How Much Does a Haircut Really Cost at a Japanese Hair Salon?

Written by Tokyo Beauty Stars Editors
October 11th, 2019

Which Japanese hair salon do you go to? I go to one in Aoyama. It’s new, small and cozy. The two hairdresser owners decided to open their own salon, after going independent from a reputable high-end hair salon in Omotesando. My short hair lasts beautifully and comfortable even after two months (short haircuts typically last one month!). I have had my hair cut in various hair salons in Tokyo, but they, they are very good.

My partner goes to a Japanese hair salon for a 1,980 yen haircut. But cheaper doesn’t necessarily mean that their services are rude and rough.

I gladly pay for my 7,500 yen haircut and my partner is more than satisfied with his 2,000 yen haircut. Where do you think lies the difference? To put it in perspective, pause and think for a moment the difference in your budget between a posh restaurant versus a fast-food chain. You are convinced the price difference lies in the quality of the ingredients used and the skills and efforts required for cooking. But you’re wondering, hair salons all perform haircuts, why do the prices vary so greatly? Allow us to give you the insider breakdown on the ways price difference dictates quality and how pricing is set up in Japanese hair salons.

Haircut Prices in Japanese Hair Salons

Salon prices vary depending on the type of hair salon and its hairdressers. In the Japanese beauty industry, hair salons are categorized as follows: “low-priced salon”, “intermediate-priced salon” or “luxury salon”. Price ranges thus reflect the salon tiers.

Low Priced Salon
You see their banners everywhere, advertising a 980 yen or 1,000 yen haircut. Basically, these are salons where hairstylists perform a haircut and only a haircut. That means no shampooing, drying or styling involved. Moreover, hairdressers will let you go on with your day within 10 to 15 minutes. As the unit price per customer is extremely low, these salons need to serve as many customers as possible within the hour. In order to increase the customer turnover rate, hairdressers are not allowed to spend time on each customer. Some feel a little roughened up after the end of a haircut. This explains why this range of hair salons often has a largely male clientele.

Intermediate-priced salon
Moving slightly up the price ladder, salons with haircuts at 2,000 yen to 3,000 yen are categorized as an intermediate priced salon. Increasingly common in suburban Japan, hairdressers at these salons spend a good amount of time per haircut. Most also provide shampoo, drying and styling services. Do note, however, that some charge a separate fee for these services, so it’s best to check in advance when you make the reservation. This salon range is technically acceptable for those who don’t just want a quick cut but would also like shampooing, and is especially recommended for women who only need to trim split ends.

Popular hair salons in the area (High-quality salon)
Salons with haircuts priced at around 5,000 yen to 6,000 yen are often popular hair salons in regional Japanese cities with successful branding. These salons often feature reputable, award-winning owners who have returned from extensive training and an established career in Tokyo. Skilled and sophisticated, such owners are not only good at with haircut but also talented at store ambiance. This is revealed in a tastefully curated arrangement of products, music and decor. Last but not least, high-quality salon owners are very eager to educate their staff and regularly participate in workshops and training academies, practicing when business hours are over to update their hairdressing techniques.

Tokyo Hair Salon (High-quality salon)
Top-notch hair salons in Tokyo exhibit prices in the 7,000 yen to 8,000 yen range. Situated in the city’s fashion districts of Omotesando, Harajuku, Ginza, and Daikanyama, these highly acclaimed salons boast model and celebrity patrons and are often featured on TV and magazines.

Within some of these famous Tokyo hair salons are incredibly popular owner stylists, often referred to as “charismatic hairdresser” in Japanese that frequently appear on magazines and TV. Their immense popularity and following enable them to charge up to 15,000 yen for a single haircut. Shocking as that may seem, hairdressers who have attained a similar level of status in New York customarily charge 50,000 yen to 100,000 yen for a haircut. In comparison, Japanese hairdressers do not appear as extreme when it comes to pricing, despite Tokyo being one of the world’s biggest metropolises.

At Tokyo Beauty Stars, we largely list English-speaking top stylists at Tokyo famous salons who are highly experienced in servicing international customers. If you walk-in one of these famous hair salons on your own, you will be charge the salon’s original listed price. On the other hand, booking from Tokyo Beauty Stars is not only free, but allows you to receive up to 35% off in discounts.

Top Tokyo Hair Salon Deals & Reservations l Tokyo Beauty Stars

We provide Free Online Reservations at English-Speaking hair salons in Tokyo with Exclusive Deals. Check our positive Customer Reviews!

Why are we able to offer such steep discounts? Many hairdressers at top Tokyo hair salons have been or are currently active overseas, typically undertaking training in haircutting academies in London and New York. Oftentimes, this is followed by time spent working in local hair salons overseas for several years. These stylists and hair salons are always keeping their eyes and doors open for international clientele. By welcoming international customers and internationalizing their salons, they effectively differentiate themselves from other salons in a very competitive market. Not to mention, the opportunity for staff to continue honing their skills working with non-Asian hair. This explains why we are able to secure you exclusive prices at these top Tokyo salons. Check out the latest beauty packages and promotions on our TBS website for your next designer hairstyle at the best prices available.  

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The Difference between Expensive and Cheap Japanese Hair Salons Explained

Some hairdressers charge 8,000 yen for a haircut, while others only 1,000 yen. This Japanese hair salon offers a cut and coloring package for 20,000 yen while that just 4,980 yen for the exact same services. Still confused by the wide range of prices? Let us tell you in a few words where exactly the price difference comes from.

1. Rent (location)
2. Product costs
3. Time costs

In general, pricing is calculated is using these three main criteria.

Time costs are simply labor costs per hour. As a rule, time cost is equivalent to about 1,000 yen per 10 minute within the salon industry. In other words, 1,000 yen haircut salons have to finish a haircut within 10 minutes. This is why a 1,000 yen haircut is quick and cheap.

If your Japanese hairdresser takes an hour for a haircut, the equivalent price based on industry standard then comes up to 6,000 yen. Keep in mind an hour-long haircut session includes counseling, shampooing, drying, and styling. Conversely, a 3,000 yen haircut salon that features the same list of services will have to speed up their session.

If, however, the 3,000 yen salon is working at the same speed as the 6,000 yen salon, the 3,000 yen salon is then operating much lower than the market price. This means that they are sustaining a large deficit on their labor costs due to a lack of confidence in their hairdressing skills.

As haircuts have only been performed by the human hand since the beginning of time, the price of a Japanese haircut basically boils down to the length of time required for the hairdresser to perform, location rent, and the quality of products used.

So, in Omotesando, Harajuku, and Ginza where the most famous of Japanese hair salons are lined up in the country’s top fashion districts, salons are paying for the highest in retail rents and charging the highest prices. Being selected by customers from the numerous hair salons within the most competitive area in Japan, while listing haircuts at such high prices – that is truly one of the most difficult things for a Japanese hair salon to achieve.

Why not give a Japanese hair salon a try? Book a salon session with an English-speaking top hairstylist today and enjoy up to 35% off in discounts:

Top Tokyo Hair Salon Deals & Reservations l Tokyo Beauty Stars

We provide Free Online Reservations at English-Speaking hair salons in Tokyo with Exclusive Deals. Check our positive Customer Reviews!