What Is Japan Like For An Overweight Tourist?

Wondering what is Japan like for an overweight tourist? In this article, you will learn all about the positives and negatives of visiting Japan as an overweight person.

Japan boasts one of the lowest obesity rates in the world with only 3.6% of the Japanese population having a BMI over 30. 

As a result, there have been numerous misconceptions that claim overweight tourists are going to have a hard time in Japan due to the conditions being more befitting towards slim people.

However, Japan is welcoming of tourists from all countries irrespective of their physique and in fact, Japanese people are quite polite with everyone they meet. 

However, if you’re a plus-size tourist to Japan then there are some factors you should be familiar with just to ensure you have a convenient time. Read further to know more!

What Is Japan Like For An Overweight Tourist?

As a curvy person, my visit to Japan has been very jovial. The Japanese people are indeed quite polite and virtuous in that they don’t rudely comment on anybody’s physique.

Albeit a few services might be an annoyance for obese people, the overall journey and experiences in Japan were quite memorable and euphoric. 

Plus Size People Are Not Alien To Japan

Firstly, not everybody is cognizant of the fact that there are obese people in Japan too albeit significantly lower compared to most Western countries.

Those who have such assumptions should take a look into sumo wrestling. Sumo is the national sport of Japan where two heavy-weight participants wrestle each other.

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The average weight of a Japanese sumo wrestler is between 300 to 400 pounds and they’re required to consume above 700 calories daily.

Sumo is definitely a sport the Japanese people are enthusiastic about and you won’t see any Japanese person criticizing the physique of the sumo wrestlers. 

This is adequate to prove that the Japanese people are used to seeing large people and don’t belittle them in any way shape or form.

If the Japanese are accustomed to seeing 300+ lbs sumo wrestlers then coming across a tourist who’s above 200 lbs isn’t a big deal for them.

Some Accommodations Aren’t Ideal For Overweight Tourists in Japan

Japan is one of the most popular tourist-friendly destinations in the world that welcomes over 200,000 tourists annually.

This attribute of Japan has attracted countless businesses to open new accommodations that cater to the diverse preferences of tourists. 

From ordinary 3 stars and 5 stars hotels to capsule hotels, ryokans, cottage inns, and whatnot, there are numerous accommodation options all across Japan to choose from. 

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Being an overweight tourist to Japan myself, I didn’t face any mishaps trying to check in at 4-star or 5-star hotels.

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The beds were resilient enough to hold my weight (mind you I’m 250 pounds), the rooms were not too compact, and I didn’t find it uncomfortable to fit in. 

Similarly, this was also the case for me even in ryokans. A ryokan is basically a Japanese inn that’s similar to a wooden cottage and consists of spacious rooms furnished with futon beds.

The futon beds are like mattresses placed on the floor where you can sleep. This type of bed might be an inconvenience for some overweight people who suffer from stiffness as these may worsen body pain.  

However, previous to checking in at traditional Japanese ryokans you can always consult them to find out if there are any inns that are furnished with regular beds which they should be because not all tourists are accustomed to sleeping on futon beds. 

Furthermore, capsule hotels are a no-go for obese tourists. These capsule hotels are very compact that can only accommodate slim and average-sized people. 

Shopping For XXL Clothes in Japan Can Be Difficult

The Japanese people are generally smaller and slimmer than most Western people. This is not a frowned-upon stereotype but rather a fact most people are aware of.

Hence, most clothing and apparel sold in Japan are specifically tailored to fit slender and average-sized people. Most popular Japanese apparel stores like Uniqlo and Shibuya 109 generally offer one-size clothing. 

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If you’re shopping for clothes that fit you in Japan then it’s going to be very challenging because there are not many places where you can find plus-size clothes.

In fact, even the sizes of clothes are limited to large (L) which is basically medium (M) in American sizes. Only in rare scenarios, you’ll come across XL, XXL, or XXL clothes. 

Nevertheless, there are a bunch of stores such as Big-B, 4L, Sakazen, etc that provide clothing for overweight people.

In fact, there are also a couple of clothing boutiques in eastern Tokyo where most sumo wrestlers purchase. These shops might have the sizes you’re looking for.

