Funny Things you Need to Know about Umbrellas in Japan

Umbrellas, known as 傘 (pronounced as “kasa”) in Japanese, are essential to life in Japan. There’s a culture built around it and it may leave you with a chuckle. In this blog, Smiles will present you with interesting and comical facts about umbrellas in Japan. Check to see if you’ve experienced or witnessed the “umbrella culture”.

Funny Things you Need to Know about Umbrellas in Japan

Table of Contents

You can never have too many umbrellas at home

Japan has calm rainy days but it also has aggressive days when the wind picks up and flips your umbrella inside-out. It’s expected that one-third of most months will have rainy days, according to the Weather Atlas. With that in mind, everyone will have at least more than one umbrella in their home. Based on the Global Umbrella Survey, Japan had shown that people have an average of around 3 umbrellas.

umbrella statistics
Source: Sunnycomb

Umbrellas are the only thing people steal in Japan

Japan is known to be one of the safest countries in the world. You can leave all of your belongings at your table in a cafe, go to the restroom and come back with nothing being stolen. Generally, people are harmless in Japan and there’s no need to worry about easily becoming the victim. 

However, only one item in Japan will most likely be taken away from you: your umbrella. We’ve been victims of this, unfortunately. Leave it outside the convenience store; there’s a chance that it’ll disappear when you’re about to exit the place.

Alex Knight photo
Photo by Alex Knight

There are lockers especially made for umbrellas

Since umbrellas in Japan are frequently stolen items, some places have free umbrella lockers. They’re placed right outside of the shop. All you need to do is set your pin code after you place your umbrella in a loop. When you’re about to leave, you enter your pin code to get your umbrella.

Umbrellas are sold everywhere

Umbrellas in Japan can be purchased almost anywhere in Japan: convenience stores; malls; supermarkets; train stations; 100 yen shops. Check out some places we’ve found for you:

There are umbrella specialty shops

If umbrellas are a must-have in Japan, there have to be places that only sell umbrellas, right?

Yes!

Waterfront is a store in Japan that will help suffice your umbrella needs. They have two locations; one, located in Jiyugaoka, Tokyo, is four floors and all of them display a variety of umbrellas.

You’ll see a murder scene of umbrellas after a storm

Umbrellas are everywhere. Ripped material and bent metal from them are commonly seen after a storm rolls through Japan. Many of them are stacked on top of each other near trash bins or you may see some abandoned near train stations or convenience stores. It’s an umbrella massacre.

Stores have plastic covers for umbrellas in Japan

For stores that don’t have umbrella dryers, they may have umbrella covers for you instead. They have dispensers where you can slip your umbrella through a hole and a long plastic bag will cover your umbrella. After you’re done using the cover, they have trash bins attached to the dispensers for you to dispose it.

Bring a small umbrella with you even if it looks sunny outside

We have been victims of being drenched because we left our umbrella behind. To help prevent you from making the same mistake, we have one piece of advice for you: bring a small, easy-to-pack umbrella in your bag. Even if it’s sunny outside and the forecast doesn’t call for rain, there’s still a chance that a random storm could pop up in the middle of the day.

Alex Block photo
Photo by Alex Block

Japan is inevitably an umbrella country. Have you known about everything mentioned above? If you’ve encountered anything interesting related to umbrellas in Japan, please feel free to share it with us. We hope you stay dry during the rainy season.

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