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Difference between Kimono and Yukata

Japanese traditional costume, Kimono.

The intricate dyeing and weaving, gorgeous patterns, and beauty of the fabric attract people from all over the world.

There are many different types of such kimonos.

Kimonos are gorgeous and prestigious kimonos worn for weddings and funerals, and are positioned as dresses worn at parties and other events.

Kimonos are also enjoyed in various settings such as theater, dining, and walking around town.

The yukata, one of the most casual and beloved everyday wear, is another type of kimono.

There are many differences between a kimono and a yukata.

This section introduces the characteristics and differences between kimono and yukata.

1. what is a kimono?

three geisha walking between buildings
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The kimono is a uniquely Japanese garment that has been worn by the Japanese people since ancient times.

Today, it is worn mainly for formal occasions.

Silk is the most commonly used material, but other synthetic fibers such as hemp, wool, cotton, and polyester are also available.

Depending on the season, you can wear a lined versatile kimono (awase) or an unlined singlet (hitoe).

Versatility is worn from October to May when the temperature is cooler.

Single garments are worn from May to June and September to October.

In July and August, the midsummer months, people wear kimonos called usumonos.

Thin kimonos include silk ro, gauze, and linen kimonos.

Kimonos are enjoyed according to the season by pattern, color, weave, and tailoring.

Dress in a pattern chosen ahead of the season.

Kimonos also have a prestige.

Kimonos require rules for when, where, and for what purpose they are to be worn, and the choice should be made according to those rules.

For example, tomesode and furisode are worn as formal attire.

There are semi-formal kimonos (hoomongi) and iromuki, and tsukebake (tsukezage), which is an abbreviated form of formal wear.

Lower-ranked everyday wear includes tsumugi (pongee) and komon (small pattern).

The most downgraded is the yukata (yukata).

While the rules for kimono are complex for weddings, funerals, and artistic ceremonies, the rules for everyday wear are becoming more relaxed.

Recently, the trend has shifted toward valuing the enjoyment of kimono over old rules.

2. what is a yukata?

man and a woman drawing together
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A yukata is a type of kimono.

The yukata is the lowest-ranked and most casual of all kimonos.

Yukata are generally made of cotton and are tailored in a manner similar to a single-clothes kimono.

The yukata originated from the yukatabira, or yukata worn by aristocrats in the Heian period (794-1185) when taking a steam bath.

Later, it was made of cotton and became a yukata worn after a hot bath.

Currently, other yukata materials include cotton linen and polyester.

Yukata is worn during the hot summer months of June through August.

Cotton is suitable for yukata because it is comfortable to wear even when sweating.

The tailoring of a yukata is similar to that of a single kimono, but the occasions for wearing a yukata are different from those for wearing a kimono.

There are various types of kimono, from formal wear to everyday wear.

Yukata is suitable for casual outings.

For example, it is often worn at summer festivals, fireworks displays, beer gardens, and home parties.

Since it is easier to put on than a kimono, it can be worn casually for everyday outings.

3. what is the difference between a yukata and a kimono?

man and woman in their game character costumes
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The difference between a yukata and a kimono is shown in the following table.

 yukata (light cotton kimono worn in the summer or used as a bathrobe)clothing
raw materialscottonSilk, hemp, wool, cotton, polyester, etc.
Scenes of WearSummer, casual outingsYear-round, from weddings and funerals to casual everyday wear
underwear(Japanese-style) undershirt worn under nagajubanUnderwear, long underwear
obihalf-width obi (kimono sash)Fukuro obi, Nagoya obi, han-haba obi, etc.
footweargetaZori, Geta

There are various other minor differences.

4. what about men? What is the difference between a kimono and a yukata for men?

photo of a woman in a floral kimono walking with a man in blue clothes
Photo by Nguyễn Thanh Tùng on

The difference between kimono and yukata for men is the same as that for women.

Men’s kimonos also have their own class, with different materials, different ways of wearing them, and different obis and footwear.

Kimonos for men are tailored using the same materials as those for women.

Kimonos are made of silk, hemp, wool, cotton, polyester, and other synthetic fibers.

In addition, yukata are available in cotton, cotton linen, and other materials.

Men’s kimonos should be worn with either a kaku obi or a hyogo obi.

The material and pattern of a square sash determines its rank, and pure silk (shoken) is the material with the highest rank.

In kaku obi, cotton and polyester are of lower rank, and are used for yukata and casual kimonos.

This obi is worn with casual kimonos such as hyoko obi and yukata.

It became popular from the end of the Edo period to the Meiji period (1868-1912), and is also called “shosei obi” (calligraphy student belt) because it was popular among calligraphy students.

Kaku obi is used for high to low rank kimonos, while hyoko obi is used for yukata and casual kimonos.

Kimonos and yukatas for men also have their own characteristics and are worn in different situations.

5. what is the difference between a kimono obi and a yukata obi?

Kimono obis include the round obi, pouch obi, Nagoya obi, and han-haba obi.

The type of obi, how it is woven, and how it is dyed will affect its grade.

The round obi is the most luxurious and most prestigious obi, and is worn by maiko and bridal gowns.

Fukuro obi is a sash worn for formal occasions.

It is mainly worn with formal kimonos of high rank, such as tomesode, furisode, and visiting kimono.

A Nagoya obi is an obi to be worn with a tsukebake or colored kimono for semi-formal wear.

Nagoya obis with modest gold or silver threads are worn with everyday outfits such as tsumugi or komon.

A half-width obi of lower rank is matched with everyday wear or a yukata.

The following obis are available for yukata

Half-width obi

This obi is made with a width of 4″, half of the standard 8″ obi width.

sash made of leather

It can be easily put on by simply attaching the parts that are already tied together.

