How to Find the Perfect-Fitting Bra in Japan
A to J Cups And Everything In Between
It might seem like an impossible task, but we are positive: you can find the perfect bra in Japan! Whether you’re an Audrey type or more of a Marilyn, we are here to help you find the right one for you.
Let me take a brief break from dating to talk about a very important topic: bras. It might seem trivial but many foreign women in Japan have difficulties sorting out this subject. Regardless of your size, you are bound to run into some issues with the sizing, where you can find your size and how these necessities are priced.
When I first came to Japan, I was very naive to think that all shops would carry the North American standard A-to-D range of cup and band sizes variations. Long story short — I was very wrong.
After the underwire in one of the bras I’d brought with me from Canada went suddenly AWOL, I thought that finding a replacement in Japan would be “easy enough.” Like I said, I was naive.
I walked into my local department store only to notice immediately that, while indeed I could find A to D sizes, the alleged D cup bra fit less than half of my actual chest. The shop staff heard my incredulous sobbing from the change room and politely informed me in her limited English: “No, no. Japan small. You. No.”
while indeed the sizes came in A to D, the alleged D cup bra fit less than half of my actual chest.
Getting The Right Size
Japanese bra sizes — on average — are smaller than those available overseas. According to Triumph International Japan’s Lingerie White Paper, the majority of Japanese women fall within the B to D cup range. You will have to keep in mind that a Japanese C is essentially a North American B.
Based on my experience in Japan, you simply have to add two cup sizes to whatever your North American size is and convert the band size from inches to the nearest centimeter. Another option to find your size would be to use an online converter. However, this may not be your actual size as every store and style has its own slight variations, so I strongly recommend getting a fitting done before making any purchases — or ask the store staff to measure you.
To find your basic Japanese bra size simply add two cup sizes to whatever your North American size is and convert the band size from inches to the nearest centimeter.
Bra Stores In Japan
Here comes the hard part. Now that you have a rough idea of what bra size to look for, where should you go?
Lately, some international brands made their way to the Japanese market and you can find brands such as Intimissimi selling online or instore. On the good side, these brands will give you American or European sizing but they still will be priced on the expensive range, carrying a high-end vibe to them. If you feel like trying out some Japanese brands, we made a selection for you!
Found in trendy shopping areas like Shibuya 109, Peach John carries bras in a variety of colors, sizes, and styles, usually in matched pairs with (sometimes tiny!) underwear. Its sizes run from an A to E cup, although the larger you go, the variety and color choices decrease drastically. Their online shop does technically carry up to a G cup, however, the band size seems to tap out at 80 cm.
While I personally have never had any success in this shop, I know a few women that swear by this brand and won’t wear anything else. Their prices tend to run a bit higher than other Japanese brands as most bras (without their matching panties) land in the ¥3,400-¥4,500 range. But if you don’t mind wearing last season’s patterns, their winter and summer sales are great events to check out!
Also considered a “fashion” bra store, aimerfeel tends to be located in youth-oriented shopping centers more than family-based ones. This shop sells the majority of its bras in sets, they also carry extra straps, expanders (for the band), cute room wear and even garter belts! The sizes available instore run from an A to E cups, with a separate and smaller selection of bras coming in F, G and H cups (the largest size available would be an H80).
One of the nicest points though, is that all the bras come in cute, sexy or fun patterns — no plain bras for bigger girls or uncomfortably childlike prints for smaller ones. Prices at aimerfeel are very reasonable with most of the bras costing around ¥2,000-¥4,000. Like Peach John, they often have great sales: a friend of mine once walked out with 8 bra-and-panty sets in her size for ¥5,600.
Amos Style is a Japan-specific shop operating under the Triumph International brand. It can be found in more family-friendly shopping centers across Japan — specifically in Aeon Malls. Running from an A to a G cup, the band size here taps out at about 85, although the number of styles and available bras in their largest sizes varies greatly from store to store. If you are not under a bra emergency, some stores will offer to order one in for you but you may have better luck doing so yourself on their online shop.
