Strolling around the Kiyomizu-dera Temple area in a kimono!
This time, my colleagues and I went from Osaka to Kyoto! We got up early and rode the train for about 60 minutes. Unlike Osaka, Kyoto is full of the atmosphere of a tourist city. The last time I was in Kyoto, I saw many tourists walking in kimonos. So for a day, I decided to wear a rental kimono with my colleagues and become a Japanese person from old times.
Inside the shop, there were various types of kimonos, and my colleagues and I had a hard time deciding on one. It was very exciting to see pretty and colorful kimonos.
Aside from the kimonos, you can also choose which Obi belt you want to wear. You can also rent juban (underwear) and tabi (socks) to go along with your kimono. The shop assistant helped us get dressed, and then we wanted to go outside as soon as we were finished.
Becoming a Kyotoite at Kiyomizu-dera Temple and Yasaka-jinja Shrine just for a day
At Yasaka-jinja Shrine, there were street stalls selling light meals and local specialties. I wanted to eat some Takoyaki (octopus dumplings), but refrained since I didn't want to stain my kimono….
The entrance of Ysaka-jinja Shrine is a photo op spot you can't miss. The place is famous for matchmaking, and there were many women in kimonos just like us. My colleagues didn't want to show their faces, so here they are showing their backs.
We went to that Konnyaku Shabon
(soap made from konjac) shop on Sanneizaka I have introduced before.
On our way, we became tired, so we ate some sweets at “Umezono.” The shop is popular, with many other locations within Kyoto. We ordered odango (dumpling) and warabi-mochi (bracken-starch dumpling), and shared. They were sweet and had a springy texture. Just what we needed after a long walk.
After eating some sweets and resting for a bit, we walked up the stairs and reached the approach to Kiyomizu-dera Temple. There were many people around us, and we found it quite difficult to wade through them. It was just the right exercise to work off the dessert we had. There were many shops lining the street, so we wanted to eat everything they offered by walking from shop to shop. But if we did that, it may have grown dark before we got to Kiyomizu-dera Temple.
How to look nice wearing a kimono
Some of you may have trouble choosing a kimono, since there are so many. Let me give you some advice on what patterns to choose depending on the season.
Spring: Cherry Blossoms, Flowers, Butterflies, etc.
Summer: Fireworks, Fire flies, Hydrangeas, etc.
Fall: Autumn leaves, Silver grass, Fruits, etc.
Winter: Camellia, Ume (plum) blossoms, Snow, etc.
Geometrical patterns is good all year.
Here are some advice on choosing colors too. You should stay away from wearing colors that are similar to colors of the season's flowers. So during spring, do not wear pale colors. During fall, do not wear dark red or purple. For example, if you are going to go see wisteria flowers, do not wear purple.
Also, when taking a picture, a kimono with a sharp contrast between the patterns and background color will look nice. The patterns are better if they are large, and they should be simple, not complicated.
When choosing a kimono, the obi is another important item. An obi with patterns is better than an obi with a solid color. The obi-jime (decorative string to hold the obi in place) should have a sharp contrast to the obi.
You should choose a zori (Japanese sandals) that is a size smaller than what you usually wear. It is considered nice looking when your heel sticks out a centimeter from your zori.
Kyoto is a city where kimonos look good
I felt very relaxed walking in the Kiyomizu-dera Temple area with my colleagues in a kimono, talking about things we usually don't talk about. It made me forget about how tiring my job could be. When we were walking in our kimonos, many tourists from overseas took our pictures. Some asked us to be in a photo with them. It felt a bit like we had become celebrities. I truly think Kyoto is a city where kimonos look good. If you plan to wear a kimono, I recommend you create an atmosphere of being okay with tourists taking your picture. Don't eat too much before you wear a kimono, though!
About renting a kimono
The hotel we stayed at was close to Gion. I searched online, and found a shop that rented kimonos. You will need to show your ID, such as a credit card, a residence card, or a passport. If you type in your height, you can reserve a kimono online.
You can rent a kimono when you go to the shop directly, but I would recommend reserving online beforehand, since you can take your time selecting the pattern of the kimono. At this shop, they take major credit cards, and have a baggage storing service, too. It may cost you somewhat, but it is convenient if you have a suitcase with you.
If you feel cold, you can wear your own low-cut T-shirt inside, and everything else can be rented. They also do hair styling. Depending on the style and hair accessory you choose, they will do it either for free, or for a fee. Dressing your kimono will take about 30 minutes.
When going to the bathroom please try the following. First, tuck in the bottom part of the sleeves in the obi-jime. Then, open the bottom your kimono to either side so that the inside will be out, then roll it up to your waist, and firmly hold it under your arms, then relieve yourself. If you have questions, the staff will tell you in more details, so please ask. Some staff members can speak Chinese, so language is not a problem. In case you stain your kimono, there is insurance, so no worries.
VASARA Kyoto Gion Shop
●441, Rinkacho, Higashiyama-ku, Kyoto-shi, Kyoto
Umezono Kiyomizu Shop
●339-1, Kiyomizu Sanneizaka, Higashiyama-ku, Kyoto-shi, Kyoto
*The above information was last updated March 7, 2018. For further information, please contact the shops directly.
"Like" if you think this article is interesting