Quick Guide to Street Fashion in Tokyo

Created from a mix of both local and foreign fashion brands, Japanese street fashions tend to have their own distinctive style with some elements considered extreme and avant-garde. Though styles have changed over the years in Japan, street fashion is still prominent in Tokyo today with young adults found wearing subculture attire in large urban fashion districts. 

Here’s a quick guide to fashion culture in Tokyo. 


One of the largest and most recognisable styles in Japan gaining a worldwide following. Skirts and dresses are usually worn at knee length paired with petticoats for volume styled like Victorian or Rococo porcelain dolls. With many different subcultures, such as Gothic Lolita with darker colours and Sweet Lolita that emulates fairy tale themes and innocent attire.


This fashion movement involves schoolgirls wearing an outfit based on Japanese school uniforms but with short skirts. Short skirts are worn irrespective of the season paired with loose socks and scarves. Pop singer Namie Amuro promoted the style and it has been further popularised by Japanese anime.


Derived from the term for forest, this fashion style involves soft and loose fitting layers of garments such as floaty dresses and cardigans. An emphasis is placed on natural fabrics and hand-made accessories with a nature theme. The colour scheme tends to be light and neutral to create an earthy-look.


Originated in the early 2000s and rose to fame both in Japan and worldwide. Sometimes known as Harajuku fashion due to singer Kyary Pamyu Pamyu who rose to prominence in this district. Wearers usually pair a plain skirt with a tutu-like skirt but usually bright and colourful. The key thing about this style is the accessories as they have a multitude of layers.


Despite the widespread of Western clothing in Japan, fashion is still influenced by traditional clothing such as kimonos in everyday life. Most people wear it only for weddings, graduations or other formal occasions, but it’s still worn in the streets of Tokyo. The younger generation mix kimono and modern style wearing different accessories to give a fresh feeling.

Words by Charlie Vogelsang.

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