Kimono Information

Vintage Kimono
Kimono Accessories

What are Kimono?

The kimono, meaning clothing in Japanese, has been worn by Japanese men and women from the Early Nara period (645 - 724) to the present. An ankle-length gown with long, full sleeves it is wrapped left over right across the chest and secured at the waist by a broad sash known as an obi. The style, colour, and fabric of a kimono vary according to the sex, age, and marital status of the wearer, the occasion for which the kimono is worn and the season of the year. For example, for a woman, a kimono designed with butterflies or cherry blossoms would be worn in spring or summer; a kimono with a maple leaf design would be worn in the autumn and a kimono designed with bamboo, pine trees or plum blossoms would be worn in the winter.

What is a Yukata?

Japanya sells mainly cotton kimono also known as yukata.

A Yukata is an informal lightweight kimono made from cotton and often worn in the summer. The word yukata comes from the words 'yu' (bath) and 'katabira' (underclothing). Linen yukata were first worn by court nobles, hundreds of years ago, after taking a bath. Today, Ryokan and other hotels in onsen (hot spring) resorts often provide yukata for guests to wear after their spa bath. The fabric patterns of yukata vary from the traditional plain cross hatch to more colourful floral/scenic designs.

Choosing the Size of your Yukata or Cotton Kimono

When choosing the size of your yukata or cotton kimono the main factor to consider is length. For a gown that reaches on or near the ankle we suggest you choose a gown of length approximately 10-13" shorter than your height. For a summary of our size recommendations please refer to our size guide or the brand sizing information provided on product detail pages. Please note, if you prefer to wear your kimono above the ankle we would recommend you choose a gown 13" or more shorter than your height.

The following examples are provided to help illustrate different factors to consider when choosing your gown.

Example 1: The image below illustrates how a woman of 5'7" would look in Japanya gowns of lengths 54", 56" and 58". Based on our size recommendations we would suggest a woman of this height chooses the 56" yukata. However, the 54" length gown could be more suitable for someone who prefers to wear their gown above the ankle or someone of very slim build.

women yukata size

Example 2: The image below illustrates how a man of 5'11" would look in Japanya gowns of lengths 56", 58" and 60". For a man of this height, we suggest both the 58" or 60" gown would be suitable with the longer gown perhaps being more suitable for a person of broader build. A shorter 56"/57" yukata could also be worn if you prefer to wear your gown above the ankle.

men yukata size

The widths of our standard gowns are designed to fit a person of average to above average build. We suggest a lady with bust over 45" (or man with chest over 48") may find one our wider fitting gowns a more comfortable fit.

Other types of Kimono Gowns

Happi coats, short waist-length kimonos, were traditionally worn by shopkeepers, but now are worn for a variety of occasions including festivals. Japanya's happi coats, also know as wrappers, are short knee-length kimono ideal for use as house robes.

Nemaki, meaning "sleep" and "wear" in Japanese is a type of yukata lined with a thin layer of cotton gauze. The gauze softens with washing making the nemaki very comfortable to wear. Traditionally, women's nemaki were made with a floral often blue and white patterned material whereas men's nemaki were usually of a geometric design, also in blue and white.

Furisode, a long-sleeved kimono worn by unmarried women, literally translates as swinging sleeves. They are usually worn at Seijinshiki (a coming-of-age day celebrated on the 2nd Monday of January by 20 year olds) and by unmarried female relatives of the bride at weddings.

Uchikake, is a wedding gown that is worn as a bridal coat on top of another kimono. They are generally very colourful often red and feature patterns with symbolic significance such as cranes and pines. Uchikake are very long with padded hems which trail along the floor.

Homongi, worn at formal parties and also weddings by both married and unmarried women, literally translates as visiting wear. They are characterised by large patterns that cover shoulders, seams and sleeve.

Komon, kimono with small repeated patterns, are used for every day wear. They are worn by both unmarried and married women but married women wear slightly less colourful komon.

Tomesode, the most formal kimono for married women, are plain often black with patterns below the waistline. They are often worn by the mothers of the bride and groom at weddings.

Hanging a Kimono

A kimono is not only a beautiful garment to wear, it can make a stunning wall hanging. Japanya sells extendable hangers specially designed for hanging kimono that will allow the full beauty of a kimono to be displayed. The back or front can be displayed with the front edges of the garment pulled out to the sides.

How to wear your Kimono / Yukata / Nemaki / Happi coat


For both men and women, always wrap the right side of the kimono over the body, then overlap it with the left side. (Right on top of the left is only used to dress a corpse for burial.)

How to fold your Kimono / Yukata / Nemaki / Happi coat


(1) Lay your garment flat and fold the left side of the shoulder section out to the right. (2) Similarly fold the right side of the shoulder out to the left. (3) Fold the entire garment in half, lengthwise. (4) Fold sleeves into centre. (5) Fold in half as shown in picture (or in thirds or as preferred).

More information relating to the gowns Japanya sells can be found on our list of FAQ.