Your guide for going to a Japanese Nail Salon

This post came to be because many ladies asked me about the specifics of Japanese nails in Ask Anything. So I thought I’d make a post and hopefully answer a lot of the questions. Thanks everyone for asking, I’m always happy to do requested posts if I have the capability to do so :heartsmile:

Egg model Nemoyayo and her gorgeous nails from Carry

Egg Model Nemoyayo at Carry Ikebukuro


Make an appointment!!

Walk-ins are incredibly unheard of and I promise you will win the award of super horrible gaijin if you do so. Even if you walk-in, try to make an appointment in person for the next day instead.

Show up exactly on time!!

Too early and the staff feel rushed and it will unsettle the atmosphere. If you’re late it’s beyond unheard of. Apologize profusely. Lateness is considered a horrible trait.

At your appointment:

When you show up you will probably be asked to sit in the waiting area (usually small) and possibly asked if you’d like a drink. Usually it’s the choice of cold or hot tea.

My view from the waiting room of Shibuya Carry. Notice the giant Sparkly hello kitty? The woman in the pink jumpsuit is a hostess, we chatted a bit.

Most beauty places give you a locker or ask to take your bag. Or they will give you a small wooden basket for you to put your bag in. Go with the flow and let them take it or stow it.

You will be given a small lap blanket. No matter the weather or the inside temp. Let it drape on you, this is to keep your outfit clean while the nailist works on you.

Nails take quite an amount of time. I’ve taken as long as 4 hours to remove + sand + new set. Nail places allow for these long chunks of time. Once you are there they will make the upmost effort not to make you feel rushed.

Choosing your set or style

Nails are designed in steps.

:star: 1. ACRYLICS

First you choose the color of your acrylic (or gel). In every case of nail salons I’ve been to it’s a board of colors with sparkle or no sparkle. Colored acrylics are always in Japanese nail salons. However, if you’re considering putting nail polish on all your nails (not french or bare) then choose the non-colored cheapest acrylics since colors do cost more.

Bare sparkle acrylic forms by Carry

Bare sparkle acrylic nails, the beginning of a set by Carry

:star: 2. LENGTH and SHAPE

Secondly they will ask length (どんぐらいですか don gurai desu ka?) and shape (形 かたち katachi). Nails are always done on forms not TIPS! I know tips are very common in American nail salons, but most Japanese nail salons do not do tips.

My nailist at Shibuya Carry shaping acrylic forms.

My nailist carefully shaping the acrylic on forms. Bare nails waiting for acrylic as well.

Forms often have either numbers or letters on them. Carry’s forms have S-M-L. So you just say エスで / S de / I want S or エスとエム中で / S to M naka de / Between S and M.

Then they will ask shape which is either:

OVAL / オバール

SQUARE / スクエア

SQUARE OFF (square but rounded at the ends) / スクエアオフ

ROUND / ラウンド

POINT / ポイント.

:star: 3. DESIGN

My nails right after being airbrushed. They look quite horrorshow. Don't worry it wipes off easily :D I think it looks quite fun :D

While they’re doing this process you will have time to consider your design. All nail shops have photobooks of their favorite nails. Carry’s is full of models showing off their nails with Kanako, Kaoru, Romihi, Rumi, Nana all posing in their books with their new nails. Books always contain a nail shop’s selection of current nail trends and prized nail art.

Carry also had boards of their newest designs. When a nailist at Carry isn’t with a client they’re usually working on a nail tip to make new designs.

New nails by Carry Shibuya. The new trend within gal nails is the use of Minx prints on nails. Apparently they've learned to work them on acrylics.

Please remember that the more work parts/stones/paint jobs you do, the more expensive it will be. For a first time into a shop there’s always a discount, but do expect to pay around $100 USD+.

Once you decide your design, the nailist with double check everything with you from color to shape. Each time you are slowly walked through the process.

:star: 4. GEL COAT

Once everything decided and your nails are finished, they will ask if you want a gel coat. A gel coat is necessary if you have parts on your nails. It’s a stiff outer coat that keeps jewels or big parts from falling off. Even in Houston my salon does a gel coat to keep my parts on and together.

In Japan the gel is thick and heavy and takes a while for it to be painted on each nail and set under a UV lamp.

:star: 5. OIL FINISH

Once it’s set, the technician will usually ask if you’d like OIL or LOTION to use for your cuticles. OIL is the most common. RoungE has scented ones you can choose, Carry just has simple OIL.

