I just couldn’t resist wearing the kimono – at the last minute! – in Kyoto. I’ve read Memoirs of a Geisha and all that stuff, and being garbed in traditional Japanese costume, was out there as one of my fantasies. It was a lovely day, and this pic of me amid the plum blossoms is something I will (ahermm!) treasure from our trip.
Kyoto seemed to be the right place as I saw lots of people resplendent in their colorful costumes, even foreigners like me who appeared to like the whole experience.
…. I also took inspiration from this wonderful creature called Hello Kitty! (If you notice, the sign says no camera, but I took a picture anyway)
Of course I thought I will never be able to walk comfortably in the outfit, but I was wrong. Wearing the kimono gives one the authentic Japanese feel and an insight into Japanese culture. I was able to learn that kimono styles and colors depend on the seasons, the age of the woman and her status – whether she’s married or single.
I thought the price for renting the kimono in a tourist area was expensive but it was actually affordable. I just availed of the cheapest plan at less than US$40 which already includes the kimono, obi (belt), wooden sandals, tabi or split-toed socks and the whole dressing up session. The only difference with the other “plans” is that there were less choices of styles and colors.
As expected, it was very elaborate and I don’t think people can do it by themselves. I was grateful for the expertise of my kimono dresser – a young lady who went about her business like she was just brushing her teeth. I can only recall now from memory how she made me wear two or three thin layers of very light clothing before cinching my waist with a belt, then the kimono, then the obi. The whole process took faster than I thought – less than 45 minutes.
But we weren’t finished yet. After the dress up, you can choose for a selection of hair styles for an extra US$10 or so. There’s another team to work on you. I remember they asked me some questions because I came from another country – friendly banter, by the way.
Honestly though, the part of the costume that I was in love with was the footwear, specifically the split-toed socks. I’ve never seen them in Manila. Luckily, I was able to take the pair home with me :
Overall I had a great experience with the kimono rental shop which was located on the path towards Kiyomizu Temple. I think their name was Okamoto. Friendly service, modern Zen interiors and very clean surroundings. Highly recommended if you happen to find yourself in the area someday.