Kimono Sightings in Tokyo’s Springtime

“On the Tokyo subway,
Sounds of rushing wind,
Random kimono sighting” 

~by Matchahaiku.

Have you ever had a dream country which you’ve held dear in your heart? For me, that would be Japan. This is a country which I’ve been dying to go for the longest time. In my previous management consulting days, I travel extensively where I’ve worked and lived in many parts of Asia Pacific (China, South Korea, Hong Kong, etc.), and yet somehow, never Japan (!) ಠ_ಠ

There also seemed to be plenty of reasons as to why it was never a ‘right’ time to just go on my own. All this now sounds foolish when I breathed in Tokyo’s air of early spring in the last days of March this year and see my first kimono right in front of me (。♥‿♥。). Since kimono isn’t worn as daily wear anymore, I had fun playing a small game of kimono-spotting as I explored Tokyo. 😀

1. At Shinjuku train station

Kimono hakama shinjuku station tokyo japan

Lady in aubergine-white patterned kimono with navy hakama. Wiki-san says hakama are usually worn by teachers for graduation ceremonies

Kimono with michiyuki tokyo japan

Her friend’s kimono is well covered up by her lilac michiyuki (overcoat), as the weather is still quite cold.

2. At Shinjuku Gyoen (park)

Bridal kimono shinjuku gyoen tokyo japan

Wedding kimono! This couple picked a great place (Shinjuku Gyoen!) & time (sakura in first bloom!) for their wedding photoshoot ^o^

Bridal kimono shinjuku gyoen tokyo japan

Kimono attracts attention. Bridal *and* groom kimono will earn you your very own paparazzi <sweatdrop>

Doll kimono sakura Shinjuku Gyoen Tokyo

A gorgeous red kimono and obi, under a huge spray of sakura….

Doll kimono otaku shinjuku gyoen tokyo

… worn by a doll in her own photoshoot. I do believe this would be my first sighting of a Dolfie doll 😀

3. At Hakone-Yumoto shops

kimono michiyuki hakone

I love the coordination of this gold plain kimono with the beautiful michiyuki over it  🙂

Kimono michiyuki shawl hakone japan

Hakone is a lot colder than Tokyo. So it’s wise to wear a warm shawl over your kimono layers.

4. At Tenseien ryokan (inn), Hakone

Tenseien yukata, Hakone

Oooooooh, so many yukata choices – which one to wear after my onsen dip? Decisions, decisions….

Yukata Tenseien Hakone

… I don’t look too bad in this one, right? \(^ D ^ )

5. At the food stalls of Ueno & Asakusa

Asakusa stall worker in samue

Asakusa stall staff in samue (cold weather work clothes). This one is a very sweet pink, befitting the design theme of its stall 😀

Ikayaki samue Ueno Park Tokyo

Stall owner in navy samue preparing his Ikayaki for the hungry folks in Ueno Park for yozakura (sakura night viewing). His stall sign is *huge* and (fortunately) in hiragana for me to understand 😉

Want to know more about kimono? Here are some resources you can start with:

Naomicosplay has a pretty good gallery with explanations of the various types of kimono worn in the past and present.

Kimono Nagoya‘s daily reviews of new (and very pretty!) kimono designs with prices and product descriptions will have you reaching for your purse and asking where to buy that dream piece (must… resist… !)

The New York Times shares a fascinating interview of the kimono maker shop Chiso with its rich legacy since their establishment in 1555 (wow!). Their price tags of ¥380,000 to ¥10 million (~US$3,900 to US$103,000) may have you reaching for your pain pills instead when you realize their beautiful designs are out of your reach.

Geisha Moments curates beautiful photos of geisha – their kimono, paraphernalia, environment – and Japanese traditional culture. This Facebook Page is updated many times daily so you’ll be seeing many awesome pictures of traditional Japan in your News Feed.

Liza Dalby‘s book Kimono is a meticulously researched and lovingly written account of the evolution of kimono to its present form. This was the book that I cut my teeth on all about kimono and I still enjoy re-reading it every now and then.

Lastly, ever wanted to know what’s the difference between yukata (casual unlined robe usually worn during summer) and kimonoEikyô Magazine provides this easy visual comparison 🙂

Yukata Kimono differences

Note: First words are in Japanese, the rest in Spanish – example: Geta (Japanese), sandalias de madera (Spanish). The manga carta and manga larga terms here are purely Spanish, and nothing to do with Japanese comic books (~ ̄▽ ̄)~


Still feeling very cultural? Then let’s have a peep at a completely different tradition in The Nine Emperor Gods Festival & Its Psychedelically Cute Turtle Buns

Or complete your kimono mood with cats. Why? Because cute cats go well with everything. They just do – Purrrrr-fectly Good Times at Tom’s (Cat) Cafe, Hongdae

Like Etui Trove on Facebook for instant updates of this blog and more!  ♥ヽ(´ ∀ ` )ノ

Remember to comment or share if you like this post!  **╮(´∀`)


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