Guide to buying, wearing and caring for your face masks

Where to buy or how to make our own face masks, plus caring tips, donations and more coronavirus-related mask information

Fabric face mask on a table with pink flowers and sunglasses
Photo: Bára Buri/Unsplash

From Tokyo to Toronto, face masks have become an integral part of daily life for many of us as we get used to the Covid-19 coronavirus pandemic. Whether you’re looking to buy face masks, make one yourself, donate them, or even find tips on how to wear and care for them, we've compiled all our face mask features into this handy guide. 

RECOMMENDED: Read our guide on how to go out safely in Tokyo, or anywhere for that matter

How to make your own face mask

How to make a DIY no-sew face mask from t-shirts, socks and paper towels
News

How to make a DIY no-sew face mask from t-shirts, socks and paper towels

Follow these videos to make a simple non-medical face mask – no sewing required

Make your own face mask with these simple step-by-step guides
News

Make your own face mask with these simple step-by-step guides

If you're having a hard time finding face masks in stores, these DIY masks are a handy backup

Tokyo 2020 Olympic torch designer has made a DIY face shield for coronavirus protection
News

Tokyo 2020 Olympic torch designer has made a DIY face shield for coronavirus protection

Download Japanese designer Tokujin Yoshioka’s emergency face shield template for free

Make this fish face mask with the free template by Kindai University
News

Make this fish face mask with the free template by Kindai University

For a bit of comic relief

Advertising

How to care for your reusable face masks

How to wash and care for your reusable cloth face masks
News

How to wash and care for your reusable cloth face masks

Keep your reusable face masks safe, clean and ready to use with these simple tips

How to wear a face mask without fogging up your glasses
News

How to wear a face mask without fogging up your glasses

Use these simple tricks to keep your lenses clear while wearing a face mask

How to avoid discomfort when wearing a face mask
News

How to avoid discomfort when wearing a face mask

Use these handy tips and tools to help alleviate pain and soreness around your ears while you’re masked up

Where to buy or donate face masks

Where to buy face masks online in Tokyo and Japan
Shopping

Where to buy face masks online in Tokyo and Japan

Stores ran out of masks? Here's a list of online shops to purchase reusable face masks or materials to make your own at home

Cool and quirky new face masks and accessories in Japan
Shopping

Cool and quirky new face masks and accessories in Japan

Take your face protection to the next level with these creative face masks and accessories

These face masks are made from vintage kimono – and they ship overseas
News

These face masks are made from vintage kimono – and they ship overseas

Stay safe and stylish with these sustainable face masks that give new life to former kimono

Uniqlo has redesigned its Airism face mask for better breathability
News

Uniqlo has redesigned its Airism face mask for better breathability

The new masks, redesigned following customer complaints, are available online now and in stores

Advertising
A vending machine in Okayama is selling chilled face masks for summer
News

A vending machine in Okayama is selling chilled face masks for summer

As Japan enters rainy season, wearing a face mask can become quite uncomfortable with the rising temperatures and higher humidity. Shibutani Shoten, a car-seat manufacturer in Okayama prefecture, started producing face masks back in late March, and has come up with a more breathable version for the hot and humid summer months. Photo: Shibushokojima/Twitter The colourful masks are made from mesh fabric that’s enclosed by cotton on the outside and silk fabric on the inside, a combination that reduces stuffiness.   児島ジーンズストリートにマスクの自販機を設置しました(*^^*)#ジーンズストリート#マスク#倉敷#児島 pic.twitter.com/byc7bPm554 — 渋谷商店(岡山県倉敷市) (@shibushokojima) May 22, 2020 For residents of Kurashiki in Okayama prefecture, the masks are available from a neighbourhood vending machine located along the city’s Kojima Jeans Street. Since the vending machine usually sells cold drinks, the masks are even refrigerated when you buy them.  There are four types available, including a kids version (9cm x 13cm) and larger sizes for adults, all ranging between ¥400 and ¥850 per mask. The masks come in five different colours, are all hand-dyed and can be used repeatedly – the company recommends washing the mask by hand after each use. If you’re not a Kurashiki resident, you can get yours online (Japanese only).  For advice on how to go out safely in Tokyo, or anywhere for that matter, visit here.   More news How to wash and care for your reusable cloth face masks Osaka is now home to the world’s first Louis