The styles offered here tend to be a bit more demure, with plenty of lace patterns and floral prints to choose from, and there are more cup styles as well when compared to the more youth-centric shops. Side-note: you can also get some pretty fabulous T-shirt bras here. Prices range widely; sale items go for around ¥1,600 yen, while their larger sizes can cost anywhere from ¥4,500 to ¥7,000 yen — or even a bit higher. They do fittings, and there are some friendly English-speaking staff in their shops as well.
Brands in Department Stores
High-end Department Stores
As many will have noticed, there are major differences between department stores in Japan. At the more high-end level, (think Isetan or Mitsukoshi) you will find Triumph and Wacoal brand shops, usually on the plus size or business fashion floors. Triumph tends to have a few styles instore, more geared towards older women and with more foundation garment options than bras. They still carry A to H80 cups in much more muted patterns and colors than Amos Style. The prices in the Triumph stores, however, tend to be a bit on the higher end of the scale — prices range from ¥3,400 to ¥18,000.
Wacoal, on the other hand, has several sub-brands to it: Wing, Acute, and Amphi being just three of them. Amphi bras are sexier styles, they come in A-G80 cups (with G only having eight styles to choose from) and cost from ¥2,500-¥5,000. As the name is suggesting, Acute bras are cuter and carry more delicately feminine styles. They come in A-H80 cups (only three styles to chose from in the larger end) and run about ¥2,000-¥4,000, prices depending on size. Wing has the most variety when it comes to style and sometimes even carries the other brands in shops as well: its bras come in A-F85 cups (three styles to choose from in the largest size), and cost from ¥3,000-¥5,000 each.
Supermarket Related Department Stores
Ito Yokado or Sogo kind of department stores do have their own clothing departments in their larger locations. Bras in these shops tend to come in A to G cups, sometimes as high as a 90 cm band width, and range in price from ¥1,500-¥8,000 depending on size and style. The selection, however, is very limited; they may only come in beige, white or black for some styles and are — as one of my friends says — “Very granny friendly.” If you are in a bra-related emergency and not too fussed about what it looks like so long as it keeps your chest in place, then, these stores are your best and fastest option.
Plus-size Bra Shopping
For plus-size women, who may convert their bra size and discover that they are an H, I, or even J cup in Japan, things will be a bit more difficult for you I’m afraid. Other than ordering bras online from overseas brands or asking for those exclusively for Christmas and birthdays, you do have two major options in Japan: Smileland and Rui Glamorous.
Smileland is a plus-size store, run by the catalog shop Nissen, and comes up to a 10L (8XL North American) for women. Their webshop is very useful but if you want to try on before you buy, they do have some physical shops as well — mostly in Ito Yokado department stores across Japan. Their bras come in a wide variety of styles and colors, from plain to downright racy, and, sizes from an A80 to I100 are available online, again depending on the style. Prices here are the cheapest you will ever find — most bra-and-panty sets cost just under ¥3,000, so this is also an incredible bargain!
Rui Glamorous is an online-only shop dedicated to ‘glamor-size’ women: think Marilyn Monroe, Jane Russell or even Mae West. Bras here — starting at an F65 and going up to a J90 — come in cute, sexy, neutral or even scandalous styles. The prices are amazing too: from ¥1,100 yen up to ¥5,000, with the majority of items coming in around the ¥2,300 price range. They also carry business shirts and jackets that are guaranteed not to gap or bulge awkwardly.
You can also get your selections shipped to your house and pay cash on delivery, as well as return the items that don’t work for you through delivery service. The only downside to this site is that it is all in Japanese, so if you aren’t confident in your language abilities, you might need to get some help when shopping here.
If you do need help finding the right bra for you, and want to make some new friends, you can always drop me a line here — I love shopping!