How to rent a Japanese Kimono in Harajuku, Tokyo

10:16 PM


Whenever I travel to foreign countries, I always try to immerse myself in different cultures and traditions. While it is convenient to explore a particular city as a ‘tourist’, I strongly believe that the only way to maximize the experience is to immerse yourself in their traditions and practices. In that way, by the end of your trip, you can say that your trip was truly authentic. 

During my last visit in Japan, other than visiting Shinto Shrines and Buddhist Temples, I was able to explore Tokyo’s beauty in a traditional Japanese Kimono. When I was plotting my itinerary for my trip, I came across a Kimono store near Meiji Shrine called Kimono Tokyo. This was originally not part of my itinerary, but when I visited their website, it inspired me to tour around Harajuku in a traditional Japanese Kimono.

A traditional Japanese Kimono is very intricate and extremely delicate; it is the type of garment in which women have to move around with finesse and grace. In Japan, wearing a Kimono is considered an art rather than a fashion piece. There are different styles for every occasion, and there is a specific guideline on how to put on each layer.

In this blog, I will share some tips on where to rent a good Kimono in different areas in Tokyo.

First, let’s differentiate a Kimono from Yukata. Both have the same traditional Japanese style, and both have a specific set of rules on how and when to wear. A traditional Kimono, however, is worn during formal events and festivals, while a Yukata is used during casual gatherings. Another difference is their fabrics; a Kimono is made from fine silk, while a Yukata is made from cotton fabrics, which is why it is commonly used during summer season.

Traditional Japanese Kimonos come in different styles: Furisode – a full-length sleeved Kimono, 39 to 42 inches in length, Komon – a casual Kimono with repeated patterns, Homongi – a formal Kimono that is commonly used by Japanese women on traditional gatherings, Iromuji – a plain colored Kimono, used for tea ceremonies, Tomesode – a formal Kimono worn by married women, Mofuku – a black Kimono, used for mourning, Tsukesage – a traditional kimono used by the bride on her wedding ceremony, Susohiki /Hikizuri – a long trailed Kimono, worn by Geishas, and Junihitoe – the most formal Kimono style that is commonly used by Japanese court-ladies. This particular type of Kimono is the most difficult to wear because it consists of 12 layers.
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HOW TO WEAR A KIMONO

I can’t really tell how to wear one because it takes a skilled person to put each layer on. Like I mentioned, the art of wearing a Kimono is very complex, hence, you’ll need another person to dress you up. Putting it on by yourself is next to impossible.

The most difficult part of the whole process is putting on an obi, or a thick sash wrapped around the waist. After wearing layers and layers of robes, my kimono stylist wrapped a hard, bendable thick belt around my waist to hold my obi into position. This is also to accentuate the curves of a female’s body. Then, the stylist started tying complex knots to make a huge ribbon on my back. Although I was having a difficulty in breathing normally (because of my tight obi), it was still my favorite part because it can be tied in different stylish ways.


And since I can’t tell the entire process on how to put on a Kimono, here’s a time-lapsed video of the whole process.



WHERE TO RENT A KIMONO

There are plenty of Kimono Rental shops in Tokyo, Japan that are adjacent to tourist spots like Sensoji Temple, Meiji Shrine and Yoyogi Park. Since it is common for local Japanese women to rent a Kimono, rather than buy an expensive one, Kimono rental stores are available in various metropolitan areas in Tokyo like Shibuya, Harajuku and Ginza. Of all the Kimono rental shops in Tokyo, I’ve decided to go to Kimono Tokyo because it is near Meiji Shrine and Yoyogi park. Also, upon checking their selection, they have the most exquisite designs.


Kimono Tokyo is located along Takeshita Street, near the Harajuku train station. Takeshita Shopping Street is also known for Kawaii shops and sweet crepes.

The rental store has a wide variety of designs, from plain elegant Kimonos to Kawaii patterned Kimonos. A basic set costs 4000 YEN (plus tax) which includes one day rental, simple hairstyle and basic Kimono set. They offer Kimono packages in pairs so you can enjoy it with your friend or with your partner. Kimono Tokyo also offers modern and stylish Kimono like Denim Kimonos, Lolita-styled Kimono and Gothic Kimono. 


When you’re planning to rent a Kimono, it is important book in advance to secure your reservation via email or their website. Like all other Kimono rental shops, they don’t usually accommodate walk-in customers. Payments are usually done after returning the Kimono set. 


For more information about Kimono Tokyo store, visit their website, and their Instagram account.

OTHER KIMONO RENTAL SHOPS IN TOKYO

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