【Culture】The difference of “Yukata” and “Kimono”2015.04.16

04/16 着物

Probably you already know that “Kimono” presents Japan’s national costume. For most foreigners, when they hear “Kimono”, what images come to mind? Maybe they image the one really gorgeous like a famous “Junihitoe” which is typical fashion of Japanese culture. However, we often prefer to wear “Yukata” at the opportunities for international exchange as a symbol of our unique culture. Not many people wear a traditional “Kimono” in those occasions. Those “Yukata” and “Kimono” are looks really the same but what are the differences of those two?

04/16 浴衣

“Yukata” is a kind of “Kimono”

In Japan, we have many kinds of “Kimono” so we just sorted out by shapes or purpose or material and “Yukata” is one of them. So, let’s trace “Yukata” to its origin. Tracing it back through history till the Heian Era, people of that time wears a simple “Kimono” made of cotton after they had a bath. That simple “Kimono” was the beginning of “Yukata.” Then after the Edo Era, originally “Yukata” was worn as a nightwear but it gradually became everyday attire for summer until now. The sight of many people wears colorful “Yukata” at some festivals in the summer time which have become an annual feature in Japan today. There are varieties of different choices of “Yukata” in Japan, and it’s also not so expensive, comparing with Kimono. That is why men and women at all ages will enjoy wearing fashionable “Yukata” around this time of every year.

“Shiromuku” and “Irouchikake”

Those two special “Kimono” is worn as a typical wedding costume in Japan and it is continues to be passionately loved by people in Japan. Perhaps “Shiromuku” is equal to a solid white wedding dress and “Irouchikake” is equal to something like gorgeous cocktail dress.


This type of “Kimono” is the most glittering and gorgeous of all among others. It can be worn by unmarried women only and can wear for formal occasion like a wedding party or ceremony or a things like has a dress cord.

There are many more kinds of “Kimono” of course but most of them are not worn so often nowadays in Japan.

By the way, it is time to get back to the subject.
After all, what is the difference of “Yukata” and “Kimono” then?
Personally, the biggest difference of “Yukata” and “Kimono (means the Kimono besides Yukata)” is depends on whether you can wear it for formal occasion or not, I think.
Also “Yukata” is easier to try on for foreigner than other traditional “Kimono” that for sure.

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