Wondering how to rent a Kimono in Kyoto? You are in the right place because I will share my personal experience and other useful tips.
Kyoto is located in the heart of Japan and it features the country’s rich history and cultural heritage. With its ancient temples, serene tea houses, and picturesque gardens, Kyoto offers a glimpse into Japan’s past.
If you are looking for a fun experience during your trip, renting a traditional Kimono in Kyoto should be on top of your list. It is still one of my highlights from my time in Kyoto and I want you to try the same!
This travel guide will prepare you for the process, help you find the best Kimono rental in Kyoto, and make the process smooth without any hiccups. Ready to dive in? Let’s go!
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What is a Kimono?
A kimono is a traditional Japanese garment known for its distinctive T-shaped form, wide sleeves, and wrap-around style. Kimonos come in various designs, colors, and materials, reflecting both the wearer’s style and the event’s formality.
The word “kimono” itself translates to “thing to wear” in Japanese. This traditional attire is typically made from silk or other high-quality fabrics, contributing to its luxurious feel and appearance. The choice of material often depends on the season and the formality of the occasion.
Kimonos are worn on various occasions, from formal ceremonies such as weddings and tea ceremonies to more casual events like festivals.
What is the symbolic meaning behind the Kimono?
Serving as a symbol of Japan’s rich cultural heritage, the kimono has a history dating back centuries and continues to hold a significant place in contemporary Japanese fashion and ceremonies.
Its significance lies in its representation of tradition, cultural identity, and the expression of important life events.
What is the difference between men’s and women’s Kimono?
Men’s and women’s kimonos differ in cut, collar style, obi design, patterns, and accessories.
Women’s kimonos have a pronounced T-shaped silhouette with wider sleeves, an ornate collar, and a wider, decorative obi. They often feature a diverse range of colors and intricate patterns.
In contrast, men’s kimonos have a straighter T-shape, a simpler collar, and a narrower, more functional obi. They generally favor subdued colors and simpler patterns.
Accessories, such as hair ornaments and footwear, are more elaborate for women, while men’s accessories are straightforward, reflecting varying cultural norms and historical practices.
Is it okay for a tourist to wear a Kimono?
Absolutely! It’s perfectly acceptable and even encouraged for tourists to wear a Kimono when visiting Kyoto. Many places, especially in popular tourist areas, offer rental services where tourists can experience the joy of wearing a Kimono.
When we wandered off the tourist area of Kyoto wearing a Kimono, locals actually stopped to compliment us and even asked for a photo. So, feel free to embrace the opportunity to wear a Kimono in Kyoto, because it is such a fun experience.
How to wear a Kimono?
While the process of putting on a kimono is quite complicated and involves multiple important details, you don’t need to memorize it. Every rental shop offers assistance when it comes to putting on a kimono and it is included in the price.
I have to say that the process was relatively quick, however, it was a two-woman job. These skilled ladies have mastered the art of putting on a kimono, so you don’t have to.
If you are wondering what to wear under a kimono, you can’t go wrong with a slip dress. You can choose leggings with a top if you are afraid to be cold.
Where to find a Kimono rental in Kyoto?
As you wander around popular areas of Kyoto, you will see many Kimono rentals around you, however, it is best to pick out your rental online and secure your spot beforehand. Click here to see all available options.
We booked a kimono rental called Kanwa, so this review will focus on the process at the Kanwa rental shop, however, you can expect pretty much the same experience at any other Kimono rental shop.
When picking out the Kimono rental, I recommend you check the location of the shop and reviews.
How much does it cost to rent a kimono in Kyoto?
Prices for kimono rental in Kyoto vary from 25 USD to 90 USD. It depends if you want to book the basic kimono or prefer something from a luxury selection. Even if you book the basic Kimono, but find something that you like at the luxury selection, you can upgrade your reservation at the rental.
Accessories such as headwear, bags, umbrellas, and even hair styling are free at the Kanwa Kimono Rental. Most of the rentals in Kyoto charge an extra fee for accessories and hair styling.
Process of renting a Kimono in Kyoto
Most of the rental shops open around 9 am and Kanwa was not an exception. Considering the popularity of the place, I recommend you arrive at least 10 minutes before the opening time to secure your spot as one of the first.
Once the rental is open, you need to claim your reservation and the staff will guide you to pick out the right kimono. As mentioned, you can upgrade your kimono at any time.
After that, you can proceed to changing rooms. The lovely ladies at the shop will assist you with the process and make sure that your kimono looks beautiful on you.
