Japanese Hair Salon Experience -- Elephant Nose

3:13 PM Jean Melgar 9 Comments

Note: This was originally written on December 2014.
Warning: Photo heavy

I'm fresh off the salon chair and I want to write about it before I forget the details because it is all sorts of awesome.

I like having good-looking hair. Who doesn't, right? But I'm really a chicken in trying new styles. Basically I have two, straight long and straight bob. I usually just get my hair colored or get the color retouched and get a trim to remove the nasty split ends that never seem to go away. My hair grows pretty fast and it's hard to keep up with all that maintenance and expenses so I let it grew. For years.

I knew I was going to Japan before Christmas. I couldn't get my hair done before leaving for Japan because that is way too far from Christmas. My  hair will grow out again and will look meh during the holidays. You might ask, why do I care so much to look my best during the holidays? Well, first, it's the holidays for crying out loud! Parties and pictures every where. Second, this is the time I meet the man of my dreams. Nuks.

I decided I'll just try to find a decent hair salon in Japan. I heard it's quite expensive but from what I read, it's also worth the price. I also wanted to experience it. It's not often I'm given a chance to get my hair done outside the Philippines. So I asked a fellow foreigner, who is technically a Japanese citizen, for a recommendation. Good thing she is scheduled to visit her fave salon, Elephant Nose, which is owned by her friend. She told me we can score some discount. Sweet! I was definitely in. 

Let me now share with you what happened.

We were scheduled at 10am. In Japanese hair salons, you typically have to make a reservation. Walk-ins are welcome but you are not always guaranteed you can be immediately accommodated. Surprisingly, Elephant Nose was full on a Friday morning. I thought there wouldn't be a lot of customers but it was a good sign. A lot of locals trust this salon. Good!

Once we entered, the owner/manager who also happens to be the husband of my stylist, greeted us at the door. A staff approached us and asked for our coats and bags to be put in lockers.  My friend sensed my hesitation and assured me it's safe. We were then seated at the waiting area with a big mirror in front of you and magazines to choose hairstyles from. My stylist then approached us and introduced herself. She is my friend's friend so it was easy. She was also very kind and warm. She asked me if I have a style in mind. I told her I have a couple I want to show her. She said we can discuss more on the chair. Once your stylist and the area allotted for you is ready, they will guide you there carefully. Listen, the Japanese are crazy with their service. I mean, I don't know how to properly put it but you are courteously assisted EVERY step.

While on was on my chair, the stylist then carefully assessed the situation that is my hair. She then asked for what I want. Since I couldn't speak Japanese (yet!), I had to show her a photo of what I wanted. She said the peg looks great however she thinks it's too short for me. She doesn't want to chop it all off. So she suggested that we adjust it a little bit. She also suggested we just retouch my hair color so I won't spend millions on it. But the hairstyle I wanted needed a perm, I just told her to go! Give me a digiperm. Off we go!

This was my hair peg. Coincidentally, I was wearing a similar shirt during my salon appointment.

My hair was then prepped by an assistant. They applied something to my hair prior to coloring. It was applied all through out the areas where color will be later applied.

My hairstylist then jumped in and applied the color to where they are needed, mostly the roots. It was left on for 20-30 mins then I was assisted gently like a princess to the shampoo area. Oh the shampoo. More on that later.

After shampooing my hair, my stylist then proceeded on cutting my hair. Nervousness overload! After cutting, a new assistant came over to prep my hair prior to perming. The product they put was only applied to areas where it will be permed. This was left on for 20mins.

The assistant came back with another assistant and proceeded to apply more product to the same areas. It was again left on for 20mins.

I was shampooed again. Divine!

My stylist and another assistant proceeded to perming my hair. I had two options, normal or digital perm. I chose digital since it would result to a more normal looking wave and would last longer.

I looked like a Christmas tree.

They warned me that the curls would look crazy but no need to be alarmed. After perming, they applied a product that made my crazy curls into a more relaxed beachy wave. This was a first for me.

After that, my hair was washed for the last time. I was also given a hair treatment to give shine to my hair and a head massage that I didn't want to end. Divine, I tell you!

The ceramic wash basin was heated OMG. There was a warm towel around my neck. The shampoo smelled soooo good. The water had the perfect temperature. Most of all, they massage your head and neck every time. Plus, they assist your every movement. They ask you to sit perpendicular to the chair first, then they will help you lie down, then they will put a warm towel over your legs. I swear I didn't want to leave the shampoo area!

I devoured their magazines and coffee/tea/juice service. I think I was served 4-5 times. :)

Here's how I looked in the end. We adjusted the hairstyle to match my face better and I didn't mind at all.

I spent my whole day in the salon and shelled out more money than usual but I do not regret it. In fact, I loved it! Japanese people are so kind and polite, especially the guys and girls of Elephant Nose. They were all sorts of nervous because I'm their first non-Japanese speaking customer. There are other foreigners but they all speak Japanese. Almost all the staff came by my area and greeted me in English. They even introduced themselves. If ever I'm in Morioka, Japan again, I will definitely go back there!

Ta-da! Until my next visit! ありがとう!


  1. Love it! It totally suits you better than the original planned haircut! :)


    1. Thank you so much, Jhanz! :) I really like it.

  2. You look great! And your experience at Elephant Nose does sound incredibly divine. :D

    1. Thanks, Raisa! :) It was! I'm so tempted to go back.

  3. Gandaaaaaaaaa! Ok pa ba yung perm mo? Huhu I want a digiperm but my bleached hair will melt!

    Ang cute ng name na Elephant Nose lol.

    1. Thank youuuu! :) May remnants pa, the ends are still wavy. I don't know what to do with it now. I'm at the awkward length.

  4. OMG your hair looks perfect! The color looks really good too! <3 I want rin tuloy huhu

    1. Thanks, Sherica! :) It doesn't look like that now. hahaha I need a new hairdo. What are your plans for your hair?

  5. I love your hair! I want to experience a legit japanese salon experience din!

    They all seem so nice!! Laging nakangiti pa <3