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Japanese culture has two sides, traditions and modernity.
You can find them everywhere such as architecture, food, and fashion.
These days, Japanese culture has an image of “kawaii” fashion culture, but on the opposite side, there is an image of old kimono(着物) fashion.
着(ki) means to wear, and 物(mono) means things, thus kimono was basic clothes for people in Japan literary.
Today we will explore how kimono was developed in Japan, and what kinds of kimono people wear.
Kimono History in Japan
The original type of kimono is developed in Heian period (710-794) when Japan stopped trading with 唐(Tang, current China) and developed a unique Japanese culture. The straight-line cutting method is the basis of today’s kimono.
The current kimono style (shape of kimono and ways to tie obi) was almost completed in the Edo period (1603-1868).
In Meiji period (1868-1912), western clothes were introduced in Japan, and official clothes for government officers became western style.
In Showa period (1926-1989), which is the war era in Japan, people did not wear kimono often because kimono restricts body movements and people can not run fast.
Nowadays, most Japanese people wear kimono only in special occasions, such as tea ceremonies, weddings, and summer festivals.
Few people know how to wear kimono, so there are lessons to learn how to wear it.
While the number of people who wear kimono is decreased, there are more styles of wearing kimono than before.
Some people wear kimono mixed with western style such as high heels, a hat, accessories.
Types of Japanese Kimono
There are several types of kimono, especially for women. Here are 5 types of kimono you should know.
Shiromuku is wedding kimono, and brides wear this at the wedding at shrines which is a Japanese traditional wedding style.
Furisode is formal kimono worn by unmarried women. Furisode has longer sleeve than other kimono, and the patterns represent good luck charm.
Homongi literally means “visiting clothes”, so women regardless of age and married or not wear this in official events or special occasions.
This is the most basic kimono people wear in daily life.
Homongi and komon have a similar shape, however, The pattern in kimono between homongi and komon is different.
While one big pattern is pictured in homongi, small partterns are pictured in komon.
People can wear komon in a simple way, or wear in their own way with accessories such as ring, hat, gloves, etc.
Yukata fabric is cotton and people wear in summer or after taking onsen. Japanese people used to wear kimono as underwear so it is not suitable for official places.
if you want to wear kimono in Japan
Kimono Rental Shop
In Japan, there are many shops you can rental kimono. Depends on your budget, place, pattern, occasion, you can find rental shop.
Process of rental kimono shop is very simple.
Make a reservation, go to the shop, pick of kimono whatever you like, get dressed and explore the city, and return within designated time.
You don’t need any belongings. Just go to the shop and enjoy.
This is the easiest way to experience kimono.
Wearing By Yourself
To wear kimono, it is not very easy at first. However, if you want to wear kimono more than twice, buying kimono is cheaper, and you can wear anytime!
While rental kimono costs around 5000 yen per once, buying kimono and all tools to wear kimono cost 15000 yen to 25000 yen (This depends on the quality of kimono and how many kimono accessories you want).
How can you learn the way to wear kimono?
Taking lessons is the most certain way, but you can learn by watching YouTube videos, searching on the internet, asking Japanese friends, find your own way!
If you want to start practicing, you should start from wearing yukata because it is much easier than wearing kimono.
The best thing about wearing kimono is you can learn the beautiful behavior in Japanese culture.
For instance, since you tie your back with obi, your back straightens and it makes your posture better.
Another example is kimono makes your movement slower and quieter. In Japan, especially when people wear kimono, to walk very fast, talk loud, or showing a lot of skin are not suitable. The unique shape of kimono helps you with learning those behavior.
Wearing kimono is definitely one of the things you should experience in Japan.