I remember how excited I became when I first saw a Japanese kimono in real life! Those lively colors and patterns. It seemed so exotic already on pictures. 

I was really curious how it feels wearing one, and also walking on the streets with it.

This was our third time and Japan, and I decided that right time came. Of course I was wondering how Japanese people will react on foreigners wearing their traditional kimono. 

Then I thought, I’m not going to be only one doing this, and also try to be really respectful. 

How I found this opportunity?

For some time, you can book experiences on AirBnb as well, not just accommodations. Let’s say, someone has an idea about teaching a Hungarian cooking class in Budapest. They post this experience on AirBnb, having some dates when they are available. Then people from all around the world can book that, and enjoy cooking together some Hungarian food.

In this case I checked the experiences in Kyoto. There are so many you can choose from, guided tours, foodie tours, all kinds of courses, bar hopping…etc. You should definitely check them out. 

I chose that one, it seemed like a good value for the price, and Bruno had tons of amazing reviews.

The Big Day

There was two other girls who participated in this experience. I met them and Bruno’s mother at the subway station, then we were heading to the kimono rental shop.

Kimonó kölcsönző - Felpróbáltam egy japán kimonót - Judit Travels

I was really surprised that the rental shop was a five floor building. It turned out, they actually need that much space, because there are different steps during the rental process, and also men and women were divided to different floors.

Choosing a Kimono

Upon stepping into a room, I faced many kimonos. They were put into blocs based on the height. I still had like 50 kimonos to choose from. It was hard to decide, so I asked the others to help, which one was a great fit for my hair color, etc. We could choose the under shirt as well. By default we received a full white one, but there was an option for colored neck collars too. I went with the white one.

Next we needed to pick the belt for our kimono. They said, it’s the best to choose one that is similar to one of our colors on the kimono. You could even buy an extra accessory for your belt for a small additional price.

Anyhow there are different kimono types. They wear one type for marriages, one for university. Different needed if someone is single, etc…

Dress Up

In another room, it was time to dress up. We undressed to underwear, then some nice ladies showed up with our chosen kimonoso, and some other clothing items.

Then it was like a movie scene, they were working so fast, it was unbelievable. First the shirt, then some towels, other things. I pretty much lost counting around that time. The kimono needs to look perfect on the person, the textile needs to stretch, and there should be no recess at all.

Then they need to tighten the belt. The fourth picture under this paragraph shows exactly how I felt. Like they want me to stop breathing after all. At least my posture was nice, as you can’t really stand other than straight in a kimono.

Makeup & Hair

As I’m not a makeup expert, nor can wear my hair in more than two styles. For an additional fee, people did take care of me. I was watching the two ladies doing their magic.

I could choose from different traditional hairstyles. So it was lots of fun.

Kimonoban - Felpróbáltam egy kimonót - Judit Travels

Shoes & Bag

Maybe you know for a kimono you need to wear a slipper, and for that you need special socks, that are sewn between the big toe and second toe.

We could choose between bags that fit the kimonos. Our normal clothes, bag were left in the cloakroom. We only took our valuables in the kimono bag.

We are on our way

After like 1,5 – 2 hours preparation, we were ready to take the subway to the Kyoto Imperial Palace. That’s where we met Bruno, the photographer.

The way there was quite funny. I was sliding in my slippers, and in a kimono, I could only walk in really small steps as well. On the stairs I needed to lift the side of the kimono a bit, so I could reach all the steps, without falling down. But again, no complaints here! I came to try this, and it was really special, but really different than what I expected.

The Photoshoot

So the fun started! They explained how you should act when you wear a kimono. Ladies should look down, act timid, walk straight small steps, and doing light movements with the body. First I felt like an elephant in the porcelain store, but with time I started feeling it!

I heard from other girls, that they felt really feminine in their kimono. And you know what? That was something I felt too. It was like connecting with one of my other identity. Whatever, not sure if you like the spiritual talk here.

They brought some awesome accessories to the photoshoot: different colorful umbrellas, Japanese katana. We did some classic style photos, and also some funny ones. For example, we were jumping in the kimono, when I jumped, one time one of my slippers flew like 3 meters away. Can’t stop laughing when I think about it.

Prices

To have a better insight, I let you know the prices I paid. Hair and makeup were optional. If someone is good with that, she can do it for herself. Kimono rental was included in the photoshoot’s price.

  • Hair: 14.5 USD
  • Makeup: 29 USD
  • Photoshoot: 19.990 Ft

Photos

Here are some of my favorites! Let me know in the comments, which one is your favorite!

Conclusion

How was it wearing the kimono?

It was a super interesting experience. All my respect for Japanese women. Whenever I see someone wearing a kimono, it all comes to my mind, how it felt wearing one, and that it wasn’t that easy walking in it. 🙂

How Japanese people reacted when they saw us?

It was a pretty positive experience. Some people even said, we look really beautiful. As normal, some of them were looking at us. But that happens also when I’m wearing normal clothes. We received lots of smile!


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