A comprehensive guide for shoppers who want to understand how MUJI clothing sizing and price differ in Japan versus in the US.
When I first started visiting Japan in 2013, I was really excited to shop at UNIQLO and MUJI – two very popular Japanese brands that I was familiar with because they had opened shops in New York City, where I lived at the time.
As I already recounted in previous posts, I’d never really been successful at shopping for clothing in either store while in the US. As a petite Asian woman under 5’3″, I was hopeful that the sizing in Japan would be more of an “Asian fit” (aka – slimmer cut) and the selection of clothing would be wider so I’d be able to snatch up a ton of great items to wear back in the US.
I’ve gotten a lot of amazing feedback on my Japan vs. US UNIQLO size comparison blog post from travelers who were curious to know more about how sizing in Japan differs from the US. Recently a reader asked me more about whether sizing for MUJI in Japan was also different from other countries where their clothing is sold and that got me thinking I should write a post dedicated to shopping for MUJI clothing in Japan!
- Japanese MUJI sizing is generally one size smaller than the US version.
- Based on sizing charts, for most items, you need to go one size up in the Japanese size to get an equivalent US fit (e.g. – JP S = US XS), however, the item length is generally shorter in Japan than in the US, even if you size up.
- Japan’s XS size is the smallest size made by MUJI, but has no equivalent in the US since MUJI US does not carry XXS. Very petite women will want to stock up on Japan XS because they can’t get it back in the US.
But now let’s take a look at some specific examples.
MUJI’s US sizing chart
The MUJI US site has a size chart, but it does have a caveat saying that individual items may have slightly different sizing:
MUJI’s Japan sizing chart
Unfortunately, the MUJI Japan does NOT have a universal size chart on their site we can compare 1:1 with the US chart. Instead, they publish individual size charts for every item on its website, so let’s look at a few specific examples of the sizing listed on the MUJI Japan site versus the US site.
Let’s compare the XS measurements for each based on the chart, plus the measurements I’ve taken myself of the item in XS purchased from Japan.
- US XS = 99.2cm
- JP XS = 96.2cm
- JP XS tag/measured = 74-80cm
- JP S = 99.2cm
- US XS = 38cm
- JP XS = 37cm
- JP XS measured = 37cm
- JP S = 38cm
- US XS = 65cm
- JP XS = 64cm
- JP XS measured = 64 cm
- JP S = 64cm
I’m honestly not sure why the XS chest size is listed as 96cm and 99.2cm for the JP and US versions respectively. When I measure the shirt laying flat on the ground, it’s only about 43cm across, for a max total of 86cm circumference. When I’m wearing it, it’s only about 80cm around my chest and the tag off the JP XS that I have says the chest size fits 74-80cm. (The JP XS tag also notes that it’s for heights 4.9-5.1 ft.)
In fact, if we look back at the US size chart, it also lists that a US XS is for chest size 74-80cm and height 4.9-5.1ft.
However, just based on the published measurements alone, the JP XS is smaller than the US XS, more significantly around the chest (a difference of 3 cm), and slightly smaller by a centimeter each when it comes to the shoulder and length. (The JP XS tag also notes that it’s for heights 4.9-5.1 ft.)
You can also see that the JP S and US XS sizing are more closely matched, however, the JP S is still a smidge smaller around the chest and 1 cm shorter than the US XS version. This also means that there is no US equivalent to the smallest size, JP XS.
Side-by-side size comparison: MUJI shirt Japan XS vs United States XS
I wanted to verify my theory, so I performed an experiment, comparing the XS size shirt I bought at MUJI in Japan vs the same exact shirt in XS from a MUJI here in the US.
I took the JP XS and laid it on top of the US XS, lining up the collars, shoulders, sleeves, and body.
So as you can see from the photo, the Japan XS sleeves are slightly shorter than the US version.
When I tried on both items, I could see that the sleeve width and the body width were slimmer-fitting on the Japan XS than they were on the US XS and the length was also shorter. Although the differences were small, it does impact the fit. The Japan XS fits me better and the shirt has a more tailored look.
Price comparison between MUJI Japan vs MUJI US
On the pricing, the shirt costs 2990 JPY in Japan (which comes out to be around $27.56 depending on the conversion rate) and it costs $29 in the US. Generally speaking, the price difference is slightly cheaper in Japan than it is in the US, but it’s not as dramatic a price difference as it is with UNIQLO Japan vs UNIQLO US.
However, there are sometimes additional sales at MUJI Japan that make items significantly cheaper, like the Rib Knit Mockneck Sweater listed below at 3990 JPY (about $36.77) vs. $59 in the US.
Also, the selection of clothing items in the US stores is extremely limited. You will find a far greater selection of styles and items in MUJI Japan than you will find in MUJI US.
Additional item comparisons
I wanted to compare a few other items to see if my theory of one size larger in the US held.
- US XS = 44cm
- JP XS = 42cm
- JP S = 44cm
- US XS = 37cm
- JP XS = 36cm
- JP S = 37cm
- US XS = 62cm
- JP XS = 61cm
- JP S = 61cm
- US XS = 52cm
- JP S = 52cm
- US XS = 49cm
- JP S = 49cm
Why I prefer MUJI over UNIQLO
Over the years I’ve become a big fan of MUJI over UNIQLO when it comes to buying items like sweaters, shirts, jackets, and denim tops. In general, I find MUJI clothes to have clean, simple lines and a more casual, boxier fit that I gravitate towards. Also compared to UNIQLO, I find MUJI’s clothing to be of higher quality and the focus more on using natural fibers like cotton and linen over hi-tech fabrics, which I really appreciate. I particularly love the MUJI Labo line for more adventurous designs.
However, in my opinion, UNIQLO is still tops when it comes to undergarments and base layers to keep you warm during the cold months. Their HeatTech line is amazing for layering in the winter.
MUJI is also great for homewares and even food! My number one favorite MUJI store to shop in is the MUJI world flagship store currently located in the Ginza neighborhood of Tokyo. It has the widest selection of clothing and even has a diner, restaurant, and a hotel!
Consumption tax exemptions for foreign travelers
Don’t forget that if you are a tourist in Japan you should take advantage of the tax-free shopping offered at participating MUJI stores if you spend over 5,400 YEN. Depending on the store, you may need to go to a special tax-free cashier or you may be able to get your tax-free shopping at any cash register. Look for signs when you are going to pay.
Happy shopping! Let me know if you found this article helpful by leaving your thoughts in the comment section.
Also, check out my other Japan travel articles like: