If you’ve ever watched Japanese anime depicting school life or love storylines, such as ‘Your name,’ I’m sure you’ve seen yukata. Yukata is traditional Japanese apparel, and as a Japanese, I can assure you that most Japanese have worn a yukata at least once in their lives.
Yukata was originally thought to be an unlined kimono worn by an aristocratic lady when bathing. Then it became popular when people began wearing colourful Yukata to bon-odori or bon-dance (Japanese traditional dancing) gatherings, which were popular at the commencement of the edo era. Because of its ease of wear, it became popular as a “casual kimono,” and it is still worn as indoor wear in Japanese-Inns of Onsen (hot spring).
In recent times, when many Japanese people have begun to wear western-style attire, many individuals dress up in Yukata to attend a summer festival, bon-dancing, or fireworks celebration. Furthermore, because Yukata is easier to wear than traditional kimonos, it has regained popularity among younger generations. It’s nearly difficult to go around Tokyo’s summer festivals without seeing Japanese people dressed in yukata, traditional Japanese summer clothes. Yukata, or cotton or synthetic fibre kimono, is a more casual variant of a kimono. It is suitable for people of all ages and genders. It’s not only ideal for personal wear at summer festivals, but it’s also a great option for an unforgettable present you might wish to bring home.
Yukata is Japan’s very own and one of the most prominent things Japan is known for.
Summers in Japan are hot and humid. Often, the heat lingers long after the sun has set and nightfall has arrived. For days like this, the yukata (unlined cotton kimono) is the ideal piece of attire. Yukata are becoming increasingly popular as merchants provide a wider range of styles, from traditional to more contemporary, with frilly trimmings and other similar frills. Yukata sets, which comprise an obi (sash) and a pair of geta (wooden clogs), are now commonly available at reasonable prices, making these traditional clothing more accessible to young people.
How to wear this beautiful Yukata by Yourself
Simply put, wearing a yukata isn’t difficult. It’s as simple as wrapping it around oneself like a bathrobe when you’re in an onsen hot spring bath or at home. Just remember to always wrap left over right, as the deceased is dressed the other way. Wearing a female yukata may take some time. Please consider the time if this is your first time wearing a yukata. While it is possible to wear a yukata by oneself, it is always preferable to wear it with friends so that it is much easier to put on without tension. Making the beautiful knot on the back with the obi could be a little tricky. If you don’t have the confidence to make it, you should acquire an obi belt with a prefabricated one.
A yukata is essentially a lightweight kimono that is worn casually in the summer. They are constructed of a lighter, thinner cloth than traditional silk kimonos, making them more comfortable in hot weather and easier to launder. Yukata are typically worn without any additional layers, with only basic undergarments and no tabi socks.
The cotton robe, an obi (belt), and geta make up the yukata (the shoes). The robe is worn over your underwear and, if desired, an undershirt:
- The robe comes first. Put your arms in, then wrap the right side around your torso and the left side around this. Pick up your obi while holding it in place with your hand. It’s critical that you get this portion right. This is because wrapping the right side over the left side is designated for funerals and is considered disrespectful.
- Now, with the obi, wrap the middle around your front, then behind you, and back around to the front. Wrap it around twice before tying a triangle knot at the front. Men wrap their obi around their hips, while women knot theirs around their waists.
- Most yukatas are one length, and the extra must be wrapped in little folds over itself around the waist. This might be a bit complicated, so having someone to assist you is beneficial. Most yukatas in a hotel or ryokan will have a plain thin obi, but you may purchase ones that are a little nicer. These feature a tiny obi to keep the folded cloth in place around your waist, followed by a broader, more colourful obi that should be wrapped in a bow around the back. Again, this is a challenging task to complete on your own, so we recommend enlisting the assistance of a professional.
Now it’s time to put on your get up and hit the town!
But hold on! We’ve left out one more detail. Some yukatas come with a light coat called Hanten or Chabaori, which, as the name implies, goes over the top. If you get a touch chilly when out and about, this is the jacket for you. They frequently feature pockets, which is essential if you’re going for a walk around town.