From there, you can style your hair. It is not mandatory and most of the places charge an extra fee for it, but it is up to you to decide. You can also pick out accessories like bags, umbrellas, etc.
You can store your belongings (nothing valuable!) in the designated area and that’s it! You are ready to go!
We booked a package for a couple and the whole process took around 30 minutes. However, we were one of the first to enter and we both picked out our outfits very fast. If you come later during the day, make sure you keep a spare hour for the whole process.
Returning the Kimono
While most of the rentals close around 7 pm, the shop will ask you to return your kimono one hour before closing time. The process takes around 15 minutes and doesn’t require any assistance, however, it is better to come at the time indicated on your reservation.
Best places for Kimono photos in Kyoto
Considering that you will be out of the rental shop around 10 am, most of the famous attractions in Kyoto will be packed already. So I highly recommend that you explore some hidden gems.
If you are visiting during spring or fall, you can visit some parks and get some amazing photos with cherry blossoms or fall foliage.
We went for a walk in the old town of Kyoto and then took the bus to the Toji Temple. It was basically empty, so we had plenty of time to take photos. Make sure you read this Kyoto photo guide for all the best spots and photo tips.
Frequently asked questions about renting a Kimono in Kyoto
When is the best time to pick up the Kimono rental?
Opening time is the best time to pick up your Kimono. If something, you should arrive at least 10 minutes before your reservation to secure your spot and get dressed as one of the first ones.
What are the available sizes at the Kimono rental?
Kimono can be easily adjusted so there is a wide variety of sizes, starting from extra small to extra large. For women, you can find up to 140 cm width for chest and hips. For men, it goes up to 120 cm. Also, if you are 190 tall, you can find something that fits.
Can children wear a Kimono?
Technically, anyone can wear a kimono. Nevertheless, the majority of rental services typically provide kimonos for children aged 3 and older.
Can you rent a Kimono during winter?
Yes, you can rent a Kimono during winter, however, I recommend that you wear some comfortable and warm layers under. Most of the rentals offer extra accessories to keep you warm.
What to wear under a Kimono?
I chose to wear a slip dress and it was perfect for a sunny spring day. During the cold months, I would recommend a top with leggings instead.
How long does it take to put on a Kimono?
Ladies at the rental shops are very skilled, so it is actually a very fast process – approximately 15 minutes. It takes more time to pick out a kimono, accessories and wait your turn for the changing room.
Can I choose my accessories and Kimono?
Yes, it is totally up to you. Depending on your reservation type, you can pick from classic pieces to more luxurious items. Most of the rentals in Kyoto charge extra for each accessory. Kanwa was an exception and didn’t ask for an extra fee.
Further reading for Japan
Travel tips for Kyoto:
- 25 Best Photo Spots in Kyoto That You Must Visit
- Complete Kyoto Itinerary: How to Spend 3 Days in Kyoto
- Best Kyoto Tours: Unique Experiences in Kyoto That You Don’t Want to Miss
- 18 Best Free Things to Do in Kyoto + Kyoto Budget Tips
- Where to stay in Kyoto? Hotel Review of Mimaru Kyoto Nijo Castle
- 15 Best Places to Photograph Cherry Blossoms in Kyoto
Travel tips for Osaka:
- 15 Best Photo Spots in Osaka That You Can’t Miss
- 12 Best Ryokans in Osaka with a Private Onsen
- Osaka Itinerary: How to Spend 3 Days in Osaka
- 10 Best Food Tours in Osaka for Foodies
- How to Plan a Day Trip to Himeji: Travel Tips and Things to Know Before Visiting
Travel tips for Tokyo:
- 13 Best Tokyo Tours: Fun and Unique Experiences in Tokyo
- 13 Incredible Hotels With Tokyo Tower View In Tokyo
- 15 Epic Hotels with a Mount Fuji View in Japan
Other useful tips for visiting Japan
🏠 Need a place to stay? Browse Booking or Agoda
💃 How about fun experiences? GetYourGuide, Viator, and Klook have it all
🚗 Considering renting a car in Japan? Use Rentalcars
🚂 If you need transfers, bus or train tickets, check 12Go
🔒 Don’t forget about travel insurance from HeyMondo
This is the end of the Kimono guide and I am sure that now you know how to rent a Kimono in Kyoto. Everything from finding the right rental, picking out the most beautiful Kimono, and returning it on time.
I would love to hear your thoughts, so if you have any feedback or additional tips, leave a comment below. Also, check out my Instagram for regular travel videos and travel inspiration. Or explore other destinations on this travel blog.