While in recent years, people who wear kimono on a daily basis have lessened quite a bit, Japan actually has quite a few surprising and unique kinds of apparel outside of kimono! Here are some of them that are perfect for souvenirs.
Japanese socks are actually toe socks!
Did you know that Japanese socks are traditionally toe socks? Though pulling the fabric around each toe may be annoying, there are two reasons for this. First, the traditional Japanese shoes, geta and zori, are similarly shaped to sandals in that there is a thong between the big toe and the rest of the toes. Toe socks are made to be able to wear those comfortably. While geta and zori are only worn on certain occasions nowadays, the tradition of toe socks has remained. The second reason is that toe socks help blood flow, they make it easier to grip the floor with your toes, and it helps improve posture. You may not have seen them before, but actually toe socks help your feet not get so tired. Please try them when you're walking around a lot while you're sightseeing and see how different you feel at the end of the night.
In the winter, items with cotton are the best
Japanese kimono and yukata are lovely, but don't you think that they're expensive and hard to wear? It's true that kimono and yukata are often expensive and you have to get accessories like an obi, geta, and other items, so it's pretty hard to wear on a regular basis for most people. But don't you want to find some sort of traditional Japanese clothing that you can wear easily? If that's you, you should look for winter wear called "hanten" or "chanchanko"! It's similar to a kimono but hanten is stuffed with cotton on the inside. Because of that it feels like you're wearing a blanket, and it's perfect to spend the cold winter. By the way, in the past you would take the cotton out of hanten to wear it in the spring and then put it back when the weather turned cold again. This way you could wear the same clothing all year round and use the cotton to help regulate temperatures. Very ecologically-friendly! It's extremely warm, so it's perfect as a nightgown.
Easy-to-wear kimono - complete with pants!
Outside of kimono, Japanese apparel also includes "samue" and "jinbei." The major difference between these two are the pants. Samue have long pants that go down to one's ankles while jinbei have shorts. You can wear samue all year round but jinbei are mostly for the summer. Most jinbei are made with twine-like weaves so the wind can easily pass through. While jinbei are great for the summer, samue is worn often by people as working clothes, especially monks who are cleaning or doing other laborious tasks around the temple. Many soba craftsmen also wear it while they're in the kitchen. It's perfect for craftsmen who love Japanese aesthetics. Both of them can usually be bought for quite reasonable prices, so if you find kimono to be too expensive, why not pick up one of these outfits as a souvenir instead?
Japanese aprons are the face of a store!
In Japan, there are aprons called "maekake." It was often worn by people working at drinking establishments or greengrocers. It's wrapped around the waist in order to protect one's skin or clothes from getting dirty, but many people add the store's name as an advertisement as well. In the service industry especially wearing a maekake that has the store's name on it shows a sense of pride and responsibility. However, that's not all that maekake are good for. It also helps you improve your mobility. Since it's tied tightly around your hip bones, it's said to reduce the weight on your hips, decrease hip pain, and help your energy levels. Maekake are light and thin, so just one can be really convenient. Why not get one with a cute design as a perfect souvenir? You can buy them at various Japanese-style miscellaneous shops.
Chic and cool Japanese sandals
Japan has its own traditional kind of sandals, one called "zori" and the other called "geta." In modern Japan the number of people who wear them every day has lessened, but in the past men and women both wore them. Both of them were made so that even in high temperatures and high humidity one's feet wouldn't seat. Since they're made with a thong separating the big toe from the rest of the feet, it's said to be good for your health and helps reduce tiredness. Since it's very open it's too cold for them in the winter, so people wore "setta" instead. The leather sole had iron in the heel so it made it difficult to slip on snowy roads and also helped make it more waterproof. Unlike zori, these were made so as warm shoes that wouldn't let heat escape. If you come to Japan, please try zori or geta! They're very cool!
Some types of Japanese clothing are very famous all around the world, but there are lots of clothing that were made to be worn all year round. You can enjoy these items both in the cold winter and the hot summer, and they're kind to the environment and on one's skin. Don't you think they're great?
*Please note that the information in this article is from the time of writing or publication and may differ from the latest information.
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