A yukata is a light cotton kimono.  Unlike the traditional kimono, which is a complicated and very expensive garment, the yukata is inexpensive and easy to wear.  Though they are apparently a common sight on summer evenings, they are more often used for relaxing at home.  Before we came to Japan, I had decided that I wanted one to use mainly as a dressing gown.   I bought it at Hayashi Kimono when we went to Ginza on Sunday.  It’s a tiny shop tucked into a narrow and crowded shopping arcade but is advertised as Tokyo’s largest kimono boutique for foreigners.   The staff speak English and the gentleman who waited on me was incredibly helpful.  In spite of the fact that it was obvious that I didn’t intend to spend a great deal, he encouraged me to try on as many garments as I liked before making a choice.  He graciously showed me a variety of colour choices and tied each one carefully so it would look it’s best on me.  My yukata is brighter and more colourful than many but the more subdued colours made me look completely washed out.

Each yukata comes with a narrow belt made of the same fabric but when the salesman showed me how much better they look with the wider silk sash in a contrasting colour, I decided to buy one of those as well.  The entire ensemble cost me only 5400 yen (about $54).  The fabric is a very fine cotton and is completely washable.

Before we came to Japan, our employer sent us a handy little book entitled “Living  Japanese Style”.  It gives a couple of important tips for wearing the yukata correctly.  Apparently, I need to remember to cross the left side over the right when dressing.  Crossing the right side over the left would be a terrible faux pas as this is done only when dressing a corpse!  Apparently, I would also be laughed at if I wore my yukata with shoes.  Since it would look completely ridiculous with most of my shoes, this won’t likely be a problem.  Special sandals and socks for wearing with kimono are sold here but I doubt I’d ever find any to fit.  If I ever do decide to go out in my yukata, I could probably get away with wearing it with my flip flops.


3 thoughts on “Yukata

  1. I Love the Yukata! It looks just about perfect for you…was it hard to find correct length? I agree that the contrasting belt is much more attractive than solid colors would be. I cant imagine, being the minority, it sounds to me like if one was going to be, Japan might just be the place.

  2. VERY stylin’ Elaine. The yukata is beautiful. The flowers must have been a very nice treat to see. We were in Holland in the spring of the year (in 1972) and the tulip fields there were spectacular. In Alberta today (April 20) we have a LOT OF snow. Ken has shovelled the walk twice today. We think it has stopped now. Temp is -10 C and will stay that way nearly all week according to the forcast. So, enjoy where you are at!

  3. Pingback: Cultural appropriation… what do you think? | Following Augustine

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