Want to know about kimonos? Here are the types of kimonos and everything you need to know about Japanese kimonos and Yukatas. Check it out!
Kimono is the traditional attire of Japan and is worn by Japanese women during special occasions. These kimonos have today become exceedingly popular all across the world. Kimonos have become a fashion trend and people love getting one for themselves.
As a foreigner, I love trying on the different types of Japanese kimono. There are so many styles, patterns, and colors of Japanese kimono. You can use all the different types of these kimonos to match your different moods and seasons. Want to know about all these different types of kimono? Continue reading!
What is a Japanese Kimono?
Kimono is a traditional Japanese attire that is worn on different occasions. Just like every culture follows a particular dress code, Japan also does the same. There are different types of kimonos that are worn on various different occasions. It is a cloth that is wrapped around the body and knotted on the left side with some accessories over it. Also, both married and unmarried women wear kimonos but of different types.
Types of Kimono
Kimono Type1: Furisode
The first type of kimono falls in the category of formal wear depending upon how long and short the sleeves are. Furisode kimono is worn by young and unmarried women. There are three different types of Furisode kimonos that are differentiated on the basis of their sleeves, that is short, medium, and long; these are named Kofurisode, chu-furisode, and Ofurisode, respectively.
From these, Ofurisode is the most formal one with paddings attached to it and is mostly worn on special occasions like weddings or any other function. The padding in this type of kimono adds some weight to it. It also adds durability to the kimono.
Chu-furisode, on the other hand, is light and comes without any padding. It has some eye-catching prints on it. It has become a very popular option amongst young women. This is a go-to option for many during the hot summer months because it is lighter and cooler than the other types.
Lastly, Kofurisode is the one that can be paired with hakama pants or formal pants and has the shortest sleeves. It is also not as common as other Furisode kimono types. This type was extremely popular amongst Japanese school girls during the Meiji period.
Kimono Type 2: Hikizuri
Hikizuri is another type of kimono that is known to be worn by wealthy women. The meaning of Hikizuri is ‘trailing skirt’ which means that this kimono has a long cloth attached to it.
Currently, this kimono is worn by stage performers and dancers. Now, women tie this cloth around their waist when they move out while wearing this kimono. When I went to Japan, I tried this one and felt absolutely beautiful in this lovely dress. It really brought out this whole new feminine side that made me feel gorgeous and confident.
Kimono Type 3: Tomesode
I wore a colorful Tomesode kimono when I visited Japan, mainly because I wanted to try all different types at least once in my life. My recent trip to Japan helped me fulfill this wish to a great extent.
There is a reason behind wearing a colorful one. Tomesode kimono are the most formal ones with 1 to 5 crests and silver or golden work on them. There are two types: black, which is only worn by married women and which has golden and silver work; colorful, which is basically a kimono in different colors and prints and is worn by unmarried girls.
If you have a tea party or a marriage party to attend in Japan, do give this kimono a try. This kimono will surely help you get involved in the beauty of Japanese culture.
Kimono Type 4: Houmongi
Here is another kimono dress that is known as Houmongi, which means a visiting dress. Basically, you can wear this dress when you have to visit a friend or attend an informal gathering.
This dress is not very formal as compared to the most formal one ‘Tomesode’. Semi-formal in nature, these have a pattern going around the sleeves and hemline which looks elegant and beautiful.
Kimono Type 5: Iro Muji
This kimono is extremely simple and sophisticated as it has no patterns or prints. The simplicity of this kimono speaks for it. In this category only, you can also find a particular simple kimono for tea parties or casual occasions.
Talking about them being formal or non-formal, it entirely depends on the number of crests the kimono has. Also, they can be worn by both married and unmarried women. I have got one for myself as well and it is always admired by people. I make sure I wear it to certain gatherings, simply because it has an air of beauty and grace in it.
Kimono Type 6: Komon
Earlier, when western clothes were not really hyped in Japan, people used to wear Komon. Komon is the most common and informal kimono type of all and is suitable for daily wear and small occasions.
It is not appropriate to wear them at big events. Talking about the pattern, they are simple and have vertical lines or print, and are available in multiple colors. I love to know deeply about other cultures and food and clothing are two of the best ways.
While I was staying back in Japan, I had myself a few pairs to get a real feeling there. And believe me, Komon was all I wore for most of my stay in Japan. It is absolutely comfortable and it also helps you blend in with the locals.
Kimono Type 7: Yukata
In summers, everybody prefers clothes that are light and cool. Similarly, this Japanese kimono comes in the category of comfortable summer wear dress. Yukata dress is worn at summer festivals or on a hot day out.
They are not fancy-looking kimonos but are very simple and subtle with beautiful prints and colors. Being the most informal of all, this is also the very famous type as it is more comfortable. When I was in Japan, I was lucky enough to enjoy one of the summer festivals called cosplay and I wore this beautiful garment there to feel the vibe from my heart.
Kimono Type 8: Shiromuki
Shiromuki, a wedding kimono, is a white dress in the form of kimono that is worn by brides to look special and different. Every culture has its own meaning for a particular color and in the same way, the Japanese white kimono also has a special meaning for being white.
White is the symbol of accepting the new family and blending into it while accepting them by heart and that is what this dress signifies. Other than that, it looks beautiful and even enhances the beauty of the bride in the most perfect way. I saw my Japanese colleague wearing it on her special day and she truly looked fabulous while staying true to her roots.
Kimono Type 9: Mofuku
Many cultures prefer white or black for sad events to keep the environment away from any disturbance. In Japanese culture, it is the color black that is worn on a mourning day. This kimono type, known as Mofuku, is a black silk fabric dress that is worn by both men and women.
Also, it is worn over white undergarments and also has five crests on it. In Japan, black is the color of death so if you plan to visit Japan, do not pack black clothes unless you are specifically going for such an event.
Kimono Type 10: Katamigawari
In the wide category and range of kimonos, this type is completely different from all other formal and casual kimonos. It is different because of its patterns, colors, and designs.
To be precise, these are worn by stage performers and dancers and have double-sided patterns, which means having a different color and print on the left and right sides.
The name ‘Katamigawari’ itself means half and half. The fabric of these kimonos is different from the ones worn by others and it needs to be washed regularly. While attending an event in Japan, I had noticed the performers dancing beautifully wearing these beautiful kimonos. It was an eye-catchy moment as the dress represented the culture brilliantly.
Yes, the men in Japan also wear kimono, although it is not as common or popular as the women’s kimono. There was a time in Japan when men used to wear kimono every day. While women’s kimonos are vibrant and colorful with beautiful artwork, the kimonos worn by men are more subdued.
The formal men’s kimono type is a simple yet sophisticated combination of kimono pants and kimono jackets, known as Hakama and Haori respectively.
Kinagashi is also a very common kimono style for men. It is simply worn with an obi belt that is tied around the waist.
The beauty of the Japanese kimono
Japanese kimonos have come a long way, with various types and a change of rules. Today, the rules for wearing kimonos are not as strict as they used to be. It is probably because of this that we see the younger generation making use of modern fabrics and vibrant colors to make their kimonos.
These are then paired with unconventional accessories. I hope this guide helped you understand the kimono culture of Japan a little more. Now that you have all this knowledge, why not try one on for yourself? There is no better way to experience Japanese culture better.