Japan is a shopper’s paradise. With high rise boutique shopping centers, endless underground mazes of malls, to the bustling shopping streets in Shibuya and Harajuku—there are endless opportunities for shopping just in Tokyo!
Shibuya is Tokyo’s most famous shopping neighborhood.
Japan is at the forefront of global style and trends, and you can find a wide variety of unique fashions that are exclusive to Japan. But, what can foreigners expect while shopping in Japan? One important thing to consider is size.
The most common question I get from people thinking about traveling to Japan is “Will Japanese clothes fit me?”.
If you aren’t familiar with Japanese sizing, most trendy stores geared at young women will simply have one size clothing titled (fittingly) “One Size” “OS”, or in a lot of cases, just “M” for ‘medium’. Other Japanese stores may carry “Small” “Medium”, and “Large” sizes, but expect these to be significantly smaller than the sizes of the same name in North America.
Generally, “OS” clothes will be looser in fit, with an elastic waist in skirts and short to wide a wider variety of sizes. They will generally fit between a XS-M in North American women’s sizes.
The average height for women in the US is 162.5 cm, while for Japanese women the average is 158 cm. All clothes in Japan are cut for people of a shorter stature than the average American person, so sleeves may be shorter, and skirts shorter. In “OS” clothes, you will find they favor people on the shorter side of the Japanese average.
While all this might seem daunting for finding that perfect fit—fear not! Big fashion outlets like Uniqlo and GU offer a much wider variety of sizes than the average small boutique store. Also, don’t forget! Most popular chain stores from North America and Europe have locations in major Japanese cities and shopping centers. You’ll be able to find familiar US sizes for things that may not fit at the “OS” stores no problem at all. Stores like H&M, Forever 21, American Eagle, Zara, Next, and Bershka are incredibly popular with Japanese shoppers and have locations in most major shopping centers.
Be careful though—They favor the Japanese market and tend to stock sizes on the smaller end of the spectrum. But in large cities with large foreign populations like Tokyo, Kyoto, Osaka, and Yokohama, most likely will carry the full variety of sizes you’d find in North America.
How About Shoes?
Shoe shopping may also be different than you may be used to. Shoe sizes are generally listed in cm, or as “Small” “Medium” and “Large” sizes. Be careful though, shoes in the S/M/L sizes generally are not great quality and may fall apart quite quickly.
Just like clothes, shoes will favor the smaller end of the spectrum. The largest shoe size you may find in stores is 25 cm, or a US Women’s size 9. The best advice if you are above this size is to bring plenty of shoes from home.
Can I Find the Right Cup Size?
What about other wardrobe staples, like bras and underwear? As you may expect, these too run both on the smaller side and are designed for the average Japanese women’s shape. Most bras come with a whole lot of padding inside of them, to give the appearance of a larger bust. Thankfully, most of this padding is removable. Cup sizes are much smaller than their US counterparts, and most band sizes will only go up to 75 cm in most stores. In general, you will have to go up one or two cup sizes than your US size to find a good fit. If you are usually a 32A in the US, you will most likely be a 75C in Japan. The largest cup size commonly found is a F size (US D).
Underwear generally will come in S/M/L sizes, but like everything else, they will run significantly smaller. For comfort’s sake, I always recommend bringing a hefty supply of your favorites from your home country.
Don’t let all of this scare you though! Japan has so many options available for shopping, and as the foreign population rapidly grows, stores are offering more varieties of styles and sizes for customers of different backgrounds. Just keep these tips in mind and be prepared to size up a bit, and you’ll be ready to enjoy all that Japan’s shopping centers have to offer!
This article is presented to you by Guidable.
Popular Dog Breeds in Japan
When you decide to stay in Japan for good, and you want to own a pet, you might want to consider getting yourself a dog. According to Julia Cadwell in her “Shoha Shiba Kennels”, the history of dogs in Japan dates back to the outset of Japan’s recorded history. The findings in the ruins of [...]
6 Books to Read to Help You Understand Japan
One of the best ways to get to know Japan and to better understand Japanese culture is by reading books by Japanese authors, stories set in Japan, or some of the classic works of Japanese literature. While Japan guidebooks can be a great source of information and can help with planning travel, Japanese literature can [...]
Ultra Street: A Haven for Ultraman Fans
Tokyo is a hidden treasure trove for Japanese film lovers. If you’re an Ultraman fan looking to go off the beaten path of popular tourist attractions, then Setagaya ward has a lovely surprise waiting for you in “Ultra Town.” Ultra Town: Birthplace of Ultraman Why the name? Simple: Soshigaya Okura, located in Setagaya Ward, is known as the official birthplace of Ultraman. Until its recent relocation, this city was home to Tsurubaya Productions, which fans may recognize as the special effects studio that introduced Ultraman to the world. For those unfamiliar, the character Ultraman is a superhero from a galaxy...
Survivor’s Guide To the Japanese Language
The following is a survivor’s guide to the Japanese language. In particular, this is directed to the typical tourist to Japan. The typical tourist to Japan speaks no Japanese, and why should he? The Japanese language is radically different from other languages, and as opposed to languages such as Spanish, Arabic, or English, which are used in many countries, the Japanese language is essentially used only in Japan. Also, as a tourist, you will not have the time to study or retain the language, and besides, you will be busy visiting onsens, hiking Mt. Fuji, eating great food, and generally...
Where to Drink Japanese Craft Beer in Tokyo
The craft beer scene in Japan has exploded in recent years with an increase in the number of craft breweries in the major cities as well as the quality of beer and the varieties offered. Although craft breweries in Japan only gained traction in the late 1990s when the country deregulated the brewing industry by lowering the annual output required for a brewing license, Japan has quickly caught up internationally and now boasts several award-winning beers as well as distinctive seasonal brews only offered in Japan. As a craft beer fanatic living in Tokyo, I have enjoyed trying out what...
3 Hidden Gems to Visit in Japan
Japan has become one of the most favourite holiday destinations for world travelers. Japan has also been known for its unique culture, food, and famous streets. Visitors usually come to Japan to go shopping and take a walk in Shibuya or Harajuku, taste Japanese sushi, try kimono or yukata. The list of places that tourist visits are more or less already known by many people and too mainstream. Actually, if you try to explore Japan more deeply, you will find many amazing hidden gems you did not expect to exist in Japan. Here we go: 1.Tottori Sand Dunes Have you...