:star: 6. AFTER NAILS

You will commonly be asked if you’d like a drink. Your choice is usually hot or cold tea. They will lead you into the paying area and you can relax while they work up your bill. If you have a point card they will ask for that and possibly give you a discount.

Designing yourself

For Ask Anything, Maki asked if it’s okay to bring designs.


Yes: If they’re generic and not from a rival store.

Yes: If they’re hand drawn.

Since I was a Political Science major I was stuck in a lot of lectures. Some of which by senior year I was used to hearing, so I would often draw nail designs in class. I think my notes are 80% nail designs and 20% actual classwork. Sigh I’m a slacker student :depressed:

I would bring these to Carry and we’d discuss them. I think my conversational level is passable, but it’s definitely easier for me to communicate through drawings. Especially when talking about specific work. Admittedly I would often come in with a design and instantly change it when I saw their new work, or something in their nail book that caught my eye. :wink: Too much eyecandy!

When I went to RoungE I simply said 私の誕生日のネイルだからきれいな姫になりたいです aka They’re my birthday nails so I want them to be for a beautiful princess. :cheery:


Two popular gal nail shops are RoungE and Carry. Both are located in Shibuya although they have multiple locations. Models from all the gal magazines go to either of them.


address: 東京都渋谷区道玄坂2-10-12スヤマビル7F
shibuya hot pepper link with coupon:

Map and picture taken from their website. See how close it is to 109 :stars: A ton of este places are :up:

RoungE is a bigger studio with several nailists. Their set-up is the popular one with larger nail places. You’re given a comfortable chair and a mini TV with local channels in front of you. The nailist works on either side of you. While I found the TV nice and distracting, with 15+ people all using their TVs and controlling the volume it can be a bit of a noisefest. I watched Detective Conan when I was there LOL. I’m not a big anime lover, but lol Japanese TV not much on sometimes :-D

While RoungE is capable of extreme nail art, their speciality is doing simple and elegant nails. Which is sometimes my theme, but not always. I also felt the kneeling beside me to do my nails was a bit princessy in an uncomfortable way. It was hard to discuss anything with someone sitting in a tiny chair next to you like Mini Me :(


ikebukuro address: 東京都豊島区池袋2-44-2 ITSビル3F
ikebukuro hotpepper with map and coupon:
shibuya address: 東京都渋谷区道玄坂2-25-9 ロマーネ80-3F
shibuya hotpepper with map and coupon:

The famous Carry in Ikebukuro. Models go here for both hair, eyelash extensions and nails.

The famous Ikebukuro Carry. Several floors dedicated to hair, nails and eyelash extensions. Many models go here for any of the three treatments.

Carry is my preferred nail salon and if you’ve read the Doll you know I’m a junkie for them. At the Ikebukuro and Shibuya salons both ladies are quite wonderful. Gals of all types go in there, and it’s just gal. Agejo hostesses to shy teens getting their first set. I can safely say it’s one of the places within the gal world I’ve felt the most comfortable. I may be a gaijin but through frequent visits I was THEIR gaijin. :heart:

Carry also has the more typical nail salon set-up you’re used to in the States with a table and you’re facing your nailist. Carry shops are very small, just 6 seats available for people to get work done. It’s an intimate atmosphere and fuels conversation. I talked my nailist, customers next to me and other nailists. I really miss that place. :upheart:

My regular nailist at Shibuya Carry. She lives in Yokohama and likes Glad News. She's also quite lovely.

In both salons they have a large flatscreen mounted. They either play music video dvds (like Koda Kumi, Ayumi Hamasaki and Exile.) The Shibuya manager loves hiphop so often they play hip hop dvds (censored of course). Sometimes they show movies on silent and pump in recorded music from LA Radio stations. I’ve never heard Japanese music on their radios.

One of my nailist's nails from Shibuya carry. Notice the fabulous sparkle Ayumi Hamasaki symbol :D

Carry is expensive, probably moreso than regular salons. Although Carry specializes in the things gals like: long nails, several parts, large stones, custom 3-d work, and more. These things add up. For me I was happy to eat horribly cheap for 2 weeks in order to afford it. It was also a great conversation piece with shop staff and such. :stepup:

Learn through nails

Here is a nail dictionary in Japanese of different nail terms used in salons. It’s quite a lovely website in general to check out if you’re nail obsessed.

