Take a walk in Higashiyama wearing a ‘real’ kimono.
Text & Photo : Kaniwa Hioki
Sometimes foreigners ask me, ‘Why don’t you wear your own national costume?’
For their customs, it might be weird to see Japanese people wear a western clothes. Quite a few people wear Kimono only a few times in their lives. Once you compare to the other countries, the biggest reason will be that you need some knowledge and skills to wear it, but it is also considered that our life style got changed completely after postwar economic growth.
Kyoto is the representative city of ‘Japanese culture’. Japanese national clothes will fit into the atmosphere here. You can see more people wearing Kimono and Yukawa in this city compare to the other prefectures in Japan. Some people wear Kimono as their usual clothes in their daily life, others wear for their work. Moreover, a lot of tourists start wearing Kimono and Yukawa recently so that it is quite natural to see so many Japanese national clothes here in Kyoto.
Our national clothes is ‘Kimono’. We have Yuzen-zome and Nishijin-ori, which has old history in its traditional techniques and those are inherited nowadays and still keep it high quality as it was before. Once you decide to buy them, it is very expensive for your wallet, so that ‘rental kimono’ business has come up recently in order to fulfill people’s dream. People will help to wear Kimono and after that you can go out to the city. Talking a walk with Kimono and visiting old historical places... it will definitely look attractive especially to the tourists and foreigners.
Rental Kimono and Cafe, ‘Wakana’ was opened in 2015 close to Kodai-ji Temple, one of the famous temples in Higashiyama. The owner is Yuka Irigaki, who was chosen as ‘Miss Kimono’ in 2015.
To tell you the truth, most of the rental kimono shops use a cheap kimono made in foreign countries, but she thinks, “it doesn’t make any senses to wear Kimono”, so that she provides ‘Honmamon (real thing)’ products made and dyed in Japan.
About 150 beautiful seasonal designed kimono are ready all the time. What they have is less than the other shops, but everything has a quality proof and customers will feel great security about it. Moreover, when they help you to wear Kimono, they provide underwear and towel for Kimono and make your style at the best by fitting your body line. They will give you and advice of the precise and beautiful way of wearing Kimono.
There are 3 kinds of rental courses. Casual course (5,000 yen): Polyester Komon with a pure silk sash. Kyo-bijin course (7,000 yen): Pure silk Komon with a pure silk sash. High class course (9,000 yen): Pure silk semi-formal kimono with a pure silk sash. They are all including a hair set, adjustment, and Kitsuke by a professional stylist.
Since there are famous sightseeing spots such as Kodai-ji Temple, Kiyomizu-dera Temple, Yasaka-jinja Shrine, Chion-in Temple, and Kennin-ji Temple, so that this is also a good point that you can take amazing pictures with a good scenery behind right after you walk out of the shop wearing kimono.
In addition, they are also well-known for ‘Obanzai plate’(1,500yen) at their cafe using local Kyo-yasai and also you can have an experience of Maccha ceremony as well. ( Rental users 500yen, regular customers 1,000yen)
We asked how Ms.Irigaki thinks of kimono and she answered, “Usually, national costumes in other countries are mostly made in embroidery, but we have two amazing techniques together, dying and weaving, which have been inherited more than 1,000 years. I would like everyone to wear real kimono in practice and feel it how beautiful it is”.
(Ms. Irigaki on the right side in the picture)
ADDRESS : 2F 476-2 Shimokawaramachi, Higashiyama-ku, Kyoto City (MAP)
PHONE : +81(0)75-746-2242
HOURS : 9:00 a.m. ~ 7:00 p.m.
*Reception time will be opened till 4:00p.m. *Kimono needs to be returned by 6:30 p.m.
★TRAVEL IDEA ‘10 Things To Do in Kyoto'
① Visiting Temples and Shrines
② Buying souvenirs
③ Visiting Arashiyama・Sagano
④ Having Kyo-ryori
⑤ Wearing Kimono
⑥ Having Japanese tea
⑦ Having seafood
⑧ Visiting shops in Machiya
⑨ Being exposed to a traditional culture
⑩ Feeling nature