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Getting your haircut, coloured or styled in a foreign country might seem daunting. I have been to many hair salons in several countries, so I know the anxiety that one might feel about trying out a new place – especially with limited knowledge of the language. However, while living in Japan, I have used local hair salons and have had some of the most amazing hairstyles thanks to the precise attention and incredible ability of the stylist.
Here are some tips that will help you navigate your way to getting the perfect hairstyle.
The first thing many expats wonder is whether there are any English speaking stylists in Japan. The short and simple answer is: Yes! These days, you can find many stylists who speak English and have worked, studied or trained overseas. If you are lucky, you will find a specialist with experience at a high-end salon. You can also ask if there is an English speaker in the salon and request them when you make your appointment.
Of course, if you don’t find a salon you prefer that has an English speaker as a stylist, you can always try practicing your Japanese. You can use Google translate to help you, if needed. Although I always had an English stylist, I tried using my Japanese throughout my stay. Over the years, I didn’t need to communicate in English as my Japanese improved and I grew to know my stylist. We had a great time catching up on different conversation topics while I was there.
Unless you are going to a barber style shop, you will most likely need to plan several hours for your time at the hair salon. I usually made an appointment in the morning and left in the early afternoon. This is because the salon provides each customer with extreme attention and excellent service.
The cost varies thanks to the services you request, the individual salon and the area you are in Japan. However, you can expect to pay an average of ¥6500-¥10000. If it is your first time at the salon, I would recommend bringing more money to make sure you have sufficient funds to pay for the services. As an expat, you will not be charged any surcharge for requesting an English stylist and will pay the same as other Japanese customers.
You do not need to pay a tip for any service received at a hair salon. The idea of tipping does not exist in Japan.
Hair salon ヘアサロン
Straight perm ストレートパーマ
Spiral perm スパイラルパーマ
Digital perm デジタルパーマ
Hair straightening 縮毛矯正 (しゅくもうきょうせい）
Extensions エクステ or エクステンション
Shampoo (Wash) シャンプー
Blow dry (plus styling usually) ブロー
Hair salon ヘアサロン
Shampoo (Wash) シャンプー
Barber: Typically, facial shaving service is included with a haircut.
Some additional options that you can ask about: nails, aesthetics (which includes facials and similar services), eyelashes and makeup/cosmetics.
Waxing and eyebrow plucking are usually services only available at a special location and we recommend inquiring in advance. Massage is generally included at any hair salon. In certain salons, beverage service (such as tea and coffee) as well as a small Japanese sweet is also provided to customers on a complimentary basis.
How to Make an Appointment
Asking friends or colleagues about where they go to get their hair cut and styled is helpful. Recommendations will help you pick a salon that might be a good fit, and they can tell you about the services, how to make an appointment, who to ask for as a stylist, time needed for the appointment, etc.
Generally, if it is a popular salon, you should plan to make an appointment at least a few months in advance. They tend to book up easily – especially on the weekends. If you have a specific person in mind to cut and style your hair, you might also need to allow more time to get on that person’s personal calendar. The important thing is to plan ahead and make an appointment early. Don’t wait until your hair is at the point of needing serious attention. You won’t be able to receive the best services at the last minute as your particular salon will most likely not have any availability.
Making the appointment can be done online or via phone. It differs according to the salon and area as to what options you will have to make your appointment.
Hair Salon Options
If you are in the Tokyo area, some English friendly options are as follows:
According to Assort’s website, they are, “recognized as Tokyo’s #1 English-friendly hair salon with great services with international experience.” They are located in Minato. A standard cut is ¥6,000, and they also do eyebrows, styling, treatments, color, perms, and makeup. First time clients can receive a free treatment and a ¥1,000 discount. Reservations can be made on their website.
Website (English) http://www.assort-hair.com/en/
Facebook (Japanese); Twitter (International); Instagram; Pinterest; Tumblr; YouTube
Nearest Station: 5 minute walk from Gaien-Mae Station
Gold Salon Tokyo
Gold Salon Tokyo staffs only non-Japanese hair professionals. They are all fluent in English. A standard cut is ¥8,500 yen, and a cut without shampoo is ¥5,000 yen. Gold Salon also provides customers with these services: coloring, straightening, hair extensions, and hair treatments, including keratin and conditioning treatments. You can make appointments via their website – ALL in English.
Website (English) https://www.goldsalontokyo.com/
Nearest Station: 4-minute walk from Azabu-Juban Station
Hayato Salon has branches in the USA and the UK, so they have a lot of experience working with varying hair types. Most of the staff are bilingual and have worked in either London or New York. They offer a relaxing environment. Cut prices range from ¥5,000- ¥15,000, depending on the stylist. They also offer straight, wavy, and curly perms, coloring, styling, conditioning treatments and hair extensions. If you share your new hairstyle on social media, they will even give you a ¥500 discount.
Website (English and Japanese) http://en.hayatosalons.com/page/japan/
Phone: 03-5574-8844 or book your Hayato appointment through Voyagin!
Nearest Station: 6-minute walk from Roppongi Station
Shinka Salon is originally an Australian hair salon with a branch in Roppongi. It serves customers from all around the world and features happy customer reviews on their website. A regular cut is about ¥6,250 for women and ¥5,750 for men. Shinka also does coloring, perms, airwaves, straightening, hair treatments, highlights, hair styling, eyebrows, and head spas. They will also cut children’s hair for less.
Website (English) https://www.leadingsalons.com/en/salon/139/shinka_salon-tokyo
Phone: 03-5575-6768 or book your appointment directly on their English website
Nearest Station: 8 minute walk from Azabu-Juban Station
Sin Den is a salon that specializes in foreign hair. No matter what hair you have on your head, Sin Den will accommodate to your needs. Many of their hairdressers are expats themselves. Located in Shibuya, basic haircut prices range from ¥6,500 to ¥9,500. Discounts are given for children, and special styling is an extra cost. Sin Den can also help you with makeup, bridal packages, hair treatments, hair coloring and nails.
Website (English) http://sinden.com/index.html
Nearest Station: 8-minute walk from Gaien-Mae Station
VIP Creative Hair International
VIP Creative Hair International is a foreigner favorite salon, and their website features many positive testimonies from English speaking clients. A haircut for women costs ¥7,000 while a men’s haircut is ¥6,000. They also offer styling, color, perms, hair treatments, facial waxing, makeup, and eyebrows. You can find detailed directions to the salon on their website.
Website (English and Japanese) https://www.vipcreativehair.jp/
Nearest Station: 9-minute walk from Hiro-o Station
Watanabe Hair is regarded as one of the top hair salons in Tokyo. Women’s and men’s standard cuts are both ¥5,500. Prices may vary based on the stylist, and children’s cuts are discounted. Watanabe also can color and perm your hair.
Website (English and Japanese) https://www.watanabe-hair.com/
Facebook (English and Japanese); Twitter (via Google Translate); Instagram; YouTube
Nearest Station: 9-minute walk from Harajuku Station
Getting your cut, colored or styled in Japan might be a new experience compared to stylists in your home country! Have fun trying new hairstyles and colors. I’m sure you will have a fabulous time!
Peggy / United States