Below are some simple phrases to practice when thinking about getting nails done at a salon. You will not get by with just these, but it helps to become familar with them :heartsmile:

Yoyaku iretain desu ga
I’d like to make an appointment.

Atrashii setto hoshi desu.
I’d like a new set.

Akurikku neiru
Acrylic nail.

Jeru neiru
Gel Nails


Swarovski (abbreviation)


Kore to Kore dochira houga ii desu ka?
Which one (of the two) do you think is better?

Neiru no shashin arimasu ka?
Do you have any photos of nails?


  1. July 22, 2010 / 9:00 pm

    Bless you! This is great!

  2. July 22, 2010 / 10:37 pm

    Wow, you are just way too fab and the number one western gal imo. Who else would put all this info and photos together just for other’s benefit? Thank you for always sharing your vast gal knowledge with us, I know we all appreciate you so much Miss Mitsu!

    Those nails are sooo sooo pretty, and I think actually the cost is not very high considering those girls are doing 4 hours of tiny handiwork. I personally won’t be getting nails, but this was so interesting and very useful indeed!

  3. July 22, 2010 / 11:45 pm

    While the pointy-ness of the nails in the pics makes me go “EEK!!” I love the amount of description you’ve given, to calm the nerves of any gaijin entering the hallowed walls of Carry.

  4. nihongo
    July 22, 2010 / 11:57 pm

    パッスじゃなくて→ パーツでしょう?

    • Mitsu
      July 23, 2010 / 12:40 pm

      Thanks for the heads up. You’re right and I was wrong.

  5. July 23, 2010 / 12:52 am

    Wooooah! I LOOOOOVE that entry!! ♥♥♥♥
    It has ALWAYS been a dream of mine to go to carry u__u;
    But for just holidays too expensive and sad ’cause I’m not allowed to have such nails at work! (;_; )
    Probably I will have the chance next year! Yay!

    Btw, what I’d like to know, how much does a FULL set, with stones and everything cost? Just an example..
    ’cause I know that in nailsalons here, they would want around 160$ + with such an huge amount of decoration and everything.. horrible!

  6. Kallen
    July 23, 2010 / 12:54 am

    It wasn’t necessary to make this comment. I assume you meant to sound intelligent, but in actuality you simply sound rude. If you don’t like her blog entries then don’t read them and don’t waste your time commenting. The only thing you’ve accomplished here is making yourself sound pretentious.

  7. July 23, 2010 / 1:13 am

    yay! a nail post! i was thinking of getting my nails done in japan while im there this september~~

    dunno if i can afford it tho >.< maybe ill splurge ^^

    i usually spend about $80 here, in ca and only get 5 nails decorated!

    great post as always~~ <3

  8. July 23, 2010 / 1:23 am

    Love this post !!

    I love nail-art and I always had liked to know as were the nails salons in Japan

  9. July 23, 2010 / 1:24 am

    I am not touching most of this, though the pretension, arrogance, and cowardice (名前無し? cute) are impressive, but I do want to point out that a キャバクラ is, in fact, a hostess club. If you’re going to affect Japanese fluency, the least you could do is be right.

    • 名前無し
      July 23, 2010 / 3:03 am

      I never said that *I* was fluent. Where did I say that?

      Yes, a キャバクラ is short for a キャバ倶楽部 (which, might I add, is already shortened from “cabaret club”) but 倉 definitely means “warehouse,” and thus, I’m pretty sure cabaret warehouses wouldn’t be very popular.

      Maybe YOU should actually be right before affecting Japanese fluency. Although you never said you were fluent either, I realize.

      Good luck with JET thing, and a cabaret club is still not a hostess club. Look it up. Or visit one, seriously. They’re two different things. I feel that a hostess would be offended if you called her a キャバ女.

  10. July 23, 2010 / 1:26 am

    WTF? “My friend keeps linking this to me and bitching about it…” If you have a problem with her DON’T READ IT!!! It’s HER Blog and a lot of girls LOVE her entries …
    Also echt mal … ich kann jetzt grad kein Englisch, muss es aber loswerden!
    Was soll so was denn bitte?
    und dann noch so FUCKING FEIGE sein und nicht die eigene Mailadresse angeben huh????
    Verpiss dich einfach und lass Mitsu ihr Ding machen …
    Bist doch bloß eifersüchtig, weil sie so viele Leute mögen …

  11. July 23, 2010 / 1:47 am

    T T this makes me want to get my nails done SO BADLY. but as you obviously know, it’s not that practical for a student who has to do a lot of typing on the computer…so sad~~ why can’t we be more dexterous with those gorgeous claws ;)

  12. July 23, 2010 / 1:53 am

    haha way too many people hating on language technicalities. chill brothers. it’s a nail post first and foremost.

    anyway super informative post, i love your nailist’s ayu set!

