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Yukata und Kimono - Basics

Hello, dear readers! I've received a list of topics from a friend, who would like to learn more about them. You're all warmly invited to leave questions or topics of interest in the comments. For those who have my contact information, feel free to send me a message.


 

Today's post will focus on the topic of Yukata and Kimono in general. What are the differences, what's involved, and what should one consider when wearing them?


Kimono


Definitions found online regarding Kimono can be summarized as follows: A Kimono is a traditional Japanese garment, typically consisting of a long, wide robe wrapped around the body and held together by a wide belt called an Obi. Usually made of silk or other high-quality fabrics, the Kimono is distinguished by its intricate patterns and colors. It features long, wide sleeves and is often worn for special occasions such as weddings, tea ceremonies, and festivals. The style and type of Kimono can vary, often depending on the season, occasion, and social status of the wearer.


Until the Meiji Restoration, which began in 1868, the Kimono was worn as everyday clothing. However, during Japan's rapid modernization and Westernization, the Kimono began to be displaced by Western clothing.


Today, the Kimono is more commonly worn as formal or ceremonial attire, though this has been gradually changing in recent years.


Many young people are rediscovering Kimonos and the diversity of this garment, leading to the creation of modern ways to wear it. For me, it has become an integral part of my wardrobe that I can't imagine being without.


Yukata


A Yukata is a lightweight, informal Japanese robe typically made of cotton or synthetic materials, traditionally worn in the summer. Yukata is often worn at summer events such as fireworks festivals (Hanabi) or at Onsen (hot springs) and Ryokan (traditional Japanese inns).

The origins of the Yukata can be traced back to the Heian period (794-1185). Originally, they were worn as bathing attire after soaking in hot springs or baths. During the Edo period (1603-1868), Yukata became more popular and spread beyond the baths, especially in the summer.

In modern times, Yukata remains a popular choice for summer leisure activities and traditional festivals. It is often paired with a simple Obi (belt) and occasionally with traditional wooden sandals (Geta). Yukata symbolizes relaxation and summer joy in Japanese culture.


 

As you can see, the main difference between the two garments lies in their formality. Kimonos are more formal, while Yukata is very informal. There are also differences in how they are worn.


To properly wear a Kimono, you need not only the belt (Obi) but also a Juban, an undergarment, Obiage, Obijime, and white Tabi socks, worn with Zori sandals. For Yukata, only an Obi and Geta sandals are necessary, which I find very comfortable.


Putting on a Kimono yourself requires some practice and should ideally be done under the supervision of a teacher or experienced individual, especially initially, to ensure you're satisfied with the result. Since I'm currently in Japan, I'm happy to offer online workshops upon request. Once back in Germany, there will also be opportunities for one-on-one guidance. So, if you're interested, feel free to reach out to me.


 

Here's a list of accessories you'll need when wearing a Kimono or Yukata:

Kimono

Yukata

Kimono

Yukata

Juban (Hanjuban oder Nagajuban)

Underdress

Underdress

Erishin

Erishin

Koshihimo or Elastic band x 2

Koshihimo or Elastic band x 2

Obijime (optional)

Korin Belt

Obiita (optional)

Datejime x 2

Obi (Hanhaba Obi)

Obiita

Geta (Wodden Shoes)

Obi (changes with formality)


Obiage


Obijime


Tabi


Zori



As you can see, wearing a Kimono requires more accessories than wearing a Yukata, and from my own experience, I can say that putting on a Yukata is much easier than a Kimono. Comparing these garments to their Western counterparts, you could equate a Yukata with a T-shirt and shorts, while a Kimono is more akin to a fancy dress or suit. The Motoji website has a wonderful article on the topic of formality levels, which I'll delve into in the next post. If you have any questions or if anything in this post isn't clear, feel free to write it in the comments. I'll adjust and expand the post as necessary.


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