Yet make sure to keep in mind that there are nuances to the clothing sizes in Japan compared to American and European sizes. This means a large-size dress in Japan might be smaller than your actual size. 

Alternatively, you could also resort to international branded stores in Japan like Zara, Adidas, Louis Vuitton, etc where the apparel is sized accordingly for Westerners.

Public Transports in Japan Are Convenient For The Most Part

Public transportation like buses, and trains are the go-to transportation modes for numerous Japanese people.

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In fact, even tourists to Japan prefer using public transport to travel across the nation since they’re reliable and cost-effective. 

As a plus-size tourist to Japan, the most awkward moment for me was using the public transport system. It’s ordinary for the natives to gaze at tourists in any country.

Despite being familiar with this fact, I still felt very insecure when a few people were gazing at me on the trains in Japan. However, these looks were out of curiosity and not meant to look degrading. 

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Coming back to public transport in Japan, I frankly didn’t feel comfortable on the trains due to me occupying more space on the shared seats and the absence of armrests in some trains was irking me the entire ride.

On the contrary, on buses, I was able to have a comfortable traveling experience, especially when I was seated in the back seat. 

Unfortunately, the bus seats at the front may not be ideal for every big person depending on your size. Furthermore, the Japanese people were very compassionate and even assisted me during my bus ride. 

If public transport isn’t for you, then you can either hail taxis or go for a vehicle rental option.

Taxis in Japan are spacious and guaranteed to offer one of the deluxe services yet the fares are exorbitant and may not be budget-friendly if you wish to prolong your stay in Japan.

Entertainment Activities In Japan Don’t Discriminate Against Physique

When traveling to a new country you most certainly would prefer entertaining yourself like the natives.

In Japan, entertainment is widely appreciated as you’ll come across regular sports events, anime conventions, music concerts, and plenty of other engaging programs. 

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What you should know before partaking in any such activities as an overweight tourist, is that as long as you don’t disturb the other person next to you, they honestly don’t mind anything about you.

Just make sure that in stadiums or concerts you don’t block others’ views and ensure they’re comfortable with you as much as you’re comfortable with them.

Although the seats and the capacity in certain entertainment zones might be a setback for obese people, they’re occasionally manageable.

In addition, certain areas in Japan like parks, jogging tracks, cycling zones, and amusement parks pay heed to the requirements of overweight people thus you won’t have trouble fitting in. 

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A crucial factor to remember is to be confident in your own physique. If some circumstances call for interacting with the natives then don’t let your insecurities make you anxious.

The Japanese people love to assist and if they go out of their way to help gratuitously due to your weight then accept the favor and respond kindly. 

Choose A Japanese Restaurant Wisely For Comfortable Seating

Restaurants are everywhere in Japan and particularly the metropolitan city of Tokyo is the heart of traditional and international cuisines.

There are massive restaurants in Japan that can accommodate over 100 customers. Such restaurants and eateries are not the most challenging experiences for an overweight tourist because they’re quite similar to the restaurants you have back home. 

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However, most traditional Japanese eating rooms have compact booths with small stools that are congested with customers, and even eateries with floor seating are quite the ordeal for obese tourists like me.

For one, you have the fervor to experience what it’s like to eat like a Japanese but are in conflict with yourself because you’re aware you’re unlikely to fit in such venues comfortably. 

The stools are definitely not for people above average size and when these eating venues get packed with customers it’s going to be a hassle to maneuver for outsized people.

However, don’t let that bother you because there is a plethora of restaurants both traditional and modern that can accommodate obese customers.

The only prerequisite is to check if these restaurants are accustomed to fitting in overweight people as they should. 

How Do The Japanese People View Obese Tourists?

As we’re all aware, the Japanese people possess ethical caliber hence they’re polite and amicable with all tourists regardless of race, gender, and physique.

You’re not going to be called out for being an obese tourist in Japan nor will anyone openly criticize your facade.

You might get a few looks thrown at you by some Japanese people but it’s all about curiosity and nothing judgemental.

However, there might be certain circumstances where a bunch of people, especially the younger crowd might jokingly comment about your weight or even ask you what you’re eating.

This is simply done for fun and not to intentionally body shame you, thus such remarks shouldn’t be taken seriously. 

Therefore, be confident in your own shape and only pay heed to the positive euphoric vibes while in Japan.

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