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Yukata – Summer Kimono

June 26, 2008

Yukata – Summer Kimono

The yukata is a type of kimono worn during the summer months by both men and women in Japan.  Usually made of 100% cotton, they are light weight and comfortable to wear in the hot summer months. 

The Japanese don yukata when they head out to festivals, use them as a robe after a bath, at onsens (public baths) and ryokan (traditional Japanese Inns). 

The name yukata comes from the word “yu” (bath) and “katabira” (under clothing). Thousands of years ago, Court Nobles wore linen “yukatabira” which were draped loosely after taking a bath. It gradually became worn by Japanese warriors and then by the general public when the sophisticated Japanese public bath became popular.

Yukata come in muted colors with a traditional cross hatch patterns but are also available in brightly colored designs with images of flowers, fireworks or scenery.  Hotels in Japan often provide their guests with a yukata in their rooms and you should be sure to try one on at some point during your stay – you may find them so comfortable that you will want take one or two home with you!

When you wear a yukata be sure to wrap the left side over the right side as you don’t want to temp fate by wearing it the opposite way (right over left is how the dead are dressed for their funerals).

Photo Credit: Flickr, yukata shop