If you are traveling to Japan on business then a formal, conservative trouser or knee-length skirt-suit worn with tights in dark colors works well, but do avoid an all-black look – this is associated with funerals. Also, avoid revealing or sleeveless blouses. Japanese women generally do not wear nail varnish.
No exposed shoulders
With women, wearing short shorts or skirts and I mean the shortest of shorts is completely fine but wearing anything with spaghetti straps or a revealing chest area is considered especially inappropriate.
If you're planning a trip to Japan, here are a few cultural faux pas you should be aware of.
- Don't break the rules of chopstick etiquette. ...
- Don't wear shoes indoors. ...
- Don't ignore the queuing system. ...
- Avoid eating on the go. ...
- Don't get into a bathtub before showering first. ...
- Don't blow your nose in public. ...
- Don't leave a tip.
It is completely OK to wear shorts in Japan. While it may be a bit uncommon among Japanese men, especially on work days, shorts are not off-limits by any means. And they are very common among tourists in the summer.
Women should wear dresses or skirts, preferably knee-length. Avoid showing your shoulders; if the dress is sleeveless, add a shawl or bolero. White should be avoided, although at a more casual wedding you may be able to wear black. On the other hand, it's not all rules and customs.
It is believed that red can protect people from evil and disaster. However, do not buy anything red to your friends as a house warming gift. Japanese think red associate fire, which might bring bad luck such as fire accidents to the new house.
Black Means Death in Japan, Avoid Black Clothes
In Japan, the color white is attributed to happiness and good times. Death is a time of mourning and so people must dress in the color of depression, black. Men usually wear a black suit with a black tie (dress shirt is usually white).
As for crop tops, you'll have to use your own judgment. Women are supposed to be conservative with cleavage in Japan, in that showing even a hint is often not regarded as appropriate. If you have a low-cut crop top or one that could reveal your bra from underneath, it's best to leave it at home.
Wearing short shorts or skirts, especially the shortest of shorts, is perfectly acceptable when it comes to ladies, but wearing anything with spaghetti straps or a showing chest area is deemed highly unacceptable. Tank tops are considered undergarments in this country, so cover yourself if you want to blend in.
Women rarely wear shorts, but often skirts of varying length (also very age dependent). I (female) wear shorts or skirts of whatever length is comfortable with the weather. And my husband wear shorts on the weekend. Tourists can wear whatever they want, even at temples and shrines.
In Japan, thumbs up mean a sign of agreement. However, it also means 'a lover' in a rude way.
Not finishing one's meal is not considered impolite in Japan, but rather is taken as a signal to the host that one does not wish to be served another helping. Conversely, finishing one's meal completely, especially the rice, indicates that one is satisfied and therefore does not wish to be served any more.
Pointing the finger is considered rude in Japanese culture because the person pointing is associated with explicitly calling out the other individual for their wrong behavior or actions. Repeatedly pointing while speaking to another person is considered a sign of extreme frustration or an expression of dissatisfaction.
Additionally, just like fruit in Japan is wrapped up individually for sanitation purposes, people may wear leggings to avoid touching other's sweat.
There is a fact in the fashion of Japan that wearing a miniskirt is a kind of privilege for high school students. This is not an actual individual right (of course). However, many people are conscious that high school students like wearing miniskirts in terms of fashion.
Wearing TankTop is not strange in Japan. As mentioned, it's quite common for teenagers to wear thin-strapped tank tops on their days off. However, upon school activities, most schools encourage you to wear something more modest and students usually follow suit. As for bra straps, it's not really "in" to show them.
It's partly a modesty thing, partly a cultural thing, but most Japanese women don't wear clothes that expose their shoulders. The first time I visited Japan before moving here, I wore a tank top with moderately thick straps and a moderately low neckline.
Try to wear neat and well-maintained clothing, and keep yourself well-groomed. For example, holes in socks are a big no-no, because you spend lots of time without shoes on – visiting temples, shrines and traditional restaurants etc. Shorts, jeans, and even camisoles are perfectly fine to wear.
“Dou itashimashite” (どう致しまして) means “You're welcome” and is widely known as the common response to “arigato gozaimasu”, but it sounds rather stiff and formal. “Iie iie” (いいえいいえ) or “ii yo ii yo” (いいよいいよ) translate as “Not at all” and are casual replies that are more frequently used in daily life.
Loud slurping may be rude in the U.S., but in Japan it is considered rude not to slurp. Oh, and don't forget to use your chopsticks to get the noodles into your mouth. It is also acceptable to bring your small bowl of food close to your face to eat, instead of bending your head down to get closer to your plate.
With icons like Elvis Presley and James Dean wearing jeans, denim became immensely popular in Japan. Japanese citizens would befriend US servicemen or visit the 'PX' store on American bases in order to acquire a pair of Levi's, so that they had the authentic article to wear on the streets of Osaka or Tokyo.
1 Black. Black is a powerful and foreboding color in Japanese culture. Traditionally, black has represented death, destruction, doom, fear and sorrow. Especially when used alone, black represents mourning and misfortune, and is often worn to funerals.
Red in Japanese Culture
The color red is associated strongly with authority, strength, sacrifice, joy, and happiness. It is regarded as an auspicious color in Japan, especially when paired with white (also used on the national flag).
As in the west, purple stands for royalty in Japanese culture as well. Purple flowers are very popular too. Orange on the other hand, denotes love and happiness and is a popular color in clothing. This vibrant color also denotes civilization and knowledge.