A First-Timer’s Guide to Getting a Haircut in Japan

Keep in mind these steps and phrases for a stress-free visit to the salon.

Getting a haircut abroad can be a scary thing—considering the possible differences in culture, language, and hairstyle trends each country has. However, if you’re living in a foreign country, at some point, you’re going to want to visit a hair salon. Even travelers might get the urge to get a haircut in the country they’re currently visiting. 

If you happen to be in Japan, fear no more. This article will guide you through the step-by-step process of getting a haircut in the country and teach you a few Japanese words and phrases so you can tell your hairstylist how you want your cut. 

1. Walk-in/Make a Reservation

If you’re in a metropolitan area, you won’t have a hard time looking for a salon. But with plenty of salons to choose from, it can be a struggle picking one. There are some foreigner-friendly salon sites where you can compare prices, services, make reservations, and more. You can also just walk in. But if you’re pressed for time, it would be better if you make a reservation beforehand. 

2. Inside the Salon - Reception

The receptionist will ask you which service you would like to have.

Below are the general services you can take:


??? (Katto)


????? (Shampu?)


????? (Heakara?)


??????? (Tori?tomento)


??? (Pa?ma)

Blow Dry

??? (Buro?)


??? (Setto)


??? (Meiku)

3. Inside the Salon - At the Shampoo Basin

If you’re taken to the shampoo basin, just sit on the chair and the staff will do the rest. They might also ask you if the water temperature is fine. Here’s how to respond:

Hair Stylist

How’s the water temperature?

???????????? (Oyu kagen wa daijo?bu deska?)

Respond to him/her as below:

1. If there’s no problem

It’s fine.

????? (Daio?bu desu)

2. If too hot

It’s hot.

???? (Atsui desu)

3. If too cold

It’s cold.

????? (Tsumetai desu)

Hair Stylist

Is there any itchy part?

?????????????? (Kayui tokoro arimasenka?)

Respond to him/her as below:

1. If there’s none

It’s fine.

????? (Daijo?bu desu)

2. If there is

There is still some itchy part.

?????????????? (Mada chotto kayui tokoro arimasu)

You can take a short nap while they shampoo your hair. 

4. Inside the Salon - Getting into the Specifics

After shampooing, the staff will guide you to your seat. Here’s how you can tell him/her the kind of hairstyle that you want:

The hairstylist will ask you:

How do you want it to be done?

???????????? (Kyou wa dou itashimasuka?)

a. When explaining the specifics of your hair and cut you like:

Words you can use:


? (Kami)


?? (Maegami)

Split ends

?? (Edage)

Hair ends

?? (Kesaki)


?? (Nagai)


?? (Mijikai)


?? (Ooi)


??? (Sukunai)

To color

??? (Someru)


?? (Maku)


??? (Motto)


???? (Chotto)

1. By Length:

Please cut about five centimeters shorter.

5????????????? (Go senchi gurai kitte kudasai)

I want my bangs cut a little more.

?????????????? (Mou sukoshi maegami o kitte kudasai)

I want a short cut.

???????? (Mijikaku shitekudasai)

I just want a trim.

???????????? (Zentai o karuku totonoete kudasai)

Can you straighten the hair ends?

?????????? (Kesaki o totonoete kudasai)

2. By Volume:

Please lighten the volume of my hair.

?????????? (Kami o karuku shitekudasai) 

b. Using a hairstyle magazine or reference picture

Most salons will give you magazines to read at your chair, including a hairstyle magazine. If you’re not sure how to properly explain the haircut that you want, you can try showing your hairstylist a picture. 



Can you please cut my hair like in this picture?

?????????????? (Kono shashin no youni onegaishimasu)

c. “Omakase” or “I’ll leave it to you”

If you’re brave enough, you can also just let the hairstylist do what he/she thinks will look good on you. 


Do what you think is good for me!


 (Omakase de onegaishimasu)

5. Payment

Most salons accept cash and credit cards, while some accept e-money (transportation cards like Suica, Pasmo, etc.) If you liked the way your stylist cut your hair, make sure to ask for his/her business card or name. This is so you can request for him/her the next time you visit the salon.


Thank you very much for your service today! I liked your cut! Can I get your business card or name?

?????????????????????????????????????????? (Kyo wa arigatou gozaimashita! Katto kini irimashita! Meishi ka onamae kiitemo iideska)

We hope this guide will help you overcome your hesitation in getting a haircut in Japan. If you think you can’t handle speaking in Japanese, you can show your hairstylist this article for easier communication!

 (27 September 2019)

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