We’ve been having an amazing time in Japan. It’s one of these places with so much to see that you’d only really get a great feel for it if you lived here for a while. As for tourists, including us, it’s always a case of ‘too much to see and so little time’. We’ve had to forgo some things which we had on our itinerary because we’ve just run out of time. We are travelling with a 6 yr old so it does slow us down somewhat.
There’s thousands of photos to sort through and blog about – thankfully it’s winter back home where we have some time up our sleeves! I’m feeling a little guilty about our fabulous Italian trip which is still not done, and that was years ago! I’ll get around to it one day.
Yukata – The summer kimono!
One of the things I love best about Japan is it’s culture. The people are so polite that it becomes quite contagious and you find yourself bowing back at them, even though you have no idea what was said! Their culture involves some beautiful fashion – the wearing of the kimono. It’s summer at the moment, so it’s more specifically a yukata which is worn for it’s lightness. A yukata is the summer version of a kimono, a much cheaper, lighter version. While there was nothing which caught my eye in the ordinary fashion world, I wasn’t going to leave Japan without a kimono/yukata so I went out and bought one! You can also hire these as an entire outfit but I thought I’d just buy one as it was not much more in cost.
How to buy a Kimono in Japan?
Firstly, we headed to one of the department stores – Daimaru. For a lower-end kimono, you were looking at approximately $400 AUD. Then there’s all the accessories which come with it. You’ll also need the obi, shoes, split-toe socks and bag. For the complete outfit, you’re looking at around $700 plus. Kimonos can cost a fortune! We saw some gorgeous ones on display on the first floor of Daimaru for approximately $20,000 AUD! They’re made of silk and are lavishly hand-painted. That was of course way out of my budget.
Practically thinking, I’m going to wear this thing for a photo shoot and maybe at a kimono party which I’ll host back in Melbourne. My clever husband turns to google and leads me off the beaten trail to a kimono shop where I get my entire outfit for under $100 AUD. I’m super happy with it and by-passed the socks and handbag. Ideally, I would have chosen a deep red obi (belt) but the store lady just would not let me! She steered me into getting the cream one instead and I went with it as I have no idea about how kimonos should look! It was so typically Melbourne of me to choose a predominantly black one! Deep in my heart, I know I should have chosen a more colourful one as it makes me so happy to see other’s wearing them! But, on the other hand, getting a black one may mean that I wear it a few more times!
It’s really hot and steamy here. I have no idea how some women are running around all day in these things. You will see a lot of ladies in kimonos or yukatas around shrines and other famous monuments. The best I could manage was to step out of the guest house in which we were staying and have my photos taken out there. It’s not the best choice for our photo shoot, but it’s somewhere different. Touring around Japan in the summer is best done in very comfortable clothing and shoes.
So my hair is not so geisha like. I wanted to keep it relaxed and more ‘me’. Even though I took a video of the store woman demonstrating how to put my obi on, it was still baffling. Thank goodness for You-Tube! The bow was very easy to do thanks to a tutorial, but I was melting away while getting myself together. Our guest house is lacking in air-conditioning and fans! Thank goodness it was cooler outside and I lasted long enough for my wonderful photographer of a husband to take some lovely shots. I’m going to definitely have a kimono or yukata party back home so that I can wear mine again!