  13. July 23, 2010 / 5:41 am

    Oh dear…. :cry: *ignores upper comments*
    Mitsu, I just want to say that I loved this post & I thought every tip you gave was very helpful! Being that you have had multiple experiences in Japan & specifically with getting your nails done at a Japanese nail salon, I really take your opinions to heart :hearts:
    Keep on being fabulous you~!

  14. July 23, 2010 / 5:56 am

    I walked in to Hime Nails [a Japanese nail shop here in OC] and the girl looked at me like WTF?! :evil: I didnt know the whole appt thing -_- lol thanks for this post, i know what to expect now. [sooooo different from vietnamese shops]

  15. 1kyu
    July 23, 2010 / 7:33 am

    If you are going to bitch about other people’s Japanese, you should really check your own first, mmmkay?

    クラブ NOT 倶楽部 – the 当て字 is not used in this case- and hardly used at all (omg, didn’t you check the ~Japanese wiki~????)

    キャバ嬢 NOT キャバ女 – じょう not じょ. Yeah, sounds like you REALLY know your hostess club vs kyabakura stuff well…..

    この日記で間違いたことがいっぱいあるけど -> 間違えた NOT 間違いた (haha)

    「外国人のみんなも悪い」と思う日本人が多いかもしれません。(T_T) -> が NOT も Time to crack open that GENKI I textbook again, huh? Didn’t you run this sentence through the *Japanese Google*???

    私の初めてコメントは「こんな日記に間違いがたくさんある!」というな叫びでしたけど、-> 初めてのコメント You forgot a particle again, omfg!!&! Seppuku TAIMU!!!

    etc etc


    Why are you so worried about how japanese people view foreigners? You want to protect the precious ~NIHON NO BUNKA~??? give me a break….

    Japanese people working at these salons are adults, and I’m sure they can handle it if a foreigner happens to come into their shop. They don’t need your protection. Would you complain about a japanese blog recommending shops in your home country to other japanese people who can’t speak the language well? It’s fucking ridiculous. The internet is full of japanese people making mistakes in english, but you probably don’t care about that, do you?
    If you wanted to make a comment about her japanese, the classy ~上品~ thing to do would be to email Mitsu directly, not be a total petty little bitch and rip on her on her own blog.

    Also, 私にも外国人なのに、みつさんのブログを見たら是非嫌だな感じの外国人気がしました。 WTF does this mean? ブログを書く為には、詳しく情報じゃなくてみつさんに他の人から褒めさせるの理由かもしれない。 Too full of mistakes to even correct. Funny that you think your better than all the other types of foreigners, ~wwwwwwwwwww~

    • 名前無し
      July 23, 2010 / 7:43 am

      LOL, might I have said from the very beginning that I’m not great at Japanese and that this is why I don’t run a blog about Japanese things.

      • 1kyu
        July 23, 2010 / 7:55 am

        So why do you use other peoples’ blogs to state your mind? You’re “spreading incorrect information on the internet”, and you also apparently did not check wiki or google before posting…. even though you told Mitsu to do so.
        If you get pissed every time a japanese person acts all smart and spreads around false information about gaikoku or shitty english, you must be perpetually pissed. I hope you never turn on a TV here (or for that matter, speak to anyone!)

      • Irebun
        July 23, 2010 / 8:34 am

        lols it’s like the pot calling the kettle black. :I

    • 名前無し
      July 23, 2010 / 7:46 am

      Oh, and for the record, I’d be just as annoyed at Japanese people professing to know a ton of shit about American or European or whatever culture, if they frequently got things wrong and screwed up English at the same time. XD For the record.

  16. July 23, 2010 / 7:48 am

    I very enjoyed this post very much. It was really lovely of you to write something this informative and to answer so many of our reader requests :) So much effort has clearly gone into this and I just want you to know that I absolutely appreciate the effort you’ve put into this post and to everything else on your blog <3

  17. Maki
    July 23, 2010 / 8:26 am

    Geez, what’s with all the wank? I doubt anyone takes this blog (or any other blog) as a serious be all-end all source of information about Japan or Japanese language. It’s just a fun read and place for people to gather with similar interests. Mitsu takes a lot of time to answer everyone’s questions and be as helpful as she can, but I think most readers are smart enough to know that no one’s perfect and we should always look for further info.