Traditionally, most yukata were dyed indigo, but there is now a far larger choice of patterns available, which the Japanese have embraced for the summer season. Whereas kimonos are designated for more formal occasions such as weddings and funerals, the yukata is significantly more comfortable to wear and has become the rage at summer fireworks or festivals all year.
How to style a Yukata
Yukata made of cotton are now worn outside as ordinary clothes in the same manner that western clothing is, and they are highly stylish. More modern motifs, such as flowers, butterflies, hearts, and polka-dots against a purple or pink background, are also seen in combination with modern decorations such as chiffon ribbons and corsages affixed to obi, as well as frilled collars.
Traditional yukata, which feature basic, subtle designs like morning glory blossoms and bamboo on a white or blue backdrop, are also on the rise. The number of colour, design and pattern combinations found in yukata continues to grow. Not only are ladies enjoying the increased variety of yukata; males are also increasingly donning yukata for summer trips. Another fashion trend is that yukatas are getting increasingly complex. People are wearing tabi (split-toe socks) with zori (fabric-covered thong-style sandals), which are generally worn with kimono, instead of geta, for example.
Do you have a combination in mind that you like?
We will introduce whole-body synchronisation, which mixes the band’s haircut and tie:
A navy blue Yukata, a true yukata hue. It conveys a calm and composed ‘yamato nadeshiko’ (traditional Japanese femininity) aura regardless of who wears it. Ideal for the summer! A light blue in a cool wind! Why not try a heko obi with a floral knot? The light blue is pleasant and invigorating, making it ideal for summer! Even as an adult, this hue is excellent if you want to show off your charming side.
Consider having a lovely pink style! Obi in half-width with chocho (butterfly) knot. How about a bright and joyful pink if you want to channel the sweetness of youth?
Yellow is the colour for energetic females! You may accessorise it with a half-width obi tied in a bunko knot. The bright yellow allows you to shine all day and goes well with a bright grin!
White is a hue associated with refined beauty. This looks great with a half-width obi tied with a genroku knot. The biggest advantage of wearing a white yukata is that you may select a pattern that expresses your personality. Using the genroku knot may also generate a sense of timeless beauty.
Black is the colour of the contemporary girl. Wear a half-width obi tied with a carta knot. I would certainly suggest this design to stylish modern females searching for a mix of old and new. Modern yukatas come in a variety of hues, but black is still the coolest! To make yourself stick out, even more, try the unusual carta knot. Normal hair decorations and geta are great, but try replacing them with a trendy hat and high heels for a more current style!
Using green in a vintage style. This one looks great with a half-width obi tied in a nadeshiko knot. A retro-style yukata with orange blossoms on a green backdrop. This hue looks excellent with your hair down.
Purple is a seductive colour. Obi in half-width with a single chocho (butterfly) knot. Purple yukata with flower design works great for bringing out a more mature beauty! The finishing touch is some floral design on the obi!
Taisho Roman style in red. Patapata knot on a half-width obi. Traditional red flower designs yukata have always been beautiful, but the Taisho Roman style is extremely popular with young people these days. The eye-catching pop of this retro-style yukata is sure to turn heads!
Where to Buy Yukata from?
Delicious watermelon, yukata-clad people dancing Bon Odori, nighttime fireworks, hundreds of kinds of kakigoori (shaved ice), the sound of cicadas, and nagashi soumen are all important aspects of Japanese summers.
Many travellers purchase yukata for a variety of reasons.
Some individuals want to experience summer in a genuine Japanese style, while others simply want to buy it as a gift for someone; regardless of the reason, yukatas have been rather popular among visitors in Japan, with many deciding to purchase one or at least wear one during their vacation to Japan.
The lovely traditional clothing comes in a variety of models and styles, and the vibrant colours and light fabric make them ideal for Japan’s hot and humid season.
Yukatas are summer kimonos that are far less expensive than kimonos.
There are several locations to get one, and I will introduce you to the top three most cheap ones:
Don Quijote– Don Quijote is perhaps the most accessible and cheap alternative available, and they offer a wide range of options to pick from.
