We all have one particular season that we wait for every year. It could be summer with the warm rays of the sun and inviting trip to the beach or the spring when fields would bloom into a rainbow of flowers. We all have our preferences and while others can be found shaking their head at the thought of colder weather, there is a certain portion of the population that is in love with winter.
Winter arrives on two of the most celebrated months of the year, December and January. December, with festivities like Christmas, never fails to lift our somber spirits up with colorful Christmas lights and the presence of giving and sharing, and January, where everyone welcomes the new year with cheers and joyful greetings. With these two months, I think what’s even more magical is to experience all these with a touch of sparkling and calm snow raining down. It might be cold but the feeling of being with your friends, family, and loved ones can surely warm you up.
Speaking of warming up, well, the most obvious and practical way would be how you dress up. Winter is completely different from the rest of the season. I like to think that the whole lot of winter clothes is a different entity, ones you can’t use in any other season. And winter clothes in Japan is not any different.
If you are planning to travel to Japan during the winter season, you might wondering, what are the staples to winter fashion in Japan? Well, let’s find out!
Japanese Winter Fashion: What to Wear
Japan’s winter is the exact opposite of its summer counterpart. If you’ve been to Japan during the summer, you’d know that the heat is excruciatingly hot paired with humid air, but with the winter season, you have to expect a cold and dry winter with brisk cold temperature.
And just like all things natural, seasons are unpredictable and there’s a slight chance you might be entering Japan with the wrong set of clothes in your luggage. But we are here to help you prepare the winter staples for your Japan trip!
Wool Sweaters and Insulated Jackets
I don’t think no one would dare venture into the cold without at least either of the two and even in other seasons, both sweaters and jackets can be used, depending on their knit and the weight of the yarn.
You’d immediately notice on the first touch if a certain sweater will keep you warm or not if the weather can get too chilly but if you are to based on textbook information, wool sweaters are the best when it comes to keeping you warm, especially if you are the type to get too cold easily.
A bit of background on wool, it comes from sheared sheep (and sometimes, other animals) and has natural insulating properties.
When it comes to jackets for the winter, insulated jackets are highly recommended and are a great addition to your winter clothing collection. There are winters around the world that are colder than Japan’s will ever be so if you are up to traveling to different countries during the winter season, your insulated jacket will be your best buddy.
Tip! Wool can be itchy but fear not for we have the merino wool, which is the softest of all wool and is proven to be an itch-free fabric.
Insulated jackets, in a nutshell, are specifically made for colder weather and are intricately designed to keep you warm. The typical insulated jacket consists of an outer layer, it could be a soft or hard shell, and underneath, an insulating layer is built in directly to the jacket.
If you are a frequent traveler and you often find yourself in colder countries, it might be wise to invest in a high-quality insulated jacket instead of spending so much on multiple non-insulating clothes that could cost you more money.
Your bottom wear is totally up to you and you can decide on what ultimately will keep you warm but if you’re looking for winter-specific bottom wear then we highly recommend fleece-lined leggings.
You probably read the heading and thought, “Leggings?”, with a confused face. Mainly because we are all aware that leggings are mainly used for lighter and warmer weathers, they are our go-to outfit for sweaty exercises or a quick trip to the grocery and they are in no way designed to keep us warm. But, fleece-lined leggings are a whole level of different. Imagine the comfort and lightness of leggings but! They keep you warm.
They look like the regular leggings that you’d used when working out but are constructed with super soft fleece on the inside that provides the insulation.
Before actually purchasing, it is important to make sure that the leggings are actually fleece-lined. Some leggings are designed and advertised to keep you warm but for some instances, these leggings are just thicker than your regular leggings and are not lined with fleece. They are thicker, yes, and you might think they’ll keep you warm in the long run but they actually won’t and you’d feel the cold seep in through in no time.
So before having those leggings scanned in the cash register, make sure to look at the description and ask if they are actually fleece-lined leggings.
You bundled out with the warmest sweater and leggings and thought that you’ll be warm throughout your trip but in reality, these pieces are designed to keep a specific part of your body warm. And other exposed parts, like your neck, will be feeling the cold the moment you step out into the streets. That’s why other than warm tops and bottoms, let’s not forget the iconic scarves.
It is a simple accessory and can sometimes be overlooked amidst your winter packing but they actually play a big part in ultimately keeping you warm.
The best fabrics for your scarves are fleece, blends, and soft wools, like Cashmere, as they are thin, lightweight, and are very comfortable for the neck area.
Wool, as we all know, are more traditionally and more commonly used than other fabrics as they are proven and tested to provide warmth. However, wool, whether in scarves or in sweaters, can be very itchy. This all depends on the quality, type, and preparation of the wool. But as mentioned, merino wool is the type of wool that is proven to be an itch-free fabric.
There might be some confusion regarding snow boots and winter boots and you might find yourself asking what are the differences between the two?
Snow boots, as the name suggests, are used in the snow. But other than keeping the feet warm during a snowy day, it is also designed to withstand wet situations. The snow has two sides, the pretty magical side that we often see in movies and the mud and brown side we see in real life. Snow boots can withstand both the magical and the dark side of it.
Winter boots, on the other hand, is the more general term to refer to boots worn for the winter season. But the most notable difference between the two is that winter boots lack the capability to keep snow from entering into the boot. A winter boot can’t also compare to the snow boots when it comes to waterproof abilities.
To put it simply, winter boots are more for daily and normal activities. So if you are on a vacation and are sure you won’t be plowing through heavy and muddy snow anytime soon, it would best to just invest in good winter boots that would match well with your OOTDs.
Another important fact to keep in mind when choosing footwear for your winter trip to Japan is to make sure that they are easy to slip on and off. Vacation in Japan would mean that you are excited to visit different places and try on different restaurants but it is important to keep note that Japan has a manner of keeping or leaving your footwear at the door and some restaurants would require you that, especially those with tatami mats.
So before packing up that thigh-high boots that you’ve been wanting to pair with your winter clothes, check your itinerary first and see if it will be a good choice to wear a hassle piece of footwear.
Tip! Don’t forget your soft and comfy socks!
Very specific, you might think. But there has been some debate on fashion websites throughout the Internet on what is best for the winter season, is it the traditional, fully-covered gloves or the fingerless gloves?
Traditional gloves, those that cover your hands full, has the tendency to cause overheating. And will result in your hands sweating inside the gloves. This is especially true for gloves that aren’t made with breathable materials. Let’s also put into account that traditional gloves can also limit our use of our frequently used objects such as our mobile phones.
On the other hand, fingerless gloves also has the ability to keep your hands warm while also giving you that freedom to do other activities that a traditional glove can’t do.
Of course, this is all up to you!
The list is done! And now, you are ready for your winter trip to Japan!