photo by Annie Guilloret
Almost 20 years has passed since the new century started. Probably, people no longer believe that there are samurais in kimono with swords on their side walking around in cities of Japan. But still, kimono is recognized as something represents Japanese culture. Even so, kimono is a special outfit for special occasions for most of the Japanese, so not many people were kimono in everyday life. Surprisingly, most of the Japanese cannot dress kimono by themselves. On the other hand, there are many foreign visitors who want to wear or purchase kimono during their stay in Japan. This column will introduce a few kimono-dressing classes in English for foreign visitors.
About kimono dressing
As you would notice straight away once arriving in Japan, people in modern Japanese society do not were kimono in their daily lives despite that it is traditional Japanese outfit. At the present day, kimono is “special outfit for special occasions” for most of the Japanese. Everyone was able to wear kimono by themselves 200 years ago, but now, no longer. Many Japanese people go to kimono dresser’s when they need to dress kimono. In fact, dressing kimono is not that difficult once you learn, however, there are many procedures and rules: wrapping kimono, tying a belt, adjusting kimono parts and tying strips. If you learn kimono-dressing for the first time, remembering those procedures may be a little complicated.
Modern Kimono Sasaka
At Modern Kimono Sasaka, a rental-kimono shop in Harajuku, you can learn kimono-dressing in English: Yukata(casual style kimono)-dressing with small belt course for beginners, and full kimono-dressing for advanced trainees. Yukata course costs ¥6,000 for 2 lessons, and full kimono-dressing course costs ¥20,000 for 4 lessons. Advanced trainees who can dress kimono by themselves can request particular skills such as how to tie a belt. Also, they have a certificate course for those who wish to be a kimono dresser (this course is designed for people who understand Japanese sufficiently). This shop is originally a kimono rental shop, therefore they also provide hair make up and kimono-dressing service for customers.
Modern Kimono Sasaka
Address: Room422, 4-3-15 Jingumae, Shibuya-ku, Tokyo
This kimono-dressing class is run by a professional kimono dresser/advisor. There are two courses. Firstly, a full-kimono-dressing course using “Nagoya-belt” (6-7 lessons) which you can learn specific area you wish to know. The price is ¥7,500/lesson for private lessons. Group lesson with 2-4 people are also available (inquire for pricing). Secondly, two types of one-day private lesson: ¥10,000 for 120 minutes lesson of full-kimono dressing with Nagoya belt, or ¥7,500 for yukata-dressing lesson. One-day group lesson is also available. They also provide package course including normal kimono-dressing service with rental kimono, hair make-up and photo shooting. All inquiries and booking should be made via website.
Kyoyo city is one of the most popular tourists’ destinations of Japan. With a large number of Buddhism temples and Shinto shrines with more than 1000 years of histories, the number of national treasures located in Kyoto surpasses the rest of cities. Thanks to the regulation to protect the townscape, a refinement of the good old city fully remains all over the city. Kyoto is definitely the best place to wander around dressing up in kimono. Close to Fishimi Inari Taisha, a popular sight-seeing spot, a kimono rental shop “Uruwashiki” runs kimono-dressing classes in English and Chinese. The prices are ¥18,000 (tax excluded/lesson fee only) per 2-3 hours lesson, plus kimono rental fee if you don’t have your own kimono. You may feel tight when you wear kimono for the first time. At Uruwashiki, you can also learn what the best move when wearing kimono as well.
Address: 26-1, Enokibashi-cho, Fukakusainari, Fushimi-ku, Kyoto
The beautiful materials and patterns of Japanese kimono attracts many people all over the world. There are many tourists who want to have a photo shoot in kimono or even purchase kimono while visiting Japan. But dressing kimono involves lots of steps and can be difficult for people who are not used to it. Many of them end up using kimono as a night gown, but this is quite disappointing. Why not learn how to dress kimono properly and wear it when you go back to your country. It is not that difficult once you learn it.