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Traditional Culture Experiences

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Traditional Culture Experiences

The kimono is a traditional attire worn in Japan. It is notably Japan's cultural costume. Seeing people in kimono walking on the streets was an everyday sight until the 1920s - 1930s. Nowadays, it is worn during formal occasions. It has the advantage of giving the wearer an elegant and graceful deportment.

Kimono could be passed down for several generations, particularly, a mother would pass it down to her daughter when she got married. Furthermore, the kimono would be altered or dyed over to enhance it.

With kimono, body temperature can be adjusted by adding or removing layers. The sleeves can also be modified to improve breathability. This ingenious clothing is suitable for Japan's climate of high temperature, high humidity, and four distinct different seasons.

Kimonos are no longer worn daily by most Japanese. Although, during special occasions such as weddings or coming of age ceremonies, they are still proudly put on. In the epicentre of Japanese culture, Kyoto, light cotton yukata robes are worn regularly by locals for summer festivals.

Second hand kimono can be purchased in sales shops and flea markets around Kyoto for a few thousand yen, whereas official wedding kimono sold in specialist shops can cost several million yen.

There are a variety of different types of kimono for use at specified times and occasions. Types of women’s kimono include the hômongi, the tsukesagé, the komon, and the furisodé and tomesodé for formal wear. Men's kimono include the haori for going out to visit, and the montsuki hakama for ceremonial occasions. There is also the yukata, worn by both men and women as informal dress for local festivals, in ryokans (traditional inn), or at home.

A yukata is a casual summer kimono usually made of light cotton or synthetic fabric, and is unlined. Like other forms of traditional Japanese clothing, they are made with straight seams and wide sleeves. Men's yukata differentiate from women’s yukata by sleeve extensions.

A standard yukata set consists of a juban (cotton undergarment), yukata, obi (sash), bare feet, sandals, a foldable hand fan, and a kinchaku (carry bag). People wearing yukata are a common sight in Japan during the hot summer months.

Traditionally, yukata were usually made with indigo-dyed cotton. Today, a wide variety of colors and designs are available. Like kimono, the general rule with yukata is that the younger people wear bright colors and bold patterns, while older people wear dark, matured colors and patterns.

Comparatively, a child may wear a multicolored design and a young woman may wear a floral design, while an older woman would confine to a traditional dark blue with geometric patterns. Men in general may wear solid dark colors.

photo of Japanese Kimono