These gorgeous face masks are made from Japanese washi paper – and they're reusable
News

These gorgeous face masks are made from Japanese washi paper – and they're reusable

The woven washi paper face masks come in multiple colours and pair perfectly with a kimono

Here’s how you can donate face masks to medical workers around Japan
News

Here’s how you can donate face masks to medical workers around Japan

Tokyo businesses are getting behind the Fukushigenba ni Mask wo project – you can, too

Donate your unused face masks to charity through this volunteer organisation in Tokyo
News

Donate your unused face masks to charity through this volunteer organisation in Tokyo

Help those at risk of coronavirus by donating your unopened and unused face masks

Advertising

More mask-related news

This smart face mask can translate Japanese into eight different languages
News

This smart face mask can translate Japanese into eight different languages

Made by a Japanese start up, the C-Face mask translates spoken Japanese into text in English, Chinese, Korean and more

Japanese chemistry professor tested three types of face masks for their efficacy
News

Japanese chemistry professor tested three types of face masks for their efficacy

According to one test, disposable paper masks, fabric masks and paper towels could be effective at filtering out particles from the air

This Japanese robot can detect whether a person is wearing a face mask
News

This Japanese robot can detect whether a person is wearing a face mask

Hamamatsu city in Shizuoka is testing out a robot which politely asks bare-faced visitors to mask up

Coronavirus is changing the way Japan thinks about drinking parties
News

Coronavirus is changing the way Japan thinks about drinking parties

As more and more businesses start reopening in Tokyo and across Japan, people are being encouraged to adapt to a new lifestyle to curb the spread of Covid-19 coronavirus. Japan is particularly known for boisterous social gatherings, especially when it comes to after-work drinking parties. So what does the future look like for these types of gatherings? Thanks to a group of office workers from Oita prefecture, we can get a feel for what may become the new normal when going out to bars, restaurants and izakaya in Japan.  政府が求める感染予防を意識した「新しい生活様式」を実践しながら、どうやって飲食店での食事や飲み会をするのか。大分市で、試みが行われました。参加者たちはマスク着用を徹底するグループなどに分かれ、乾杯ではお互いのグラスを接触させないようにしていました。https://t.co/YkM6wR5yFa pic.twitter.com/M2sTRGKVjt — NHKニュース (@nhk_news) May 16, 2020 The salarymen who attended this experimental social-distancing party were sitting strategically, so they were not directly facing each other, and each wore a clear plastic face shield that covered their entire face. During the party, people also refrained from clinking their glasses together when toasting, and when not wearing the face shield, guests covered their mouths with a handkerchief or mask while talking. If you’re thinking of drinking behind a plastic sheet, Oita prefecture has offered step-by-step instructions on how to create your own DIY face shield. You could also try making this one created by the designer of the Tokyo 2020 Olympic torch. Some bars, like this one in Osaka, are even handing out free face shields to customers, so keep an eye

Advertising
Tokyo Q&A: Why do so many Japanese people wear masks?
Things to do

Tokyo Q&A: Why do so many Japanese people wear masks?

Jump on any train walk down any street or enter any workplace in urban Japan and you’ll find many people hiding the lower half of their faces. With so many people wearing surgical masks, it can make first-time visitors to the country feel like Japan is one big hospital ward, or a nation of hypochondriacs, determined to keep germs at bay. Yet plenty of perfectly well everyday folk adorn their faces with these medical masks daily. So what’s going on? Sure, some of the mask-wearers are actually ill and want to avoid spreading their germs. It’s a matter of common courtesy in Japan that people who cough, sneeze, sniffle or just have general lurgies should cover up to avoid spreading their nasties to those around them. Others may choose to wear a mask to avoid hay fever or pollen allergies, which are rife in Japan. But common courtesy in this country goes beyond just avoiding contagion. In a society that emphasises the importance of visual presentation, perfectly healthy Japanese women may choose to wear masks if they forgot or did not have the time to wear makeup. Some people also put it on just to help maintain the skin’s moisture level, especially in winter when the air is dry. Somewhat inevitably, given its increased usage, the surgical mask has become a fashion item in its own right. A well-chosen mask can represent alluring mystery, allowing others to imagine the beautiful face that hides behind it. When combined with meticulously set hair and eye makeup, the mask becomes par