I bought 3 formal kimono and 1 yukata… why? I have no idea. I think I’ll sell 2 of them off in America or before I leave. It was an impulse buy (めっちゃやばい！！！). Other than maybe for graduation, I probably won’t wear them ever. My favorite part about studying in Kyoto is the access to traditional culture. It’s uncommon to see people wearing kimono around the streets and I love it! I’m all wrapped up in looking at cute girls wearing cute kimonos and then buying them myself. I’m sad that I won’t have many occasions to wear them, though. One, my family would probably complain that I should wear more Vietnamese dresses (which I do…). Two, I need to be careful about cultural appropriation.
I’ll be writing about:
- My Yukata
- My Kimono
- Tips for Buying
- Where to buy
I bought a new yukata set. It came with the yukata which is a single layer, a casual obi (thinner than the formal ones), and casual geta. My roommate showed me the place, and told me it was cheap. But after keeping my eye on prices around me, I’ve found that it was not that great of a deal. The whole set ran me 6804 yen (including the yukata, obi, geta, and koshihimo), but I’ve seen, albeit rarely, individual pieces that would have totaled to 4000 yen.
If you’re in Japan for a while, I’d wait out and keep your eye on a new yukata for 2000 yen and a casual obi for 1000 yen. Otherwise, 6000 yen isn’t bad.
- koshihimo (to help you tie the kimono in place)
The used formal kimonos I bought were pretty good deals aside from the first one: 8000 yen, 6000 yen, and 2000 yen. I honestly can’t tell that they’re used at all, aside from the orange one having a few stains on the inside. Young women prefer vibrant colors and designs. I, however, prefer the darker, more conservative designs that are meant for older women and formal occasions.
But, I heard young ladies can pull off a dark kimono with really bright Obi, Obiage, Obijime combination. So, that’s what I got! Again, such a good deal! (2000 yen, 1000 yen, 1000 yen respectively)
Mandatory Accessories for Formal Kimono (in my opinion):
- koshihimo (to help you tie the kimono)
- juban (inner layer)
- obi (Nagoya or Fukuro obi if you want to tie a Taiko Musubi)
- obiage (the green fabric you see in the picture above; it peaks out under your obi and is used to help you tie the knot)
- obiita (especially if you plan on tying a obi yourself; allows you to tie the obi in the front and swivel it to the back)
- obimakura (supportive pillow for tying a Taiko Musubi)
- obijime (decorative rope which is not required per-say, but I haven’t seen anyone go without one yet)
- tabi + geta (tabi is required for kimono, optional for yukata)
Tips for choosing (used) Kimono/Yukata:
- Good quality silk kimonos are heavy, don’t be fooled by a polyester kimono 😦
- Stains that can be covered are inconsequential, but stitching that is coming apart spells trouble
- The more fancy and wide the obi is, the more difficult it will be to tie.
- It is totally okay for you to buy a pre-tied obi
- When choosing a juban, pay attention to the collar, it’s the only part that shows
- You can always ask the store owner to help you try on a kimono
- Japanese friend says that stiffer fabric for Yukata is better… I prefer softer fabric
- Everything is one size fits all… but always ask if they have XL/XXL size for foreigners.
- Too big is okay, too small is bad!! You can fold up the fabric.
Biggest question! Where do I buy used or cheap Kimono and Yukata?
Where I bought my stuff (in order of best to worst deal):
- Black Kimono, Orange Kimono, and Obi(+accessories) @ I think it’s near the address I list below….I’m so sorry. This place was the best deal, but I don’t have an exact location. They have some kimono on display outside, and a big table inside with a bunch of elaborate obi and kimonos on on racks on the walls.
- You can find Yukata here too
- Obi was the best deal, kimono is tied with 2nd location except the super cheap black one that is nearly new
- 〒604-8042 Kyōto-fu, Kyōto-shi, Nakagyō-ku, Nakanochō (Shinkyōgokudōri), 545−1
- Blue Kimono @ 福田松花堂 河原町店 –> website below
- Most of my friends bought theirs here and had better deals than me for some, but more stains… hehe I always pick newer looking ones…
- Yukata Set @ Musubi Kyoto
- 〒604-8035 Kyoto Prefecture, Kyoto, 中京区新京極通三条下る桜之町 495-2
These places that I looked into, but didn’t buy from may be of interest to you.
- http://www.chicago.co.jp/store_kyt.html (huge selection on upper floor)
- Nagoya shopping streets had really cheap yukata