Uryū Ishida is a bespectacled teenager of average height. He has black, raven-colored hair and blue eyes. In school, Uryū wears the school uniform along with a tie, while when confronting Hollows, he typically dons white Quincy clothes with blue stripes representing the Quincy cross and a mantle.
Uryū is generally quiet and solitary but tries harder to act cool when other people are around. Uryū is a member of the handicrafts club at Karakura High School and is highly skilled at sewing. While Uryū does not mind stitching things for his friends, an aspect of his sense of design forces him to add unexpected designs. For example, when he makes new clothing for Chad and Orihime, he replaces the single red line of Chad's original shirt with a red cross, saying that it was "better," and since he could not copy the three white dots on Orihime's shirt, he instead adds frilly lace and two flower-like buds at the bottom. Uryū has low blood pressure and hates procrastination. The other things he hates are quite odd: buttons (despite being an expert in sewing) and the word "haphazard." His favorite food is homemade mackerel miso stew. He likes Don Kanonji's television program "Bura-Rei" so much that he attends the live broadcast of the shot in Karakura Town.
He likes to wear a mantle, even though it serves no purpose other than to make him look cooler, despite the fact that it hinders his movement, even keeping a spare with him. He has a tendency to say things melodramatically. Uryū has proven to be gullible at times as seen during an omake when he starts getting irritated from the fact that a weapon (a Zanpakutō in this case) has a will of own; Ichigo tricks him into thinking that Ginrei Kōjaku has actually materialized, to which Uryū sheds a happy tear. Uryū operates on a moral ethic known as the "Pride of the Quincy" and has a strong sense of justice. He has also shown to be very chivalrous, stating that he enacts justice on men who abuse or treat women badly, leading him to attempt to defend Rukia Kuchiki from Renji Abarai when he and Byakuya Kuchiki came to the Human World to arrest her and when he defends Orihime Inoue during their time in Soul Society. Uryū also has a tendency to not use lethal force in battle, especially if he can win without doing so. Instead, he will simply incapacitate his opponent. Like his grandfather, Sōken Ishida, Uryū is left-handed, and he is also a great archer, capable of insane feats of archery.
As a child, Uryū mostly interacted and trained with his grandfather, Sōken Ishida. His father, Ryūken Ishida, was less than enthusiastic about being a Quincy, claiming that it was not a profitable occupation. They do not appear to be on very good terms as a result, given Uryū's casual use of his father's given name. Sōken understands Ryūken's reasoning, since being a Quincy is more about justice than material rewards and Ryūken has a family to support. Sōken told Uryū that he would someday understand his father's motives, but thus far this is not the case.
At a fairly young age, Uryū's grandfather was killed by Hollows right in front of him while he was not able to do a thing to protect him. This is one of the reasons why he hates the Shinigami, who did not come to rescue Sōken in time. It is later revealed that the current captain of the 12th Division, Mayuri Kurotsuchi, was behind the delay so that Sōken's soul could be collected for study.
- Uryū ranked 5th in the most recent character popularity poll. In previous polls, he placed highly: in the first he came 3rd, in the second, he came 8th, and in the third, 15th.
- His weapons have ranked highly in the Zanpakutō poll, with his Ginrei Kojaku placed 11th, his Seele Schneider 21st and his Kojaku placing 22nd.
- His theme song, as chosen by Tite Kubo, is "Idioteque" by Radiohead.
- In the Bleach best bout poll Uryū's fight with Mayuri came in eighth place.