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Discover the Allure of Yukata: A Must-Try Experience in Japan

2024.05.02

Certainly! Here’s an introduction to the charm of yukata(summer kimono), the traditional Japanese summer garment, tailored for foreign visitors who come to Japan!

The Origin of Yukata: A Glimpse into History

Yukata, a lightweight and breezy summer kimono, has a fascinating origin. During the Heian period, aristocrats wore a garment called “yukatabira” when taking baths. These early versions were made of linen and served as bathrobe-like coverings. As time passed, yukatabira evolved into the yukata we know today, becoming popular among commoners during the Edo period. Its comfortable design and breathability made it ideal for hot weather.

Advantages of Wearing Yukata

  • Cool and Comfortable: Yukata is crafted from lightweight materials, allowing air to circulate freely. It’s perfect for strolling through summer festivals or enjoying fireworks by the river.
  • A Touch of Tradition: When you wear yukata, you become part of Japan’s rich cultural heritage. Locals often smile warmly when they see visitors embracing this traditional attire.
  • Versatile Style: Yukata comes in various patterns and colors, making it suitable for both casual outings and formal events.

Where to Find Yukata

Of course, you can experience wearing a yukata at the many kimono rental shops near tourist attractions. However, since you’ve come all the way to Japan, why not go beyond just experiencing it and actually get a yukata for yourself? Wearing a yukata back in your home country can be a wonderful and unique souvenir. You’ll surely feel like a hero or heroine!

If you decide to get a yukata, you’ll have a beautiful piece of Japanese culture to cherish and remember your time in Japan. Enjoy! 

When in Japan, you can acquire a yukata through the following channels:

  • Department Stores and Specialty Shops: During the summer season, department stores and specialty shops set up dedicated yukata sections. Here, you’ll find a wide range of options, including accessories like obi (sashes) and geta (wooden sandals).
  • Thrift Stores: You can also find lovely yukata  at thrift stores. In addition to Asakusa, a famous tourist spot known for its Tansuya(たんす屋 https://tansuya.jp/)  (antique chest) shops, there are several stores within Tokyo.
  • Supermarkets and General Stores: Some supermarkets host pop-up yukata shops. Check their websites in advance to see if they collaborate with local kimono stores.
  • Online Stores: Explore online platforms such as Toiki (都粋 https://toiki.jp/), and Tansuya(たんす屋 https://tansuya.jp/) for a convenient shopping experience.

How to Wear Yukata

Follow these steps to don your yukata with grace:

  1. Undergarments: Wear a lightweight undergarment and a slip to prevent transparency.
  2. Collar and Obi: Ensure the collar sits neatly and choose an obi that complements your yukata.
  3. Tying Techniques: Popular obi knots include the “otaiko musubi” (drum knot) and the “hanhaba obi” (half-width obi) style.
  4. Hairstyle: Opt for an updo or a simple hair arrangement to complete the look.

Caring for Your Yukata

  • Storage: Fold your yukata neatly and store it in a cool, dry place.
  • Cleaning: Some yukata are machine-washable, while others require professional cleaning. Check the care instructions for your specific yukata.
  • Ironing: Use a low-heat iron to remove wrinkles.

Essential Accessories

Enhance your yukata ensemble with these accessories:

  • Fans: Keep cool with a stylish folding fan.
  • Drawstring Pouch (Kinchaku): Carry your essentials in a decorative pouch.
  • Hairpins and Combs: Add a touch of elegance to your hairstyle.
  • FootwearGeta are traditional Japanese wooden sandals. They have a flat wooden base with two elevated “teeth” and are secured to the foot with fabric straps. People often wear geta with kimono or yukata. 

Remember, wearing yukata isn’t just about fashion—it’s an invitation to immerse yourself in Japanese culture. So, grab your yukata, tie that obi, and enjoy the vibrant summer festivities!