10 Places in Kyoto to Dress Up in Traditional Kimono

Formerly the capital of Japan, it is no wonder that Kyoto exudes an elegant and dignified atmosphere. It draws in many visitors every year as it is home to many historical shrines and temples. It is also the city where geisha walk down the streets in stunning kimono, which certainly lends an air of intrigue to Kyoto. But rather than trying to catch geisha in action, why not rent a kimono so that you can take a stroll and immerse yourself in this quaint city? After all, many professional shops offer high-quality kimono with convenient rental plans and the experience doesn’t come with a costly price tag. Here are ten shops that enable you to rent exquisite kimono in Kyoto!

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Things to Know Before Renting a Kimono in Kyoto

Do Your Research about Kyoto's Traditional Clothing

Renting a kimono in Kyoto could be a once-in-a-lifetime experience for you, so knowing these things beforehand will help you gain the most epic experience ever. First, coupled with the fact that there are 13 different types of kimono for various occasions and seasons, married women wear different kinds of kimono from single women. So, it's best to research about the kimono that appeals most to you so that you can feel comfortable in it and strut down the streets in style! In addition, you may want to familiarize yourself with the terms that refer to the accessories which you can rent along with a kimono. Understanding terms like obi (kimono sash), hakama (trouser-skirt), and zori (Japanese sandals) will enable you to make informed decisions when you compare packages from different kimono rental shops.

Kimono Renting in Kyoto

After you bring yourself up to speed on the kinds of kimono and accessories available, you are now ready to decide on a rental package. Here, it's good to note that your rental should not just include all the essential items that goes with a kimono like an obi and zori but also comes along with a fitting. If you intend to go for a completely new look, you might be interested to sign up for extras in the form of a hair styling session as well as hair accessories. Also, since it takes about two hours for you to get dressed, you should make a reservation with your preferred kimono shop in advance so that you don't arrive, only to leave disappointed because the staff is not free to attend to you.

Kimono Wearing Etiquette in Kyoto

Japanese people usually embrace the idea of foreigners wearing kimono since this shows they love Japanese culture. As such, you should feel excited about parading your kimono on the streets of Kyoto. Nonetheless, you may wish to refrain from overly flashy kimono with psychedelic colors because such designs may ruffle the feathers of more conservative Japanese. Also, it is customary to wear "tabi" white socks with your kimono and take off your footwear before entering shrines and temples.

Best Kimono Rental Shops in Kyoto

1. Kimono Miyabi Kyoto: Dress Up With Fashionable Lace Kimono and Furisode

Kimono Miyabi Kyoto stands out from other kimono shops because of its distinctive sense of style. They cleverly integrate lace into their antique-looking kimono. This addition of lace imbues kimono with an intriguing Japanese-Western feel. Some of the kimono are original Kimono Miyabi Kyoto designs, so you will surely feel awesome about the chance to wear such exclusive kimono.

If you prefer to stick to a more conventional style, fret not. Kimono Miyabi Kyoto delivers in spades as it offers ladies a rental furisode (a kimono with long, hanging sleeves) package. Affordably priced, it even allows you to have your hair professionally styled by the staff. It might not be a bad idea to allow yourself this sliver of luxury and let yourself be pampered by Kimono Miyabi Kyoto's dedicated hairstylists!

Kimono Miyabi Kyoto is easily accessible and conveniently located near some of Kyoto's main landmarks such Kiyomizudera Temple and Yasaka Shrine. 

2. Ouka Kimono Kyoto: Dress Up in Kimono and Enjoy Japanese Tea Ceremony

Situated near the calming Kamogawa River, Ouka Kimono Kyoto enables you to take a break from the stresses of modern life. Besides the scenic view, its impressive range of more than 500 kimono will excite and enthuse you to find the ideal kimono for your experience. In particular, fashion thrill-seekers will be raring to try out the bright, colorful, and luxurious kimono meant for "oiran" high-ranking courtesans in ancient Japan. When you sign up for an oiran dress-up experience, be prepared to receive characterful photographs that will make your friends and family gush "wow!"

