Things To Do in Japan: The Kimono Experience

On our recent trip to Japan, I wanted to experience every aspect of Japanese culture that I possibly could. This included the Kimono Experience. In this article I’m going to share a few things including how to do the Kimono Experience and what to expect from the experience as well as the best places to take photographs in Kyoto and Tokyo while dressed up!

Japan Travel Series | FREE Travel Guide | Japan Travel Guide Video | Kyoto Kimono Experience | Free Japan Travel Guide

There are a number of cities in Japan that offer this experience, but the most well-rated for the sake of its historic significance was Kyoto. I chose Kyoto because it felt the most authentically ‘traditional’ in the sense of its architecture and overall vibe. We took photos in the Gion area which is where Geishas traditionally lived. You may be lucky enough to see a real live Geisha there, too!

Japan Travel Series | FREE Travel Guide | Japan Travel Guide Video | Kyoto Kimono Experience | Free Japan Travel Guide

What to Expect From The Japanese Kimono Experience

Want to watch the entire process and learn more about the experience? Check out my video here:


Looking to learn all of the details of the Kimono Experience?

The Kimono Experience is a bit of a process! It can take a bit of planning to make sure you get the most out of this experience and that it fits into your trip itinerary.

Enter your email address below to unlock additional FREE content! Here’s what you’ll get:

  • A Detailed Guide to The Kimono Experience + Dressing Process
  • Information on How to Rent a Kimono For a Day
  • 5 Things To Consider When Doing The Kimono Experience
  • What to Know to Fit It Into Your Trip Itinerary
  • 10 Best Places for Kimono Photographs (5 in Kyoto, 5 in Tokyo)
  • Tips For The Most Instagrammable Kimono Photos

My Personal Kimono Experience + Photoshoot

To photograph this experience we looked for quiet streets with traditional architecture, small shrines and zen gardens.

Japan Travel Series | FREE Travel Guide | Japan Travel Guide Video | Kyoto Kimono Experience | Free Japan Travel Guide

My experience was honestly fantastic. The people at the kimono shop were more than happy to dress me up in the kimono of my choice, style my hair and send me out the door for photos. They didn’t care about my race – they were just excited that I was excited to get dressed up and experience this part of their culture (more on this later!).

After I left the Kimono shop, I walked the nearby streets snapping all sorts of photos! Here are some of my favorites from the experience:

Japan Travel Series | FREE Travel Guide | Japan Travel Guide Video | Kyoto Kimono Experience | Free Japan Travel Guide

Japan Travel Series | FREE Travel Guide | Japan Travel Guide Video | Kyoto Kimono Experience | Free Japan Travel Guide

Japan Travel Series | FREE Travel Guide | Japan Travel Guide Video | Kyoto Kimono Experience | Free Japan Travel Guide

Japan Travel Series | FREE Travel Guide | Japan Travel Guide Video | Kyoto Kimono Experience | Free Japan Travel Guide

Japan Travel Series | FREE Travel Guide | Japan Travel Guide Video | Kyoto Kimono Experience | Free Japan Travel Guide

Is The Kimono Experience Culturally Insensitive? When travelling, especially abroad, I like to be as sensitive to the local culture as possible. After all, I’m on their turf and “When in Rome…”

I’d be lying if I said I wasn’t a bit hesitant about this before I did it. I was of course worried about being insensitive to Japanese culture and I didn’t want it to seem like yet another form of cultural appropriation by a white person. I did a lot of research and I even asked locals of a few different demographics what they thought before taking the plunge into this.

The Takeaway: The Japanese want tourists to experience every aspect of their culture while you’re visiting their country, and this extends past sightseeing, tea ceremonies and of course all of their delicious food. The Kimono Experience also makes for some great souvenir photos and are Instagram-worthy as hell!

Japan Travel Series | FREE Travel Guide | Japan Travel Guide Video | Kyoto Kimono Experience | Free Japan Travel Guide

What I Saw: Tourists of all ages, races and genders participating in this experience! In some cases, entire families of parents and children would get dressed up. I will say that I saw very few caucasian tourists doing this experience, if any, really. I also got quite a few ‘interesting’ looks from other caucasians; looks that were clearly judgemental towards what they deemed to be cultural appropriation or insensitivity.


Free Kimono Show

Not sure you want to get all dressed up but would love to see some beautiful Kimonos? You’re in luck! The Nishijin Textile Center in Kyoto offers FREE 10 Minute Kimono Shows throughout the day!

 

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Carlee Krtolica
Carlee Krtolica

Editor-In-Chief