Heian-period ceremony where a newlywed groom and bride eat a rice-cake on the third night after the wedding ceremony

Obi made of soft material. Easy to tie and easy to put on, even for beginners.

Small sack belt

Two obis sewn together to form a reversible obi.

Single belt

This obi is tailored in one piece. The thinness of this obi makes it light and easy to fasten.

There are various types of yukata obis.

Choose an obi that is easy to fasten according to the pattern and color of the yukata you wish to wear.

Those who are accustomed to wearing kimonos that are considered iki (stylish) may wear a yukata with a Nagoya obi in a kimono style.

However, it is difficult for people who do not wear kimonos on a daily basis to dress in this way, so we recommend a Tsukuri obi or Hyogi obi for yukata for yukata.

Obis that can be easily fastened, such as obis that are tailored to be reversible or made of soft material, are popular.

Also, the Tsukuri Obi, which is knotted up, is perfect for kimono beginners.

6. what is the difference between yukata underwear and kimono underwear?

Underwear for yukata is a hada-juban (underwear).

Kimonos are worn with underwear and a nagajuban (long underwear) over the underwear.

Since yukata is worn during the hot season, you may find it hot to wear a layer of underwear.

Although it is tempting to wear just undergarments on bare skin, yukata can be worn comfortably with a layer of cotton underwear that absorbs perspiration.

Undergarments are necessary because they also serve to prevent sweat stains on the yukata.

Since kimonos cannot be washed frequently, sweat stains are prevented by wearing underwear and long underwear in layers.

The underwear worn under the kimono is usually made of the same cotton material as the yukata.

Long underwear worn under a versatile kimono should be either versatile or single garment.

A single-layer kimono is worn with a single-layer long undergarment.

7. what is the difference between kimono footwear and yukata footwear?

Kimono footwear consists of tabi socks and zori sandals.

Choose sandals that match the class of the kimono.

Zori (Japanese sandals) also have a certain prestige, and sandals with a high stand have a higher prestige.

For yukata, wear geta on bare feet.

There are three types of geta: Koma geta, Komachi geta, Ukon geta, and Funagata geta.

These geta have no rank, so choose ones that are easy to wear and match the atmosphere of the yukata.

Recently, some people coordinate lace or colored tabi socks when wearing yukata or casual kimono.

Wearing geta with bare feet may cause pain in the nose strap, but this can be alleviated by wearing tabi socks.

8. what is the difference between kimono and yukata hairstyles?

Kimonos and yukatas both go well with an up-do hairstyle that keeps the collar neat and clean.

Even with kimono, the hair arrangement differs for formal wear and for everyday outings.

When formal attire is worn at a wedding, it should be neatly gathered into a glamorous updo and formal hair accessories should be worn.

Kanzashi (ornamental hairpins) and hair accessories made of pearls and tortoiseshell are recommended.

Hair accessories using tsumazaiku or ribbons for everyday outings and barrettes used for clothes also go well with kimonos.

Wear your hair up when you wear a yukata, but wear hair accessories for casual or everyday use.

Since yukata is an everyday outfit, it is put together with a casual arrangement of hair.

A slightly softer updo is a modern and fashionable way to put together hair for a yukata.

9. what is the difference between kimono and yukata fabrics?

Kimonos are tailored in a variety of materials: silk, linen, cotton, wool, polyester, and other synthetic fibers.

There are two types of silk kimono: dyed and woven.

Dyeing includes hand-dyeing, tie-dyeing, and stencil dyeing.

Woven fabrics include pongee and gozome.

There are various types of weaves, such as crepe de chine and habutae, each with different textures.

There are two types of summer kimono fabrics: gauze and gauze.

The “ro” weave has an open seam called a “ro-me”.

Gauze is a weave with a crevice weave that gives the whole fabric a translucent feel.

The fabric of summer kimonos is woven in a way that creates gaps to feel cooler.

Yukata are mainly made of cotton, cotton linen, or polyester.

Yukata fabric weaving methods include

Coma land

Plain weave, non-transparent fabric. It is often used as a fabric for common yukata.

Cotton gauze

It has small holes called “rome” like a border pattern.

Cotton shrinkage

This fabric is woven by applying a strong twist to the threads. It is characterized by a unique wrinkle called a shibo.

Cotton Red Plum

A fabric made of fine and thick cotton yarns woven into a lattice pattern.

Cotton pongee

Fabric woven with fusible cotton yarn.

Patterns are dyed on these woven fabrics using stencil dyeing, chusen, tie-dye, and other methods.

The texture and pattern of each piece differs depending on how the fabric is woven and dyed.

You want to choose something comfortable for your skin.

Both yukata and kimono are patterned with an emphasis on seasonality.

Yukata are worn in summer and are dyed with summer flowers and nature.

Kimonos are made to be enjoyed from time to time with seasonal patterns and festive patterns that can be worn all year round.

10. when, where, and how is a kimono worn?

There is a kimono for every situation, anytime, anywhere.

For example, people wear furisode for coming-of-age and graduation ceremonies, and tomesode or visiting kimono for weddings.

Kimonos have always been the choice of many people for life’s milestones.

When wearing it as formal attire, follow the rules so as not to be disrespectful to other attendees.

When worn casually as a going-out outfit, we enjoy new ways of dressing while keeping the rules of the kimono in mind.

Wear the kimono you like, when and where you want to wear it, and coordinate it with the bag and footwear of your choice.

The modern kimono is changing so that men and women of all ages can enjoy it freely.

From now on, why don’t you enjoy kimonos with a new and free way of dressing?


Add a little color to your daily life!