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Dresses of Japanese Culture: The Kimono

Kimono Tradition

Nothing represents Japan better than those beautiful, brightly colored robes worn by women, men or children. Those robes are called kimonos. Kimonos are the traditional garments of the Japanese. The kimono is a long robe with collars and long wide sleeves. It is wrapped around the body with the left side over the right. It is then secured in place with a sash which is called an obi. Kimonos are very important to the people of Japan. They are worn for special occasions (weddings, funerals and tea ceremonies) and can be worn daily as well.


red kimonoThe kimono became very popular during the Heian period (794- 1192). During this time long pieces of fabric were cut in straight lines and then sewn together. This was called the straight line method and it offered several advantages; clothing didn’t have to be sewn for body types, it was easy to fold and store, and the kimono was perfect for all seasons. The kimono was considered everyday clothing up until 1912, when Western culture began to influence the clothing of the Japanese.

  • Kimono: Traditional Japanese Clothing
  • History of the Kimono
  • The Kimono Page
  • Kimono Powerpoint

Parts of a Kimono

The kimono has a lot of parts and pieces and it is complicated to put on, usually you need another person to help you put everything in place. Below is a list of some of the parts and pieces of a kimono.


Nagajuban - undergarment of the kimono (usually made of a light white material).
Haneri - a collar sewn onto the nagajuban.
Koshi himo - 3-6 thin strings that hold everything in place (used underneath the obi).
Date Jime - under belt.
Obi - a sash that wraps around the waist and is tied in the back.
Obiage - scarf tied over obi and then tucked into the upper edge of the obi.
obidome - decorative brooch worn over the obijime knot.
Obijime- decorative cord tied over obi knot.
Obi musubi - obi bow.
Mon - family crests
Zori - formal shoes
Tabi - split toe socks

  • Wearing a Kimono
  • Diagram of Japanese Traditional Clothing
  • Kimono Images
  • Basic Parts of the Kimono
  • Kimono Terminology


The kimono comes in many styles for women, men and children. Women’s kimonos are usually the fanciest and most detailed; the color, fabric, length of sleeve and obi can all tell a story about the person wearing the kimono. Sleeve length shows whether or not a woman is married (married women wear shorter sleeves and unmarried women wear longer sleeves). The obi itself can be tied in a number of different ways; like a flower or even a butterfly. Brides usually wear white kimonos. In the summertime women wear a lighter kimono called a yukata. These kinds of kimonos can be worn at home too.

Men wear simpler kimonos than women. Their kimonos usually come in blue, black, brown, gray or white. Some styles for men include a hakama which looks like a pleated skirt. It is worn over a kimono. This style is usually used for formal events and also used during martial arts and archery. Another style for men is a haori jacket which is worn close to the body and tied with a cord and decorative knot. The haori and hakama are usually worn together over the kimono when a man gets married.

Children wear kimono styles like adults. But their kimonos usually come in bright colors, bold patterns and unique prints. Children will also wear more formal kimonos for special occasions.

  • Different Styles of Kimonos
  • Fabrics and Styles
  • Women, Men and Children’s Kimonos
  • Difference Between Men and Women’s Kimonos


kimono dressA kimono can be very expensive today. Kimono makers have become so talented in their craft that it is considered an art form. An entire kimono outfit, sandals, socks and accessories can cost more than $20,000.00 dollars. But it is also possible to purchase kimono patterns and allow a less experienced seamstress to make one for you. The cost can also be cut dramatically if the kimono is made from cheaper fabrics instead of traditional hand-dyed silk.

  • Custom Made Kimono Prices
  • Cost Information for Kimonos
  • Kimono Buying Guide
  • Kimono Information and Prices
  • Kimono Fact Sheet and Price Guide


Traditionally kimonos needed to be taken apart in order to be washed. It would then need to be re-sewn again. This method of care is called arai hari and it is commonly done on expensive handmade kimonos. Many people simply have their kimono dry-cleaned which is much less pricey than the arai hari method.

  • Kimono Care
  • How to Fold a Kimono
  • Tips on Caring for a Kimono
  • Kimono Dressing and Care

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