Photo:d'n'c on Flickr

Kimono or Yukata?

You might notice many people wearing a kimono these days in Japan, because it is a tradition to do so for the New Year. But did you notice that it's quite different from the yukata, which is worn in summer in festivals? Let's see what are the differences between the two garments.


Photo : 2benny on Flickr

How well do you know the Kimono? It is one of the most famous traditional garments. The word Kimono is from two words 着 “Ki” and 物 “mono”. The word着 “Ki” means wear in Japanese, and the word 物 “mono” means something in Japanese. So, it literally means something to wear in Japanese. It is a full-length robe, which is usually worn during special events such as weddings and tea ceremonies in Japan. Japanese young women usually use Kimono for celebrating their coming of age in Japan, or usually known as “Seijin no hi”.


Photo : Khánh Hmoong on Flickr

The word Yukata is from two words of Japanese, 浴 “Yu” and 衣 “kata”. The word 浴 “Yu” means to bathe, and the word 衣 “kata” means garment in Japanese. So it literally means to bathe in garment in Japanese. It is also known the summer version for Kimono, which is usually made of cotton or synthetic fabric. Maybe some of you feel a little bit confused about the differences between these two things. So, let’s learn more about them!

The Material

Photo : threefishsleeping on Flickr

As I said before, Yukata is usually made of cotton or synthetic fabric (polyester), it is different with the material for Kimono. Kimono is usually made of silk, so it looks more beautiful than Yukata. Because of that, the price of Kimono is a lot more than the price of Yukata, and because Yukata is made of cotton, it is cooler to wear it during summer.

The Sleeves

Photo : Kyle Hasegawa on Flickr

Yukata’s sleeves will not be longer than 50 cm, while Kimono’s sleeves vary according to age and in what event it is used. The Kimono with the longest sleeves is called Furisode. Its length is around 39 to 42 inches (around 110 cm). Furisode is the most formal Kimono, and usually used worn at coming of age day in Japan.

The Occasions

Photo :  toyohara on Flickr

The occasions to wear Kimono and Yukata are different each other. Kimono is usually worn for formal events, such as New Year’s party, wedding ceremony, coming of age day, and etc. It is different with Yukata, which is usually worn in during summer, such as going to any kind of matsuri or festival in Japan, or going to fireworks festivals in summer.

The Styles

There are so many Kimonos’ styles, such as for women Kimonos; there are Furisode, Homongi, Iromuji, Komon, Mofuku, Tomesode, etc. Not only that, but when you wear a Kimono, a lining is worn underneath the patterned silk layer. It is different with Yukata, which is never worn with a lining. Yukata’s styles are simpler than Kimono. It is known that because Yukata is worn during summer, it is better to make it simpler and cooler.

At Last

Photo : Armand on Flickr

These were some of the differences between Kimono and Yukata. I recommend you to buy at least a Yukata if you come to Japan. It will be such an interesting experience to wear it during summer in Japan. Going to any festivals, or going to fireworks festivals during summer are much more interesting experiences if you wear a Yukata !

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