In a high fashion city like Tokyo, high-quality cleaning is an essential service. Cleanliness is next to godliness, and how you present yourself is vital to your success in business, romance, and social activities. Laundry and dry cleaning service, Japan style, is not quite as easy as it seems.
Most daily Japanese laundry is done in the home or in small laundromats, with almost exclusively natural drying, though newer apartments often have special ventilating systems in the bathroom to compensate for rainy days. For many Westerners, this is a big adjustment (especially in households without balconies), and laundry service Japan can be a lifesaver.
High quality dry cleaning/laundry service in Japan
While there are cleaners on every street corner, you have to be selective about your dry cleaning service. Japan has a reputation as a nation of meticulous detail, and while it rings true in the way they clean and takes care of clothes, any simple mistake by your cleaning service can be highly troublesome later.
Many offer a plethora of services from wet cleaning to ironing and pressing and textile care. On many dry-cleaning shops, you’ll see a sign for “Y-Shirts.” These are the standard white dress shirt service and usually include a heavy press and starch.
This service can be as low as 100 yen, depending on the specials, and is a great way to delegate a repetitive task even when you can wash the rest of your clothes at home. Some business people are known to even keep their gym and cleaners near their office so they don’t have to bring their shirts home!
How much dry cleaning cost in Japan?
Dry cleaning price in Japan varies widely from shop to shop. Some dry cleaners cost as much as 2500 yen for a full suit, but most are around the 1000-2000 yen range.
White dress shirts are often the cheapest full-service dry clean item you can receive, from 100-500 yen per item. While it may be tempting to choose the 100 yen service, it’s that inexpensive for a reason (though some small neighborhood shops will give you a better clean and press for 100 yen than any other in the city).
We recommend you find one you like and stick to it since many offer repeat discounts or punch cards. If you can make a good relationship with your local dry cleaner, you’ll be reaping the benefits for years to come.
Laundry & Dry cleaning symbols in Japan
There are so many beautiful clothes in Japan, but taking care of them can sometimes be difficult, especially when you can’t read the Japanese dry cleaning symbols.
Here is a detailed outline of what each of the care symbols means, so you aren’t left hanging when it comes to dry cleaning vocabulary, Japanese style.
These laundry symbols indicate the maximum temperatures that your clothes can be washed at. The symbol above the two lower numbers is the character for “weak”, meaning to wash it very low on the weakest temperature.
These other are also helpful! 中性 means neutral, meaning no alkaline or base detergents. ネット専用, the second icon, indicates that the item is delicate enough that it requires a net to be used to keep the item safe.
The last two imply the garment must be hand-washed at any temperature under 30, while the red X indicates NO hand washing is appropriate, regardless of temperature.
These are all symbols for air drying. The first means that a simple air dry is fine, while the second implies there should be some shade. The third means to lay out flat in the sun, while the final icon means it should be laid out flat AND in the shade.
These symbols are the most important dry cleaning symbols in Japan when it comes to delicate fabrics. They include the word ドライ, meaning dry clean in Japanese language.
The first symbol means that any dry cleaning solvents or methods are fine. Some clothes require very specific care, as indicated by the second symbol ドライ セキユ系 which means ONLY petroleum solvents can be used for dry cleaning this garment (called Sekiyu-kei in Japanese). The final symbol with the red X means no dry cleaning is allowed.
These are the three symbols for ironing, shown here in order of temperature from hottest to coolest. The wavy line underneath symbolizes the need for cloth in between the iron and the clothes. Make sure you read these carefully, as it can be easy to confuse them with each other.
高 (HOT) 中 (MEDIUM) 低 (LOW)
These last two icons are vital: The first エンソサラシ being chlorine bleach (while a red X delineates no bleach allowed). The second ヨワク is a symbol often exclusive to Japan, meaning to wring the clothes lightly before drying (while a red X means not to wring).
Dry cleaning vocabulary in Japanese
Along with the basic symbols, it’s important to know some basic Japanese that could help you at your local, Japanese-speaking dry cleaners.
These are some important phrases to help you communicate your needs to the cleaners and ensure your clothing is taken care of to your specifications, as well as assuring your dry cleaning fee in Japan isn’t higher than it should be.
|Can I have this (these) done?||KORE O ONEGAI SHIMASU.|
|How much is this/how much are these?||KORE WA IKURA DESU KA?|
|Please remove the stain on the skirt/shirt.||SUKAATO/SHATSU NO SHIMI O TOTTE KUDASAI.|
|When will it be ready?||ITSU DEKIMASU KA?|
|Please use a little less starch.||NORI WA SUKOSHI NI SHITE KUDASAI.|
|Don’t fold it, please.||TATAMANAI DE KUDASAI.|
How to order pick up and delivery dry cleaning service in Japan
Most high-quality English laundry service in Tokyo is centered around the same area, but some spread out a bit farther into Tokyo. Most also offer to pick up and delivery service as well, usually booked online and on the phone.
While each shop is different, make sure you know exactly how you want each garment to be cleaned if you are planning to do it entirely online. Most also have phone hours, if talking to a person will make you feel more comfortable with letting your precious memories go to good hands.
English-speaking dry cleaners in Tokyo Japan
Now you can book Senya through your LINE app! Laundry Delivery/Pick Up is available in Minato-ku, Shibuya-ku, Chiyoda-ku, Meguro-ku, Shinagawa-ku, Chuo-ku and parts of Shinjuku-ku. A basic collared shirt is 250 yen.
Address: 1-11-21 Haneda, Ota-ku, Tokyo 144-0043
Business hours: M-Sa 8:00–23:00 (Reception hours)
This dry cleaner also offers alterations and tailoring, for those missing their local seamstress. They also offer linen services and laundering of household items like tablecloths and curtains. Pick-up and Delivery service is available within Shinagawa-ku, Minato-ku, Meguro-ku, Shibuya-ku and Chiyoda-ku. A basic collared shirt is 280 yen.
Address: 2-4-2 Nishishinagawa, Shinagawa-ku, Tokyo 141-0033
Business hours: M-Sa 9:30–19:00
Pick-up/delivery service is available in the Minato-ku area. They also do weekly laundry services at a significant discount.
Address: 9-1-28 Akasaka, Minato-ku, Tokyo 107-0052
Business hours: M-Sa 9:30–19:00
This company actually ships and accepts packages from all around Japan! Their courier service is actually quite popular, as they’re known for their delicate handling of clothes for special occasions like wedding dresses, kimonos, and costume pieces (postage will be charged). A basic collared shirt is 500 yen.
Address: 2-35-14 Akabane-kita, Kita-ku, Tokyo 115-0052
Business hours: M-Sa 9:30–19:00
No matter how you do it or who you choose, we hope this guide helps you keep yourself and your closet clean and pristine for years to come.
We know that in a new city, even the smallest chore can be a big task, and we encourage using any of these services as your local dry cleaners in Tokyo. Japan is a beautiful country with beautiful clothes, and we’re delighted to welcome you here!
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