The people of Japan are known for having sacred etiquette & rules for many different things. Tradition is one of the biggest factors within Tokyo and Japan as a whole. It’s completely understandable to be worried about coming across as rude or ignorant when visiting Tokyo for the first time. After all, it is such a unique country. And, sometimes this even comes down to clothing and fashion. But, what does this mean for your packing?
Can I wear shorts in Japan? There are no legal or social rules against wearing shorts in Japan. It is very common to see other tourists wearing shorts in the major cities, especially in the summer; due to the sometimes extreme Asian heat. However, some restaurants or places of interest may not allow shorts or summer styled clothing, like many other countries.
So, yes, 95% of the time you will be more than okay to wear shorts in Tokyo or anywhere else in Japan. However, there are still some things to take into consideration before you start packing your suitcase with 20 different pairs of shorts! Some places are not as accepting of summer clothes. I created this article to help you know which places you can and can’t wear shorts, and additionally, how to find out for yourself once you are in Japan.
Should You Wear Shorts In Japan?
As you should know by now, shorts are absolutely fine to wear most of the time in Japan and its busy cities. So, where does this idea of not being allowed to wear shorts actually come from?
Well, to put it simply, Japan has always had some pretty strict rules & etiquette for a majority of things. For example, when eating a meal at someone’s home you must take off your shoes and sit on the floor cross-legged, or not being able to tip waiters as it is rude. Japan is extremely unique in the way that some things are seen and perceived.
However, this has never really seemed to correlate with fashion, clothing or style. Tokyo is home of cosplay and unique people with unique clothing sense.
You are more than okay to wear shorts when there are people dressed as Gundam or their favourite anime characters!
This idea of strict clothing has mainly come from Arab countries which are way more strict with their dress codes, for their own reasons that I will not delve into. This doesn’t mean that Japan doesn’t have any dress etiquette at all though. The Japanese seem to be slightly more strict on revealing the top half of the body, but still, most of the time you will be fine!
So, if it is extremely hot and you can’t stand to wear jeans or a tracksuit, don’t stress. Put on a pair of shorts and let those legs breathe! It is common for tourists to wear shorts in the summer, and the Japanese are always more forgiving on their rules if a foreigner is involved.
There really is nothing to worry about.
Why Do The Japanese Tend To Not Wear Shorts?
You may now be asking yourself “well if there is nothing wrong with wearing shorts in Japan, why don’t the Japanese wear them?”
And, this is a great question!
At the end of the day, it is just down to preference and taste. Depending on the neighbourhood, its residents will have a different income bracket, a different view on fashion and other aspects similar to this.
For example, areas such as Roppongi and Aoyama are known for being wealthy and the home of Japanese celebrities. These types of areas are going to be more susceptible to wearing higher end clothing, such as suits or designer clothes. Some members of these neighbourhoods find shorts to be tacky or not as classy as what they are used to.
This doesn’t by any means mean that they despise anyone who they see wearing shorts. Everyone in Tokyo is way too busy to notice what other people are wearing unless you truly stand out.
In fact, a lot of Japanese people do actually wear shorts when the weather is too hot to bare.
Is There A Dress Code In Japan?
When it comes to dress codes in Japan, they are almost pretty much non-existent. Everyone is entitled to wear what they like for the most part. Just take a look at Akihabara for example, that area is known as the cosplay hub for the whole world.
Japan is a country full of creativity and freedom. And, although you will catch eyes and get people looking at you if you decide to wear something really unique, you can rest assured that they will not be judging; but just simply observing and maybe even admiring.
That is the magic of Tokyo, and one of the many reasons that millions of people visit every single year!
The only time dress codes are a thing in Japan, is when going to exclusive places such as restaurants, high-end shops and temples or shrines.
In these cases, it can be disrespectful to not follow their recommended or suggested clothing, as it is something that means a lot to the locals. So, in these circumstances, please just go with it and follow the dress code. But, apart from when you are instructed not to wear certain clothing, the choice is all yours on what threads you choose to rock!
The Japanese are all about hospitality. They would all rather that you were comfortable and enjoying your stay.
So, there you have it. It is completely fine to wear shorts in Japan without feeling on edge or like you are being judged by the locals. Shorts are more common within Tokyo than you may think, and especially in the hotter times of the year.
Tokyo is very well-known for having freedom with its fashion so you shouldn’t be worried too much about what you wear. Just make sure you are always wary about where you are and what the owners would want you to wear. It is important to be respectful as much as it is to be comfortable!