    That said, thanks for this post :) The etiquette part was particularly helpful, it gives me an idea of what to expect when I go next :)

  18. Mitsu
    July 23, 2010 / 8:27 am

    I’m more than happy to have people correct me. I also welcome discussion, I don’t shy away from it. I think you insulting my language proficiency is a little far. I also think you judging my language level by a few missteps is just a bit biased on your part. That being said, I’m often wrong in Japanese. It’s why I’m heading to language school.

    This is not a blog for teaching Japanese, I think it’s one of the only times I’ve done it. It is also very rarely a discussion on culture. Mostly it’s a talk on fashion, which has its own language. If you don’t like how I speak about fashion, culture or language that’s fine!

    If you disagreed with things I said in the Agejo article I’d love to hear it. Honestly. Or any other one.

    I thoroughly admit I have a gaijin’s perspective on things, as you do as well. Since I am not a hostess much of my knowledge has come secondhand. If it was so objectionable why did you wait to correct me? I knew that article was going to be controversial so I did pass several parts of it through peer review.

    Have I ever said OMG I KNOW ALL THERE IS TO KNOW I COULD NEVER BE WRONG is b.s. I’m often wrong. I just try to do answer things to the best of my ability.

    Take objection with pieces of it, correct my Japanese, go for it. I’d rather present a balanced piece of news that gets out.

    Of course Japanese people shouldn’t have to read my blog, they have a lot of other resources. Lucky them!

  19. Irebun
    July 23, 2010 / 8:29 am

    Oh lawd.
    who gives a shit~? -above-
    I just wanna learn about Nails~~ :hearts2: :hearts: :D

    Great post~<3
    I've been contemplating getting nails like those~ :cheery:

  20. Neena
    July 23, 2010 / 9:15 am

    Do all gals have the super long nails used in the photos? do any girls use ones that are short and neat and square? Just out of curiosity :)

  21. July 23, 2010 / 9:31 am

    this is one of my fave posts of yours yet :up:

    -Coco :hearts2:

  22. Suteisi
    July 23, 2010 / 10:19 am

    Great post!! I love reading about these kinds of things!! Nails are so awesoommmee~~ :hearts:

  23. July 23, 2010 / 10:33 am

    NAIL LOVE :heart:
    I really want mine doing now
    and I’m glad you posted this, over here it’s really common to just walk in
    So I would have done that in Japan and been horrible :icon_eek:

  24. July 23, 2010 / 12:36 pm

    thank you SO MUCH FOR THIS POST!

    I was desperately waiting for it to come out! I will definitely be making (an appointment) a visit to CARRY when I get to Japan, and this has helped out so much!

  25. Katrin
    July 23, 2010 / 12:42 pm

    I loved this post as well! :bow:

  26. July 23, 2010 / 2:19 pm

    this is so useful!
    in about a week I’m going to Japan and I’ve planned to get my nails done there, so this post will be really helpful, thank you very much! :korila:

  27. Lindsey
    July 23, 2010 / 3:56 pm

    Thank you so much for another time consuming and glorious post! I’m always thrilled to see your take on various aspects of the GAL world. I’m also so glad for this post on nails, the salons have always seemed a bit of an intimidating mystery to me! Thank you for doing your very best to shed light on the subject!

    Just as a sidebar, I’m so sorry that there are people out there that feel like they have to insult you and your best efforts to get attention! I’m cheering for you and I hope there are always more happy things and excited comments then those left by inconsiderate persons of the world wide web!

    As always I’ll continue to be a faithful reader! You go girl!!!!!

  28. July 23, 2010 / 4:03 pm

    I would love to know about shortish squoval (or square off) nails too! My hands are tiiiiny, and I can’t wear my nails super long, pointy or with that many or big parts because I’m at art school and have to use my hands all the time :/. I have to settle on simple designs.

    Anyway, another fabulous post!

  29. July 23, 2010 / 5:18 pm

    Well, I thought this was a great post – I have never had my nails done before, anywhere, so it is really informative and helpful for me!

    As for the troll, you have to wonder how sad and pathetic their life is if they have that much time to nitpick, be totally pedantic and display a complete lack of grace or even basic social skills. Don’t let their negativity rub off on you – great post!

