#1 Best Guide: Japanese Yukata Clothing

#1 Best Guide Japanese Yukata Clothing

The vibrant Japanese yukata (浴衣) is the perfect summer garment when I’m strolling through festivals and street markets with my best friend, Hanako. I’ll never forget the first time I saw locals wearing beautiful yukata, dancing with fans in hand. I LITERALLY just had to stop and gawk at the gorgeous patterns and the way the light fabric flowed around them.

As a traveler in Japan, I was curious how I could get my hands on one of those cool bathrobe-like attire and join in on the summer fun. Hanako explained that the yukata is a casual style of kimono made of cotton – ideal for keeping cool and comfortable in Japan’s humid climate. Unlike the intricate kimono, the yukata is pretty straightforward to slip into.

Want to learn more about this traditional attire? If yes, then read on as I share EVERY detail about this, including some useful Japanese phrases. Ready? Let’s begin!

Couple wearing a Japanese Yukata Clothing

What Is A Japanese Yukata?

The yukata is a type of kimono that was originally a bathrobe – yeah, like something you’d lounge around the house in! The name literally means “bathing clothing.” Back in the day, after soaking in hot spring baths, they’d slip on the lightweight cotton yukata to stay covered up and absorb any leftover moisture. Makes sense why you’ll still see them being worn in hot spring resort towns.

Nowadays though, the yukata has turned into a popular way for locals to stay chill during Japan’s sweltering summers. It’s a casual, cotton version of the fancy schmancy kimono made of the same breezy fabric. Without all those complicated wraps and ties, it’s something you can easily throw on to head out to catch some festival music or watch fireworks on a hot summer date.

The yukata comes in funky, colorful patterns for the girls and more muted designs for the guys. Lately, with modern prints, sometimes I do a double take – is that a kimono or a yukata? But if you spot flowery, flashy robes at summer events, you can bet those are yukata in action.

When And Where To Wear Yukata

First up – book a stay at a traditional inn, known as a ryokan, especially ones at hot spring resort towns. Ryokans will hook you up with a yukata to kick back in during your stay and stroll around town. Gotta love those perks!

If you aren’t staying overnight, there are shops all over that rent out Yukata – perfect for wandering sakura-lined streets or just looking fly while sightseeing. Rental shops are everywhere, but Kyoto especially has shops on every corner. And bonus – the prices range from just 1,000 yen (thrifted version) to a couple of ten thousand yen if you’ve gotta have that blinged-out version!

You’ll also see locals breaking out their yukata for summer festival and fireworks displays. Matsuri means festival in Japanese, so keep an ear out for that word – anywhere you see stalls with food and carnival games, you’ll likely spot those gorgeous flowing yukata in the crowds!

The best part is anyone can wear them pretty much anywhere in summer, unlike the restricted kimono. All you need to do is channel that inner rockstar and let your yukata shine as bright as the hanabi (fireworks)! It’ll make for epic Instagram pics if nothing else!

Friends wearing a Japanese Yukata

How To Put On A Yukata Properly

When I scored my first yukata rental, I was pumped to throw it on and strut my stuff. But then I stood there staring at the pile of fabric, totally lost on how to put it on. Luckily, Hanako took pity on me and gave me a crash course. After plenty of fumbling, I finally figured out the right way to get into one of these bad boys.

First up, slip the yukata over your skivvies just like a robe, arm into the sleeves and hold the front together. Then wrap that waist tie, called an obi belt, around you. The obi belt can be tricky to spot since it comes folded up into a little pentagon – sneaky!

Once you’ve secured that bad boy, it’s time for the tricky part – tying the sucker in the back. Cross the ends over each other to tie in front. Make sure you tie the belt lower around the hips for dudes and a high waist for the ladies. Then adjust so the pretty bow sits at your right hip and the ends hang evenly. Bam – now you’ve got that snatched yukata look!

If it gets chilly, you can throw on the outer haori jacket. It ties at the chest so you don’t lose the shape of that flawless yukata silhouette you just created. Pro-tip, though – tuck any necessities like your phone into the huge sleeves to keep your hands free for catching festival treats. You’re welcome for that insider hack!

Easy Japanese Phrases For Wearing Yukatas

Now that you’ve got your yukata swag down, it’s time to level up with some key Japanese phrases to drop while you’re looking all kinds of fly in your summer gear. Impress your Japanese buddies or your new summer boo with these simple lines:

Yukata ga niau

Japanese script: 浴衣が似合う

Translation: This yukata suits me well

Kirei desu ne

Japanese script: 綺麗ですね

Translation: It’s beautiful, isn’t it

Yukata no obi ga hodoku

Japanese script: 浴衣の帯がほどく

Translation: My yukata sash is coming loose

Atsui desu ne

Japanese script: 暑いですね

Translation: It’s hot, isn’t it

Ready To Start Wearing A Traditional Japanese Yukata?

I hope I’ve covered all the basics in this post, from where to score your yukata and how to tie it properly to phrases that will impress your new friends. Now that you’ve got insider knowledge from me and Hanako, it’s time to drop those facts out there and strut your stuff!

If you’re still craving more Japanese language gems, be sure to download the Ling app – my personal app for picking up key phrases while exploring Japan and connecting with locals. Trust me, knowing how to chat about everything from food to temples makes travel here sooooo much better. Give it a try now!

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