We all admit that modernization has changed several value and norms in the society, including the way people dress. Nowadays, you can see lots of innovative and deconstructive designs. Are they taking over the traditional garments that people used to wear daily? For some reason, yes. But, not like in Japan.
A traditional, beautiful full-length garment, Kimono, is still worn by the Japanese for special occasions such as weddings, funerals, tea ceremonies, or summer festivals. In fact, they make a business of it. They provide kimono rental service for tourists. It is a positive investment of course. Not only they can introduce Kimono to the world, but also to improve regional profits by attracting tourists to visit their area.
Kimono and yukata are two different things. Yukata has more relaxed rules on how to wear it than a kimono. When you come to the kimono rental shop, you are allowed to choose your own kimono, the belt (called obi), the wooden sandals which
are known by geta sandals, and also the bag. Just like I did in Kyoto with my yukata. Most of the rental shops provide a service to do a hairstyle. There are also kimono specialists (I called them) who will help you to put your kimono on. I just knew that we have to wear undergarment before the kimono and some layers underneath. Putting the elements all together is not as easy as it looks like everyone.
The best time to rent a kimono is a whole day long, from morning until afternoon. They usually open at 9 am and close at 6.30 pm. Make sure you wake up early in the morning so that you can enjoy the whole day wearing a kimono or yukata. The best place to get a kimono or yukata is in Gion. They have a variety of shops and designs. You can walk from one shop to another one finding the best yukata for you.
Visiting temples and Gion is a must! Gion is a place where you can see Minka (traditional Japanese houses) and Geisha if you lucky enough because they are rarely seen. And of course, don’t forget to take pictures there!
One thing that I learned from that day is we have to be proud of and appreciate our own culture in order to keep it alive.
Photographed by : Ghina Amani L.