What to Wear in Japan in Spring

Last spring I went to Japan for the first time. It’s no secret that I fell in love from the moment I arrived. Similar to Korean style, Japanese women are elegant and feminine. Unlike Korea however, there was an edge to Japanese street fashion, and I’m not just talking about Harajuku.

I felt at home with my patterns and bold lips in Osaka and Tokyo. I noticed women really experimented with their makeup and weren’t afraid to have their own unique style.

It was mid-April when we arrived and I wasn’t sure exactly how chilly it was going to be. I brought a coat, but rarely wore it and ditched it all together after a few days. It was warm enough to go without a jacket or sweater during the day, but by nightfall, I needed another layer.

Here’s what to wear in Japan in the spring.

what to wear in japan in the spring

Confession: this photo is from Korea, but this is the rain jacket I took. It’s not a rain jacket.

A Real Rain Jacket

Not a thin little wind breaker that you picked up from a Korean outlet mall that looked cute, but didn’t come with a hood. It rained a lot while we were in Japan. It’s Spring, that’s just what happens. There were so many times where I wished I’d packed a good waterproof jacket. Make sure it’s light-weight though, because it’s still very warm even though it’s wet.

 

Blouses that Cover You Up

Similar to Korea, I found that most women wear tops that cover their chest entirely and not once did I see a woman in spaghetti straps. It’s simply not done. Keep cool with t-shirts and sleeveless blouses that still cover the shoulder, steer clear of anything sheer and always pack a little cardigan in your day bag so that when the evening chill creeps in you’re ready.

 

what to wear in Japan in Spring

Flowy Dresses

I packed about 57 dresses for my trip and I wore all of them in Japan. I never felt underdressed and with a simple swap from flip flops to flats I was ready for any restaurant. I brought a few different thin belts as well, so that I could keep things interesting and make myself feel all sorts of accessorized. Bring a few pairs of tights for days when bare legs simply won’t do.

what to wear in japan in spring

Jeans

It still felt a little bit too cold for shorts. On the days where it was too chilly for dresses I threw on skinny jeans and a lightweight blouse. If I got warm I could cuff my jeans and still feel put together.

 

cardigan in spring

Cardigans

I’m a lover of cardigans, especially these 3/4 length JCrew beauties. I brought a black one so it went with everything and I always had it crumpled up in my bag ready for a heavily air-conditioned restaurant, to cover my shoulders in a temple or when the sun went down and I wasn’t ready to stop sipping beers along the river.

what to wear in japan in the spring

My Other Essentials?

I wore red lipstick as often as I could remember. I wore sunglasses every day – although it rained a lot, it would only be for short periods of time. The sun was out every day and sunglasses were a must. I wore Rainbow flip flops and these JCrew flats most days. We did a lot of walking so I wanted to be comfortable. If Japan had been the only stop on this trip I probably would have brought nicer sandals instead of just flip flops. Sometimes I felt like I was slightly underdressed in them. Japanese women, especially in cities like Osaka, Tokyo, and Kyoto, dress incredibly well.

Have you ever been to Japan? What would you wear for each season there?

Laura Bronner

11 Comments

  1. I went to Japan in the fall of 2014 and it was quite warm still but everyone was wearing winter clothes. I was sweating and taking off layers of clothing inside the subway/metro. Thankfully, I packed cardigans with me so I didn’t have to wear my jacket all the time. In Japan and Korea, women don’t bare their shoulders/chest area.

  2. We are going in late March and early April. I’ve looked at the historical weather, and it looks like it will still be quite chilly, especially in places like Nikko where there is likely to still be snow on the ground, but even in Kyoto the high looks like it will be around 60, which means earlier in the day it will be much cooler. I hate to be cold. One question I had was whether distressed jeans are ok or not. We are going to Nikko, Tokyo, Magome, Kyoto, Nara, and Osaka. Another question is did you carry socks with you so you could cover your feet when you went inside places since you wore flats and flip flops? Thanks.

    • Hi April! If you wanted to bring distressed jeans I’d say you’d probably want a pair of tights or leggings on underneath – especially if you hate being cold. Otherwise opt for regular denim. I arrived in Japan mid-April and was fine with dresses and no tights, but it was much warmer than 60. As for temples and things, I always put a pair of socks in my purse for the day so that I had something to cover my feet with if I was wearing flip flops or flats. Hope that helps!!

      • I was there just this march 22 until the 28th forecast says that it’s about 10 degarees to 15, most of the time it was chilly actual temperature is at 5 to 8 degrees and -2 in the evening. Good thing i brought heat tech with me

        • Oh my! Sounds chilly! was that in the mountains? Since we stayed mostly in the cities, we avoided any really cold Spring weather 🙂 Thanks for the tip!

  3. This has literally saved my life! Flying to Tokyo on April 1st for an 8 day break and to attend my brother-in-law’s wedding. May not have quite cracked the wedding attire but at least I’m sorted for the rest of the trip now! Thanks 🙂

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