I’ve been fashion obsessed since birth, and playing dress up in my mom’s jewelry (all of it at once, naturally!) is one of my fondest childhood memories. As an adult, I still believe that playing dress up is good for the soul… so when I found out that Kimonos are still somewhat commonly worn in Kyoto (and that visitors are happily encouraged to wear them as well) I could hardly contain myself! It was a fashion bucket list experience being dressed, wrapped up, and tied to perfection in this traditional Japanese garment. So I wanted to share my kimono experience with you in this whimsical style post, because it’s my blog and I can do what I want to!
If you’re planning a trip to Kyoto scroll to the bottom for deets on how & where I rented my kimono.
I’ll be honest… the kimono was significantly less comfortable than my street clothes. I was wrapped up like a burrito in such a way that I had to walk with tiny steps (in wooden shoes), and I had about 10 layers of fabric around my midsection in 90 degree heat. Yet somehow there was a beauty in the discomfort. A sense of solidarity in the fact that I was experiencing the same discomfort that Japanese women experienced for hundreds of years. And then there’s the more frivolous aspect that the Kimono is just plain beautiful and I literally referred to myself as “pretty kimono girl” all day 😉
I wore my kimono for our traditional Japanese tea ceremony as well as some sightseeing around the Arashyama bamboo forest, both were the perfect setting to fully enjoy my traditional garb.
How To Wear A Kimono In Kyoto:
The easiest way to transform yourself into a “Pretty Kimono Girl” for the day is to rent one. There are kimono rental shops in all of the major sightseeing areas, so you’ll want to plan which day/area you’re going to want to dress up keeping in mind you need to return the kimono that evening. I suggest reserving your kimono online because you need an appointment time to get dressed, and weekends especially book up fast. I used Wargo kimono rental shop.
The cost is 3000-5000 yen depending on which type of kimono you choose (appx $30-50 USD as of right now). The rental package includes the undergarments, robe, obi, sandals, purse, and they’ll put your hair in a simple French twist with a pin. You can also upgrade to higher quality kimonos, a straw bag, add an umbrella, or request a fancier hairstyle… the sky is pretty much the limit for how fancy you want to get! I chose a mid range Yukata which is a seasonal summer kimono.
When you come in for your appointment you get to choose your robe & obi and they will dress you properly. The kimono rental place I used also holds your street clothes for the day (you get your clothes back when you return with the kimono).
P.S. I will be posting a full travel diary soon. Happy weekend loves!