  30. July 23, 2010 / 6:00 pm

    Thanks for the post! I think it’s very informative! It’s incredible the amount of time you must have put in this post! I saved it in my favourites =D

    and just my 2 cents about the troll… If I had people react this way whenever I made a language mistake on my blog… I would have stopped trying to speak English years ago… so yeah, next time people, don’t feed the troll. Ignore it =)

    • July 23, 2010 / 6:01 pm

      (and I’m just assuming it’s a troll because that person wrote like he/she hangs out on 4chan so…)

  31. Justine
    July 23, 2010 / 6:11 pm

    (Haha about the troll comment ^^)

    Although I’ve never been to a Japanese nail salon, this is an amazing post and props to you for posting it!!!

  32. Linda
    July 23, 2010 / 8:52 pm

    Thank you for posting this!! (^O^)
    I love nails <3
    I hope the next time I am in Japan I can get my nails done.

  33. July 24, 2010 / 4:16 am

    I personally love the post. It’s great to have some help when it comes to this kind of thing, and for you to write about something you have experienced and KNOW – that’s really good of you. Thank you~ :love:

    I’m not going to bother with arguing with the above person, because it’s not worth it.
    All I know is that when I used to work in a tea room – where we would have plenty of Japanese tourists visit – I found it lovely and a rather respectful thing to do when they would try to speak English, even if it wasn’t 100% correct. I have seen numerous amounts of Gaijin when I have been in Tokyo slowly shout English at Japanese people, which I find incredibly rude and ignorant. So I am sure that they are just happy to have people try to speak Japanese, whether it’s level 2 or not.

  34. MacaronTea
    July 24, 2010 / 4:12 pm

    I am so happy that you wrote about salons there! :korila: The inside pics are wonderful. If I ever get over to Japan an appointment at Carry would be so dreamy! I’m surprised to see the nailist with such decorated nails and still able to do splendid work (when I ask my nailist here she always tells me they get in the way). :mrgreen:

  35. ホリー
    July 24, 2010 / 4:41 pm

    I tend to get my nails done because I bite mine (I know, disgusting!) but they’re so short there’s no “free-edge” to sculpt onto. I’ve tried it myself but they just end up super brittle and break ):

    I’m sad this means I probably won’t be able to keep on getting mah nails did!

  36. July 24, 2010 / 6:31 pm

    Love your blog. Don’t listen to the haters.

  37. ThomasVye
    July 25, 2010 / 4:34 pm

    Shocked at the haters. Totally sounds like jealousy and bitterness to me. I love to read your blog, even if I am a chronic lurker, and I enjoyed the post v. much (though I no way have the patience to sit for four hours at … well, anything much really!) :D

  38. July 25, 2010 / 5:02 pm

    Ugh, trolls are such losers. This isn’t a LANGUAGE blog. And that’s all I’m going to say about that.

    I love this post. I’ve always been curious about how much nails like these cost, the time involved, etc. It almost makes me want to go to nail school so I can learn the basics, and then take supplementary classes so I can learn amazing designs like this! There need to be more salons like this in the US.

  39. July 26, 2010 / 2:18 pm

    WOW thanks for this amazing, informative post! Until the haterz make their own blog with a post like this and make it somehow “better”….lolz….I am gonna keep following YOUR blog, Mitsu. :)

  40. BabyStarbucks
    July 31, 2010 / 4:37 am

    I just bumped into your blog and goesh i love it ! Usually i just check out all the pics in blogs but this one has really interesting topics. And i love it how you seem to be so kind hearted and open minded girl. you have such a wonderful way to write AND your topics are helpful too. Thank you so much for sharing all these lovely things with the readers ~ <3 Ill keep following your blog in the future as well. ;)

  41. July 31, 2010 / 12:38 pm

    It is very funny that you ended up getting so much drama on what has to be one of your best posts ever! Honestly! I consider myself pretty brave, and have gotten my hair cut in Tokyo, but was too intimidated by my one year of basic Japanese rubbish to get my nails done or go to a ganbanyoku salon—two things I really, really wanted to do.

    I’m going back in september, and I think I’ll try it out, thanks to you! Great work!! I really appreciate all the work and care that goes into your blog. You seem to be writing it for us, not just for you, because you really want to help. I like that teacherly attitude! :D

  42. August 1, 2010 / 2:13 am

    this post is fabulous mitsu.. arggh @ that unnecessary drama above.. seriously, does that person have anything better to do?? if they’re so insulted and offended, all they have to do is stop reading… stop making things bigger than they really are.. blowing things too out of your proportion.. ><

    but im glad you handled it in such a mature way, and again.. kudos to you for a great blog post :) <3 i will definitely refer to this if i ever do go to japan (hopefully one day) and want to get my nails done..