Ouka Kimono Kyoto also offers a matcha tea ceremony option, where you will learn how to make Japanese tea with the guidance of an experienced matcha teacher. Surely, it's fun to make tea in a kimono! Coupled with wearing a charming kimono, making matcha tea demands your entire focus, so it's a fabulous opportunity to pay heed to your heightened sensitivity, take it slow and reconnect with your inner self.


3. Wakana Kimono: Dress Up in Kyoto-made Kimono

If you have a deep regard for Japan-made products and want nothing but the best for your kimono experience, Wakana Kimono will be the ideal choice for you. Featuring made-in-Kyoto kimono, including those made of pure silk, it enables you to have a first-hand experience of Japanese craftsmanship. These kimono have been dyed via a traditional technique called Kyo-Yuzen, so be prepared to have an adrenaline rush as you take in the vivid colors and smooth finish. What's more, the staff at Wakana Kimono only serves two groups per hour, so you can take your time to soak up the artistry of its beautiful kimono and choose the best one for yourself.

A one-day casual rental package only costs just 3,600 yen, which is value for money, considering that it comes with a kimono, obi, sandals, socks, undershirt, and a kimono bag. The best part? It is strategically located near world-renowned shrines and temples like Yasaka Shrine and Kiyomizu Temple, so you can immediately immerse yourself in olden Japan after you wear your kimono!

4. Yumeyakata: Dress Up in Kimono as a Family

A stone's throw away from Gojo Station on the Karasuma Line, Yumeyakata makes it easy for couples and families to create their memorable kimono experience. It has a wide array of over 500 kimono catered to children, ladies, and gentlemen, so everyone will have a fabulous time trying out kimono and not feel left out. Yumeyakata is also staffed by English and Chinese-speaking staff, so you don't have to worry about your needs being lost in translation and can concentrate on finding that perfect kimono. As if this isn't enough, you can even get a 10% discount if you have more than five people in your entourage!

Although same-day bookings are allowed, you may want to make a booking in advance to get the best-fit timing for your itinerary. Since prices for a one-day kimono rental start at a wallet-friendly 3,080 yen, you may want to spend more and sign up for a classy kimono photo shoot. Be prepared to be transported back to nostalgic Japan as their expert photographers take atmospheric pictures of you and your family in lovely locations that evoke the quintessential Kyoto feel. Yumeyakata's professionalism guarantees that you and your traveling companions will reminisce about your kimono-wearing experience - long after the trip is over.

5. Maiko-Henshin Studio Shiki: Dress Up in Kimono With This Maiko and Samurai Makeover Experience

You are besotted with Japanese culture and are traveling with someone who feels likewise. If you find yourself nodding your head, Maiko-Henshin Studio Shiki is your savior. It is one of those rare studios that affords you and your boyfriend or husband to dress up as a maiko (apprentice geisha) and samurai respectively. Entrust yourself in the capable hands of the staff who will not only transform you to a gorgeous maiko (complete with a spectacular wig) but also explain the makeover process in English.

Families with small children will also gravitate towards Maiko-Henshin Studio Shiki. If you wish for your young ones to get up close with Japanese culture, you are in luck because this studio also offers the opportunity for a child to dress up as a maiko or samurai. After the entire family changes into traditional clothes, it’s time for the indoor photo shoot that will take place in an intricately decorated room. Enjoy ramping it up for the camera, for you will be treated to a photo book that contains four precious shoots of your poses.

6. Vasara Kimono: Dress Up in Kimono for the Time-pressed Traveler

Vasara Kimono is located near Kyoto Station, so this means that even if you intend to cover Kyoto as a day trip, you will still be able to embrace the kimono experience and explore the streets of Kyoto in style. You can even book a private vehicle and choose to make your way to this studio directly from Kansai International Airport. This established kimono rental chain allows you to place your luggage at the store premises for free, so you don't have to worry about your belongings during your kimono outing!

Another interesting feature is that Vasara Kimono offers damage insurance, so if you haven't worn a kimono before and are apprehensive about damaging one the first time you wear it, this will provide much-needed peace of mind. You can confidently stride down the streets of Kyoto and concentrate on its mesmerizing sights.

