A Kimono is a traditional, colourful Japanese garment that can be translated as ‘something to wear’. The unique, iconic fashion piece is the national dress of Japan and has fascinated people for centuries. The Kimono reminds us of the importance of carrying on the tradition even after the lifestyle has changed drastically. These days, however, not many people wear a Kimono in their daily life. Mainly only on special occasions such as New Year’s Day or the coming-of-age ceremony, Japanese people will wear a Kimono. Also in summertime, when visiting a festival (matsuri) you can spot people wearing the summer kimono called yukata.
Up until the 19th century, most Japanese people would wear a Kimono on a daily basis, before changing to Western style clothing like suits and dresses. The dresses come in beautiful, colourful designs that are depending on the occasion and the person’s age and marital status. Recently, renting a Kimono has become popular among tourists. At some tourist areas, rental kimono shops have opened up, offering a memorable experience for tourists in an attempt to spread the charms of Kimono around the world! In this article, we will introduce rental Kimono experiences in four traditional areas in Japan!
Renting a Kimono in Tokyo – Asakusa
Asakusa is an old town with a well-preserved nostalgic atmosphere in Tokyo. There are a number of popular sites including the Senso-ji temple, the oldest temple in Tokyo. Asakusa is one of the most popular tourist destinations in Japan, and offers cultural and traditional experiences in various ways.
Once you get off the train, you can easily find people walking around the area in Kimono. There are approximately 60 rental kimono shops around the area, and customers can choose their favourite ones from a variety of designs and colours. They also have bags and other accessories that perfectly suit Kimono and make you look more attractive. Most rental shops also offers different options including, a photoshoot, make-up and hair styling. When you opt for a photoshoot, you will discover some amazing “hidden” places in Asakusa too. The pictures will be a pretty souvenir to take home.
There are a number of stalls selling local delicacies and small gifts along the Nakamise-dori street leading to the main building of Senso-ji temple, Tokyo’s oldest temple, and one of its most significant. Enjoy Japanese dishes and the lively atmosphere in Kimono.
Another popular activity in Asakusa is riding a rickshaw. The rickshaw is another fun activity which enables you to explore the historical area with a guide while sitting down and feeling the refreshing breeze!
Strolling around the traditional district, wearing a Kimono, will be a memorable experience for you. Are you looking for the best places to go in Asakusa? Have a look at our 1-day itinerary below.
Renting a Kimono in Kyoto – Gion
Kyoto is the old capital of Japan located in the Kansai region. Along with Tokyo and Osaka, it is visited by many foreign tourists as an impressive destination with a number of historical spots. Over the centuries, some wars and battles took place in the area, but the city was largely saved from destruction of the WOII, and nowadays still countless temples, shrines and other historically valuable structures survive in the city today. People living in Kyoto still preserve a traditional lifestyle, and some people, especially those who are dedicated to traditional jobs, wear Kimono on a regular basis.
In Kyoto, it is quite easy to find places where you can rent Kimono, especially in Gion district, Kyoto’s most famous geisha district. As Kyoto consists of several areas with respective tourist attractions, it is best to find a shop around your destination. Taking a (crowded) train is not great to move around while dressed in Kimono, if you are not used to it. In addition, as the summer in Kyoto usually gets really hot and humid, it is better to pick up Yukata, another traditional Japanese garment instead. It is thinner and made of breathable material, so much more comfortable in the summer!
For the best pictures we recommend renting a Kimono or Yukata near the Gion district, known for its beautiful alleys and tradition buildings. From Gion you can also walk to the famous Kiyomizu-dera temple in about 15 minutes.
Renting a Kimono in Kamakura
Kamakura was once the political center in Japan during the Kamakura era roughly about 800 years ago. It is located in Kanagawa prefecture which shares borders with Tokyo, and is a popular day trip destination for tourists all year round because of the convenient location. Kamakura has many historically significant Buddhist temples and Shinto shrines, creating a beautiful, traditional landscape similar to Kyoto. Kamakura is often referred to as Kyoto of the East. As it also faces the sea, many people flock there to enjoy marine sports and swimming in the sea during summer season.
Renting a Kimono in Kawagoe
Kawagoe is a city situated in the southwestern part of Saitama prefecture, referred to as Little Edo. It has the third largest population in Saitama, and is accessible within an hour from Tokyo by train. In the Edo era, Kawagoe developed as a castle town and an economical center. Even today, you can find a number of traditional structures including residence of merchants and warehouses standing along a historical street since the Edo era.
Because of the convenient location, Kawagoe has been become a popular destination for a day trip from Tokyo and the surrounding areas. There are cozy cafes and restaurants offering local delicacies and sweets. The Kawagoe Festival Museum is a must-visit spot that owns valuable exhibits of floats used in a famous local festival called Kawagoe Festival. Kawagoe Hikawa Shrine is a historical shrine where people go to pray for good fortune of romantic relationships and love!
Guided (online) tours Japan Wonder Travel
If you need some help to organize your trip to Japan, please let us know. We are more than happy to help you planning your perfect trip and/of guiding you around. Our (private) tours with local English-speaking guides are a great way to learn more about your destination and the Japanese culture. We would like to make your trip to Japan a safe, comfortable, and unforgettable memory!
Kyoto Private Full Day Walking Tour
Walk around the beautiful, traditional city full of historical sites with our guide and learn more about its’ history and famous sites. The itinerary can be customized according to your wishes.
Kamakura Private Walking Tour
Kamakura is the perfect destination for a day trip from Tokyo! Explore the historical sites and a lively shopping street with us.
Online Tours in Japan
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Renting a Kimono and walking around in the iconic, beautiful Japanese dress and walking down the streets of these traditional towns, will be a great way to have a authentic Japanese experience. We recommend you to try wearing the Kimono for yourself, the experience and the pictures will be an amazing way to memorize your trip to Japan! If you need any help for your trip to these cities or anywhere else in Japan, Japan Wonder Travel will be more than happy to help you!
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