  43. August 1, 2010 / 2:14 am

    oops i meant to say “out of proportion” , not “out of your proportion” . lol

  44. October 12, 2010 / 6:34 am

    I was just recommended this post by Violet — thank you for posting this. I figure since I’m in Japan, I should try extreme nails at least once but it’s totally intimidating doing it with no knowledge.

  45. MIO
    September 26, 2011 / 11:58 am

    Oh my godness!!! AYU NAILS! ♥

    • Mitsu
      September 29, 2011 / 5:56 am

      They are awesome!

  46. Lisa
    January 25, 2012 / 8:57 am

    Hiii, I LOVE this blog! I will be going to Japan in April and I REALLY want to get my nails done, so thank you for this entry!

    Just one question: You say it’s rude to just walk in a nail salon. How do japanese people make appointments – by calling? Since I don’t speak japanese, I will most probably just walk in and make an appointment for the next day but the way you wrote it made it sound like it wasn’t appropriate either!

    What do I do? Is my future plan on this okay?? D:

    • Mitsu
      January 25, 2012 / 10:42 am

      The best thing to do is ask your hotel to call and make the appointment. Or if you’re staying with a friend they should be able to as well. Hostels etc… Will agree to do it also.

      • Lisa
        January 31, 2012 / 11:08 am

        Ah, is that so. Thank you very much for the answer! :)

  47. Broookieee
    October 8, 2012 / 7:28 pm

    I just moved to Osaka about 1 month ago and in the states Ive been doing nails for 6 years… Ive always stayed up to knowledge on the ins and outs of my job and always been able to find jobs very easy…. Jobs in this area for gaijin to get is sooooo hard to find!!!

  48. January 7, 2013 / 11:05 am

    hi, just found this particular post as i’m interested to have my nails done. which salon in Houston did you frequent for nail art/3-d art?

      • January 7, 2013 / 8:48 pm

        Thank you! I’m making my appointment for Thursday. I’ll send you a pic with the results :)

  49. April 28, 2013 / 5:50 am

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  50. May 11, 2013 / 10:50 pm

    Ooooh my goodness this is so helpful! Thank you! :D

    I will be going to Japan this summer and SERIOUSLY want to get my nails done. This will be very helpful in my search! <3

  51. lily
    November 5, 2013 / 3:16 pm

    Hi thanks for the article…really useful while I am in Japan. But just wondering how much does it cost to do nails in Japanese Yen, I mean a minicure?

    • Mitsu
      November 5, 2013 / 8:23 pm

      Manicures are pretty unheard of without gel or acrylic. A lot of nail salons do not have polish colors with acrylic are done via airbrushing. You may have to look a bit to find one and maybe I’d say around $40

  52. lily
    November 6, 2013 / 6:52 am

    Thank you Mitsu for the information…appreciate your feedback..

  53. February 26, 2014 / 9:43 am

    nice work

  54. Meli
    April 24, 2014 / 1:35 pm

    WOW! Amazing post, so happy to discover you via Google! I’m about to print this now :) Arigato!! <3

  55. Nia
    June 11, 2014 / 6:01 pm

    Hi! I love your blog thank you so much for this blog post! It’s interesting seeing how getting your nails done in Japan is so different from other places! Anyways, I had a question, I’m planning on going to Japan and getting my nails done and I wanted to know if you’re able to get larger/longer nails than L size. I see Kuro gal’s always getting those super long nails and I wanted to know if your able to get that. How would I ask for that? Would I say, can I have LL nails? And how does that process work? Would they put two forms on?

  56. Chanel
    October 12, 2014 / 12:27 pm

    I’m super interested in checking out carry!
    Just so I know how much to bring, what was the price range of your nails?
    I want to go all out crazy… Haha hopefully I can afford my needs

    • Mitsu
      October 12, 2014 / 2:07 pm

      The priciest can range upwards of 25000 yen. First timers get a discount. Usually 5000 off.

  57. scg
    November 19, 2014 / 4:25 am

    hi! thanks for making this helpful blog post, i’m about to go to japan soon!

    i clicked on the RoungE coupon link and you can book online – would you recommend doing this? i’m not sure what the forms are saying at all aside from a google translation but it would be handy for me to book online.

