses are totally acceptable in summer. I wear nothing but sleeveless in summer. Japanese guys in general don't wear sleeveless clothes but as Sammy says, if you're a tourist, nobody cares. Just be comfortable. Japanese summers are brutally hot and humid. Comfortable shoes are essential. You'll be walking a lot!

Melbourne,Australia
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865 posts
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6. Re: appropriate attire

Having to take shoes off then put them on all the time (at temples and private homes) was such a pain, particularly when wearing runners which were the most comfortable footwear for all the walking.

Edited: 07 May 2013, 11:45
Hong Kong, China
Destination Expert
for Hong Kong, Osaka
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51,883 posts
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7. Re: appropriate attire

There are plenty of other shoes besides sports shoes that don't come with laces which are comfortable. Of course, it is a personal preference.

London, United...
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2,049 posts
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8. Re: appropriate attire

It's important to consider proper attire in Japan regardless who we are or they are. They tend to use TPO (Time, Place, Occasion) for this purpose.

Of course, there are loose ones but you can be more comfortable unless you seek attentions.

Nara, Japan
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for Nara, Kamikochi
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9. Re: appropriate attire

It’s obviously a personal issue the way you dress/groom yourself while overseas, and I don’t want to carry things too far here. Yes, I think I know I’m stuck in a groove sadly when it comes to outfit/grooming while holidaying abroad. No not that I’m a kind of guy to bring a natty tux to wear to some place, but I do bother to look presentable anyplace I am. So to me a combination of a collar-less shirts, shorts, and flip-flops/thongs are out of the question, save beaches or pool sides.

There’s no protocol, and for that matter you won’t get a dirty look from anyone around you because of what you wear, unless you look really scruffy. In this day and age, maybe you shouldn’t react to young girls wearing short-shorts and deep-cut-neckline shirts, or mind-bogging hairdos, still less, to middle-aged men who keep their head neat 24/7/365, wearing a godsend called Aderans, not needing to dye their gray locks on their sideburns, yet letting their hairline make a barely visible contrast with their actual age of their foreheads. So, yes, it’s what's inside that counts!

Talking of ‘inside,’ this is a country where some people judge you (when invited to your home/workplace) by the look of your toilet bowl/slippers. If they’re grotty then they think you too are, no matter how spruce you look. So that’s why housewives love their yearly clean-up days, a chance to force their spouse to do what otherwise they don’t want to. Sorry for sidetracking. ;)

Edited: 07 May 2013, 20:44
10. Re: appropriate attire

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