How to enjoy “Yukata” in Japan

Yukata is a typical kind of Kimono, worn during summer. The origin of yukata is said to be underwear called yukata-bira, which noble people in the Heian period (794 to118) wore during bath time. After the late Edo period(1603 to 1868), it transformed into a gown and gorgeous patterns of cotton were born.

  Culture, Kyoto,

The couple in Yukata.


Yukata and geta

A summer-time Japanese tradition, “Yukata”

When thinking about traditional Japanese costumes, some of you think ‘Kimono’, but “Yukata”, which is similar to Kimono, is a summer tradition in Japan. Yukata was worn as room wear or even underwear, however it is now more commonly worn as a costume for going to summer festivals, fireworks, and other special events. Many foreign visitors tell me that they want to wear it, so I’ll introduce to you, how to casually wear Yukata in Japan.

Strolling in Kyoto in yukata.

Change into Yukata when you arrive in Japan!

There are actually some shops that’ll rent Yukata. They’ll also help you out with wearing Yukata and setting up your hair. They can arrange bags and small accessories along with your yukata, so it’s definitely recommended for beginners. “Wargo”, the kimono rental shop in Kyoto can rent you kimonos as well as yukata. To do so, you’ll need to choose a reservation date on their website or by phone. You can choose your favorite yukata from a wide variety. You’ll need to bring your passport on your reservation day. It takes 30 min to an hour to finish. Let’s go out and walk around Kyoto!

obi and geta.

obi and geta.

You don’t have to bring anything! They’ll have everything you need!

What’s good about renting yukata, is that you can choose from a wide variety, as well as renting kanzashi, obi, underwear, bags and geta! The staff can set your hair free of charge. If you want a more elaborate hair set, you can ask for it at an extra cost. They also have convenient services such as, holding and delivering your luggage to the hotel you’re staying at in Kyoto. My foreign friends say that it was hard for them to walk in kimono and geta, but they soon got used to it and, it was actually fun to walk around in while taking in the sights. These kinds of services can be found in other areas of Japan, so why not look them it up?

The traditional yukata and Ai

The traditional yukata and Ai

Ai-zome and traditional yukata

Recent yukata has pastel colors or floral and geometric patterns like clothes, but traditional yukata is dyed with Ai (Japanese blue) on white cloth or vice versa. The Ai is believed to have an affect on rough skin, sensitivity to cold, sweating, and repelling insects. At the time when there was no air conditioning, people could live more comfortable. The patterns were Akigusa, Asagao, fans, and dragonflies, that all gave a feeling for the beginning of autumn, as well as feelings of refreshment. These patters show how much Japanese people love the different seasons. I like the modern yukata, but the traditional patterns are more attractive to me.

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Writer/ Translator

I love Japanese folkcraft article, traditional handicrafts and antiques. I’m seeking the Japanese people’s religious outlooks and its origins that are behind Japanese people’s unique sense and techniques rooted in the ordinary life.


Address 3F 721-1 Higashi Shiokoji Sagaru, Karasumadori, Gekyoku, Kyoto city, Kyoto
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