More than just wearing custom flip flops made from all kinds of material when visiting Japan in the summer, there is a multitude of items that you can choose to wear. In comparison to countries in the west, especially the European ones, Japanese style of clothing is deemed to be way more conservative. However, there are still some places where you can choose to show some skin. These are the big Japanese cities like Tokyo. But when traveling to the countryside, you have to make an effort to appear more behaved and well kept.
Depending on how far you are from Hokkaido, summers can get pretty difficult for the people in Japan. This makes visitors face a conundrum. How can you balance that conservative look against the need to cool up to escape from the summer heat? However, given that you are a foreigner, the Japanese will probably just ignore you after a few seconds of judgemental stares.
Just how short can you wear?
Another point of interest in Japanese fashion culture is the skirt. Super short skirts are tolerated most of the time in Japan. They consider it casual wear and sometimes even used as a school uniform. Mainly popular in populous cities like Osaka and Tokyo, short skirts are one of the more recognizable fashion cultures of Japan. When approaching rural areas, however, be prepared to wrap your legs around a few layers so as not to offend anyone.
Some places where you should never ever wear anything that gives off the slightest hint of inappropriateness are in religious temples. You should cover up as much as possible before entering any temple, plain and simple.
Hide your cleavages.
It can be observed that what Japan neglects to cover up in the leg area, they take back by covering up completely the chest area. It is almost a wonder but that is the reality of it. Japanese people just take conservatism to a whole new level when clothing a woman above her waist.
In fact, even the slightest semblance of cleavage can offend people in Japan. They could ask you to cover up so as not to rouse the people beside you. When you are shopping for clothes in Japan at the start of your journey however, you will hardly have this problem because these clothes will not have any cleavage to show.
There is no formal law against showing a “little” chest. And since the Japanese public is more lenient for foreign people, you might be able to get away with it. Just make sure that you are trying to dress for comfort and not to cause a scandal. Generally speaking, as long as the neckline in your upper garment is not too deep, you will be fine. As an added precaution, just wear a tank-top right beneath your shirt. This way, you will not be subject to naughty gazes when you bend down to pick something off when you are ducking.
The footwear should be comfortable.
When you go to Japan coming from some western world, you will probably be experiencing walking more than what you are used to. This is because the Japanese and mainly the Asian culture encourages walking. Never forget to pack the most comfortable pair of custom flip flops that you have before going to Japan. Sure custom flip flops may not be as fashionable as most footwear, but it is definitely easy to carry and is quite comfortable to wear.
Other choices that you may have are sandals, semi-casual shoes, or any footwear that will allow your feet to breathe while the heat of the Japanese summer rages down on you. If you have been to other places in Asia like in Thailand, you need not to worry about showing your bare sole to anyone. Japan does not have those rules and you can be as comfortable as you like as long as you do not go barefoot.
When going to Japanese summer festivals when on a night out and wanting to wear a Yukata, you should complete that look with yukata sandals. These are made of wood with supports made with cloth. If you are going to other parties like bar-hopping or going to the clubs, you can pack a pair of heels or any formal footwear that you fancy.
Can I at least show my shoulders?
If you have arms that just need to be exposed, you can do so, but similar to showing cleavage, it will all be dependent on where you are in Japan. As mentioned earlier, the Japanese public takes a stricter approach to women’s upper clothes. This is the reason why you will rarely be able to see Japanese women walking down the streets wearing cleavage or, indeed, with exposed shoulders.
However, if you feel uncomfortable wearing in your shoulder area as it can get really hot and humid during summers, you can choose to show some skin. It gets less strict when you move farther from rural Japan, so you should be fine.
So what should men wear?
If you reached this part of the article, you are probably wondering when I’ll start talking about what men should and should not wear when going to Japan in the summer. If you are a man, you can relax. Men’s wear barely changes when going from place to place and Japan is no exception. Rarely does anyone qualm about men’s wear being too provocative so you should be fine.
The Japanese, however, emphasize on wearing clean looking clothes so this is where the men would have to put in their efforts. Just do not commit the gravest fashion blunders such as wearing short shorts that probably allows people to peek through.
You can chill.
In the end, there really is no worry about choosing what you wear in Japan during the summer or any other times. Japan, despite being farther up from the equator is known for having hot summers. You should dress comfortably and without any worry as long as you feel like you are dressed decently.