7. Kyoto Kimono Rental Experience and Maiko Dinner

Do you have a deep passion for Japanese cuisine? Just grab your travel buddy and register for this experience, where you can kill two birds with one stone. After you change into your kimono, you will undergo a guided tour at Nishiki Market, which has a history of 400 years and is known as the "Kyoto Kitchen," where you will pick up invaluable insights on local ingredients. Dinner will arrive sooner than you think, and you will be whisked away to Ganko Takasegawa Nijoen, a restaurant boasting an attractive garden by the Kamo River!

The highlight of your dinner experience will be the inclusion of a maiko. She will not just perform the traditional Kyoto dance known as Kyomai but also enthrall you with her pleasing Kyoto dialect when she serves you sake. Feel free to take advantage of this incredible opportunity to ask this maiko about her career or any questions you may have about Kyoto cuisine. Of course, don't forget to take many photographs with her to commemorate this occasion!

8. Kyoto Kimono Rental Biwa: Dress Up in Kimono for Outgoing Travelers

Towering above its surroundings, the UNESCO-recognized Kiyomizu Temple is arguably one of Kyoto's most iconic landmarks. Hence, when you take photographs of yourself clad in a gorgeous kimono on the premises of this legendary temple, you can rest assured that you are creating Instagrammable shots and great memories for many years to come. Aiding you in this endeavor is Kyoto Kimono Rental Biwa because it is a mere seven-minute walk from the temple, thus cutting down on the traveling hassle and helping you to concentrate on the angles and perspectives you want to take.

It has more than a hundred exquisite kimono for you to choose from. Its packages are also comprehensive as they consist of renting the kimono and various accessories as well as professional hairstyling services. The experienced staff are adept at helping you style your hair in a way that complements the splendid vintage-looking kimono nicely, so have fun!

9. TekuTeku Kyoto KIYOMIZU Shop: Wear Two Stylish Kimono Within One Day

TekuTeku Kyoto dazzles your eyes with its fascinating collection of 250 kimono with breathtaking retro designs. What's more, its staff are competent at typing the obi with a classy "taiko" knot that makes you look sleek. As such, you may not want your magical afternoon to end so quickly. Fortunately, TekuTeku Kyoto has introduced an innovative plan that allows you to wear two kimono within one day. When you top up 2,200 yen to your original package, you earn the right to wear a second kimono. You don't have to worry about not having enough time to enjoy the appeal of both kimono either because TekuTeku Kyoto only closes at 9:00 pm!

10. Rikawafuku Arashiyama: Dress Up in Kimono and Explore Kyoto's Spectacular Arashiyama Bamboo Forest

Rikawafuku Arashiyama is a 3-minute walk away from Hankyu Arashiyama Station, thus making it easy for you to explore the magnificent Arashiyama Bamboo Grove. Walking amid these majestic bamboo trees in an alluring kimono from Rikawafuku Arashiyama surely ups the serenity and mystique of your experience!

Also, current students take note! You may be traveling on a shoestring budget, but this does not mean you have to deny yourself a kimono experience. Rikawafuku Arashiyama understands the predicament that cash-strapped students face and is eager to lend you a helping hand - with its unique student package. Regardless of your nationality, you just have to bring your student identification card on the day of your kimono experience and enjoy the same top-notch service as working adults. This 5,000 yen (exclusive of taxes) course even comes with professional hairstyling services, so you do not have to set your hair beforehand.

Dress Up in Kimono to Make Your Kyoto Trip Memorable

The best way to make your trip memorable is to partake in cultural experiences practiced by the locals. Wear a kimono and gain authentic insights about this time-honored practice. With 10 stores to choose from in this guide, you will definitely find the one that best fits your fashion sense, travel circumstances, and budget!

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Kansai Feature

The information in this article is accurate at the time of publication.

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About the author

Kai Le
Kai Le took part in the Japan Exchange Teaching programme as an Assistant Language Teacher and had the best two years of his life. Even though he has since returned to Singapore, he remains passionate about all things Japanese, not least because he married a capable Japanese lady and has two wonderful bicultural children. Besides writing and Japan, he is passionate about reading, Netflix, and cryptocurrency.
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