Prices range from 3,000 to 9,000 yen, and Don Quijote outlets may be found across Japan. Aside from the casual summer attire, there are a plethora of accessories and items available for purchase as keepsakes.
I also purchased one of my yukatas from Don Quijote, as well as an obi set with geta and a handcrafted bag to match.
Flea Markets– Flea markets are another wonderful and inexpensive alternative.
There are several flea markets throughout Kanto, particularly in Tokyo, where you may seek yukata.
I recall the previous time I travelled to Ibaraki, I came home with quite a few treasures, including a yukata and a great handmade purse that I knew I had to have, as well as some summery linen garments that were simple and classic, and a set of gorgeously created earrings.
Going to a flea market is always entertaining, and you never know what you can find, so I recommend giving it a try!
The yukata I bought there quickly became one of my favourites, and it was only 3,000 yen! I must say, I got a terrific price!
Second-hand Kimono Stores– If you don’t mind wearing secondhand clothing, you can get excellent quality yukatas from kimono retailers that also offer recycled yukatas.
Tansu-ya The Kimono Recycle Shop, located in Asakusa, is one of my favourites.
Asakusa is arguably the first spot that springs to mind when you think about Japanese souvenirs. Asakusa has a plethora of businesses offering Japanese items, including kimono and yukata shops ranging from ancient to new. Tansu-ya Kimono Recycle Shop, located in Shin Nakamise Dori, is a recommended shop where you can buy recycled yukata.
Ueno’s Ameya Yokocho– Ameya Yokocho is an open-air market located close to the Central Exit of Ueno Station, and it is one of the most popular marketplaces for international visitors in Tokyo. You may acquire a wide range of items, accessories, and even fresh meals and snacks here. This is a fantastic area to go yukata searching while eating a variety of food. Yukata stores can be found along the retail street, with prices starting at 2,980 yen. Prices range from 3,000 to 5,000 yen.
You may always get a yukata online if you don’t have much time or dislike shopping. One significant advantage of internet buying is that you have access to a large selection of yukata from all around Japan. Just make sure the size and colour are correct before clicking the checkout button. Rakuten (which is claimed to account for up to 10% of the kimono industry’s sales) and Ichiroya, which offers secondhand yukata and kimono from the Kansai area, are two online merchants to consider.
Fireworks displays, ennichi festivals, and Bon dances are just a few of the sights that add to the lyrical appeal of Japanese summers. However, none of them would be complete without the yukata, a light-weight cotton kimono. The appearance of a lady in traditional kimono, even during the New Year’s season, has become increasingly rare in recent years; yet, the summertime yukata, with its simple, breezy form, has not lost its charm. It is as popular today as it has always been, yet new designs are appearing that make one ponder its cultural originality.
A yukata is not cheap, but it has remained popular even throughout the recession, when garment sales in general have remained low. Several women’s fashion publications have featured yukata in special editions, while department shops and other Japanese apparel businesses have bright yukata exhibitions in their display windows. Even well-known designers who rarely utilise traditional Japanese aesthetics are beginning to manufacture yukata. New versions of yukata that are even more comfortable than the classic garment have become extremely popular.
Traditional Japanese attire such as kimonos and yukatas are well-known across the country. Furthermore, it is popular among international tourists who wish to try it on while visiting. However, many people are still unclear of what a yukata is or how it is worn in Japan.
The yukata has recently become a popular way to wear during summer festivities. Fashionable styles have proliferated to the point that it is sometimes impossible for the untrained eye to distinguish between a yukata and a kimono. Men’s yukata are often darker or more modest in colour, but young women’s yukata are typically vibrant and colourful, frequently with flower motifs. Yukata for mature ladies are often less showy.
Although the various regulations of traditional Japanese attire might seem frightening, it’s comforting to know that things are changing with the times.
Enjoy wearing anything you want while adhering to regulations and decorum! Professionals also think that the most crucial aspect of your costume is to have fun with it. So, enjoy your summer by donning this one-of-a-kind Japanese garment known as a yukata.