By Katie and Jen
Wearing a kimono is really special. Not only is the putting on of a kimono a complicated affair with many customs and traditions to learn about, having the chance to walk around for a day in one is a lovely experience, especially so in Kyoto.
Over to Katie…..
We had to arrive at Kyoto Tower just before 9am. First I had to fill in a form, then I had to pick my kimono and my obi (the long sash that’s tied up in a bow round your waist). I picked a light blue kimono with beautiful flowers on it !! It was hard to choose because they were all beautiful. When we were out walking a lady told me that the flowers on mine were peonies and cherry and plum blossoms.
Then I had to pick my obi. I picked one a little darker than my kimono but it also had flowers on it!
Once I chose my kimono you go into a special room were they get you dressed: you put on 3 layers, a simple white layer and a towel round your waist, then a pretty white one, then the kimono; after that they put the obi around your waist. Before that there’s a band like a hard board that goes round your waist. They tie the obi up in a special bow at the back – my bow was a butterfly!! It’s really clever. There are pink ribbons that hold things in place when you are being dressed.
After you have your kimono on you go in another room were they do your hair . They give you a little sheet and on the sheet there are lots of different hair styles and you have to pick one.
You can also put a flower in your hair for decoration . I put a flower in my hair that matched my obi.
After that you need to chose shoes and also you get to chose a little bag.
Once you’re ready you can go in this room and get your picture taken from lots of different angles.
And then you are free to wander around outsider the whole day and go get your picture taken at lots of different places like temples. It was really cool.
Where to hire a kimono
There are lots of places – we’d highly recommend Kyoto Kimono Rental Wargo. They have several locations in Kyoto. The biggest one, with a wide range of kimonos is on the third floor of Kyoto Tower, right across the road from the train station. You can (and have to to get a place) book in advance online. We didn’t need it, but they can keep luggage for you if you’ve already checked out of your accommodation.
Above about 1.40m, you move up to an adult kimono. It’s not so much your height (the kimono starts off way longer than you) – it’s the length of the sleeves. We went round some recycled Kimono shops and there’s quite a difference between the length of an old kimono and a new one. Young Japanese people are generally a lot taller.
See the link below for Jen’s hire in Tokyo.
Katie’s day cost 5600¥ (£30). This included hire of the full kimono (under-robes, kimono, sash, socks and sandals, hair decoration, bag), the dressing service, a hair put-up, and professional photos which are emailed to you – with hire from 9am to 6.30pm. The dressing and hair take between an hour and an hour and a half.
The robing process
I got the chance to wear a kimono a couple of years ago, and was able to take pictures of the steps involved. Here is a link to that post. There’s a lot more to it than you might imagine. It took a couple of hours to put on, and this was only a small part of the full 12-layered wedding kimono. The green kimono I wore is a formal silk one – you can tell because the pattern is only on the left shoulder.
If you ever get the chance, we’d both recommend a kimono fitting as an educational and memorable day.