A Brief Guide to the Japanese Kimono

Woman wearing a kimono and carrying an umbrella. Photo by Adrien Bruneau on Unsplash.

The Kimono is a traditional Japanese garment worn until the introduction of Western clothing culture in the Meiji era.

Due to the influx of clothes from the Meiji era, it is less often worn daily. Nowadays, it is mainly used as a formal dress for celebrations such as New Year's, coming-of-age ceremonies, and weddings.

Maiko wearing a red kimono in Kyoto, Japan. Photo by Boudewijn Huysmans on Unsplash.


There are various types of Kimono, and it depends on where you wear them. Below are some examples.

  • Black Tomesode has a crest pattern and hem pattern on a black background. It is a formal dress for married women's ceremonies (relatives' weddings, etc.)
  • Furisode is worn for coming-of-age ceremonies. The sleeve length is up to the ankle, and it is a formal dress for unmarried women.
  • Colored Tomesode uses a base color other than black. They feature crest and hem patterns. Formal wear for weddings and social gatherings.
  • Houmongi is a pattern that spreads from the chest to the whole and is suitable for various parties.
  • Tsukesaghe are not as formal as Houmongi.
  • Plain kimonos are dyed in colors other than black.
  • Komon are dyed and are covered with a repeating pattern. These are worn for a wide range of occasions.
  • Tsumugi are made from woven fabric and more likely to be used for less formal occasions.
  • Yukata are typically made from cotton and are popularly worn, even nowadays, for summer events.
  • Mourning clothes are worn at funerals or events related to paying respect to the deceased.

 Three women wearing yukata. Photo by Adrien Bruneau on Unsplash.

Depending on the type, the fabric and pattern used are also different. You can also enjoy choosing a pattern depending on the season.

After seeing the examples above, you now know that there is no single type of Kimono. It is a traditional Japanese clothing genre linked to the many events we might encounter throughout the year.

Of course, wearing a kimono is not practical for most people's daily lives. So, we have developed easy-to-use accessories to fit modern and busy lifestyles.


Photos credits (in order of appearance):

  1. Kazuo Ota on Unsplash
  2. Boudewijn Huysmans on Unsplash
  3. Adrien Bruneau on Unsplash