    • Mitsu
      December 2, 2014 / 6:49 pm

      I book online for my appointments since it’s just easier. However if you’re using google translation are you comfortable with going to a Japanese speaking nail salon?

  58. Lies
    December 29, 2014 / 12:28 am

    Hi! Those nails look amazing, do any of the nail salons you’ve mention speak english? I could try speaking japanese but I am more then just terrible.


    • Mitsu
      December 29, 2014 / 10:25 am

      You might want to search salons in the Tokyo Roppongi area. They won’t do the quality of work most other salons but they will do a solid job.

  59. RedHotYamada
    July 15, 2015 / 3:50 pm

    Do you have any recommendations for my 6-year old daughter to get her nails done? She has really small child nails, so I don’t know if every (or any) salons would do her nails, but she really wants to get her nails done while she’s in Tokyo.

    • Mitsu
      July 16, 2015 / 11:45 am

      It’s not really the thing to do in Japan. Again manicures are thought of as gel or acrylic. Rarely even polish.

      • RedHotYamada
        July 17, 2015 / 6:24 pm

        Do you mean nail salons there won’t do nails for children? But it is okay for adults to go do them. I was specifically thinking gel or acrylic, like from the salon’s catalog.

        • Mitsu
          July 28, 2015 / 6:47 pm

          I am unsure really, I’ve never seen a child in a nail salon. I don’t think I’m really qualified to assist.

  60. Carole
    July 30, 2015 / 4:01 am

    Thank for your blog! I wanted to get my nails done in Tokyo so it was helpful – especially good to know that walk ins aren’t the done thing!

    I ended up going to Espoir Shibuya salon at the Success Shibuya Building and was so impressed! A lady at the reception in my hotel called and booked for me which was very helpful as they didn’t speak a lot of English. My appointment was booked for 5.30pm but I was asked to go at 5pm and was sat down, selecting nails pretty quickly after 5. All in, I was there for about 2 hours and the girl did an amazing job! Although she didn’t speak English, through samples, pictures and a translating app on her phone, she spent ages working out what I wanted and they are perfect! I got them done 2 weeks ago and they still look great.

    I got discount as it was my first appointment and the price was ¥7,250 for a 90 min appointment (although I was there 2 hours). A great experience and would really recommend it to anyone else! I will definitely be back whenever I am back in Tokyo.

    The website is

    Is there a site that you can review salons as I’d love to leave them a review with a pic?

  61. Lowrie Iongi
    September 16, 2015 / 6:44 am

    Hello , i was on google search and came across your blog about nails , i live in osaka and i was wandering if you know of any nail courses or training around osaka in English ?

    kind regards


    • Mitsu
      September 24, 2015 / 3:13 pm

      Nail Partner teaches courses in the Osaka area. TAT nail shop in Shinsaibashi should give you more instruction or may offer classes there.

  62. September 23, 2015 / 5:44 pm


    What is their view on doing nails that are extremely short and small? Is it still possible? I have tiny nail beds and I have been biting my nails pretty bad the past few weeks.


    • Mitsu
      September 24, 2015 / 3:14 pm

      As long as they are not too weak they can do any nails. Gel regular length of your nails is usually recommended since acrylics need support to stay on.

  63. Valarie
    December 20, 2015 / 7:20 am

    Hi I came across your blog and its great. Im not Japanese but i adore these nails, the technique, the style etc. I really want to open a Japanese nail salon in my country but I need someone to teach me how to do the nails. Do you know any schools or places I could look up?


    • Mitsu
      December 21, 2015 / 1:14 pm

      A japanese nail school in japan but I would suspect you need to learn some japanese first.

  64. Beatriz
    December 30, 2015 / 10:24 am

    I loved your post , it was really helpful. I have gel nails made here in Brazil ( my country ) by Kokoist ( a Japanese brand of gel nails with a branch here ) and I’m going to study in Japan in January. Do you know how much usually is the maintenance ( when the nails grow and you fill the new space ) without painting or anything? And if I can buy unprofessional nail polish to paint by myself ?

    Thank you so much for your time and the post ♡♡♡

  65. Janice
    October 9, 2017 / 6:43 pm

    Hi, I will be travelling to Osaka in mid of November and I myself is actually a freelance nail artist in malaysia. Would need your advise any place for me to purchase gel colour and nail accessories? And definitely I will go and try the nail service in japan!

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