The yukata, the Japanese outfit you must have
For several years now, many Japanese women, but also Japanese and foreigners from all over the world, have been seen strolling around Japanese cities in summer dressed in yukata. Previously reserved for summer parties, this outfit has become a must-have. Here's everything you need to know about the yukata.
What is a yukata?
Yukata literally translates to "bathing suit." Indeed, the yukata was originally a bathing robe! Born in the Heian period (794-1185) and then named yukatabira, it was a cotton or linen robe that was put on after getting out of the bath to dry off. It has retained this function in traditional inns, and even in modern hotels where the yukata serves as both a robe and pajamas.
In spa towns, it is not uncommon to see visitors strolling the streets in their hotel's yukata. It is even more common to see them dressed in this attire to go for breakfast and even dinner! However, some establishments prohibit the wearing of yukata in their restaurants, reminding their clientele of the primary function of this lightweight garment and its somewhat sloppy appearance!
A more sophisticated version of the original yukata
The other version of the yukata, made of a slightly thicker cotton with more elaborate patterns, combined with a obi for women, is worn in the summer, especially for festivals and fireworks. Lighter than the traditional kimono, it is also much more practical and much less expensive.
This garment is also easier to put on since the heavy and complex obi (belt) of kimonos gives way to a lighter obi, closed with a simple knot. Some obi already have a ready-made knot.
The cut of the yukata is similar to that of the kimono: five rectangular pieces joined together. So it is the patterns or dyeing that give it its originality. Nowadays, most of these garments have industrial patterns and are made of bright colors, especially the models intended for little and young girls, which display floral or seasonal designs: fireworks bouquets, dragonflies, goldfish...
How to wear a yukata
The yukata is worn over an undergarment, such as an undershirt or t-shirt. Once you put on the yukata, first wrap the right side around your left hip. Then wrap the left side over the right. This is important: it is always the left side of the yukata that should close over the right (because the bodies of the deceased are clothed in a white yukata with the sides crossed in the opposite way). Keeping the yukata closed,wrap the belt around you two to three times and tie a knot. Make sure that the panes are at the right height: the bottom of the garment should reach the ankle level and be the same length on both sides.
For women, if you have an obi, place it over the belt which should be attached at the waist. Men, on the other hand, should attach the belt at the hips. They can wear the knot in the front or pass it to the back.
The yukata is usually worn with geta, wooden clogs, but it is not uncommon to see people wearing flip-flops! Young girls complete this outfit with a kinchaku, a pretty little bag often made of wicker and fabric
Perfect to be worn at home and in summer, discover all our Japanese Yukatas
Discover that our collection of Yukata for Men, we have a wide choice of model. Much lighter than the kimono, the yukata is a must-have garment for the summer season.