Tuesday, June 7, 2011

kimono culture


With the influx of western culture and fashion, traditional Japanese clothing seemed doomed to become a thing of the past. However, kimono are still being manufactured and worn to this very day. Before the Meiji period, kimono functioned as everyday wear, but nowadays people wear kimono on occasions that require formal dress, such as weddings, graduations, and funerals.

JAPAN 038 JAPAN2 146 (2)

Kimono are also worn on certain holidays. Children are dressed in kimono for shichi-go-san festival. Young women who will become 20 years old in the coming year wear ornate furisode (振袖, a special long-sleeved kimono) for coming-of-age festival in January.


I wore this vintage kimono at a tea ceremony lesson. Kimono are still worn for traditional events like tea ceremony, hanami (花見, flower viewing), or a gagaku (雅楽, court music) performance. If you attend a traditional cultural event, you will definitely see women (and sometimes men) wearing kimono.

There is a thriving kimono culture that exists in Japan. Vintage kimono can often be found at local flea markets for extremely reasonable prices. Sometimes they have small flaws or stains, but more often than not they are entirely wearable.

A fairly recent trend has re-styled vintage kimono with modern accessories to to give the wearer a retro kind of look. These kimono are often brightly colored (like the one I’m wearing in the photos) or are woven with strong geometric patterns.


If you’d like to get your own kimono, you can always go and find mountains of cheap used kimono at local flea markets like Kobo-san in Kyoto or the tenmangu market in Kiryu. Sometimes you can even find shops that buy and sell recycled kimono like Usagi-ya in Ashikaga.

What do you think about non-Japanese wearing kimono? Do you think it looks ridiculous? Would you like to try wearing kimono? Tell me what you think!


  1. Interesting page! May I ask can men wear kimono to tea ceremonies as well?


I screen my comments... but only for safety! If it doesn't show up right away, check back again later! Also, please don't forget to choose an identity (Google ID, Open ID...etc.) to comment as. Thanks!