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Knowing This Will Boost Their Appeal! Types of Japanese Kimono

The kimono, the traditional clothing of the Japanese people, comes in many different types, while the situations and events where they can be worn can also be quite diverse. Here are some of the traditional types of kimono worn by women.

Types and Ranks of Kimonos

Known as the national costume of Japan, the kimono goes by different names depending on such factors as their design, layout of their pattern, and the materials used in making them. While their basic shape is the same, kimonos are “ranked” according to their type, and the places and events where they can be worn vary depending on such ranking.


The tomesode is characterized by the upper half of the body having a solid or plain color, and the area below the waist designed with a glamorous pattern. There are two types of tomesode, comprising the kuro tomesode and the iro tomesode, and both kimonos can be worn at festive occasions.


The kuro-tomesode is a plain black tomesode with a luxurious design that is created with foil, embroidery, and so on. This is the most elegant of all kimonos, and is the most formal dress for married women. It is worn by the mothers of the bride and groom, and their relatives during the wedding ceremony. This kimono is defined by having a “mon” (family crest) in five places (called “itsutsumon,” or five crests): the back, the backs of both sleeves, and both sides of the chest.


The iro-tomesode is a tomesode that comes in a bright and gorgeous color that can be worn by married or unmarried women. If it has five mon, then it has the same rank as the kuro-tomesode. It can be worn by unmarried women at the wedding reception of their sisters or relatives. This kimono turns into semi-formal attire if it has only three mon, but the events where it can be worn will also grow to include wedding receptions, parties and other celebrations, as guest.


The furisode is characterized by its long sleeves and having an elegant single pattern all over the garment (the design continues from the shoulders up to the chest, sleeves and hem, stretching across seams). Representing the formal attire for unmarried women, it can be worn in a wide range of events, including weddings, graduation ceremonies, and parties. The ranking of the kimonos that belong to the furisode category varies depending on the length of their sleeves, with the hon-furisode with the longest sleeves being the most formal. It can also be used as a wedding dress, representing her attire for the final celebration in her life as a single woman.


The homongi is the kimono that can be worn for the widest range of events. It has a single pattern on the hem, with the patterns adopting diverse designs that range from classical to modern designs. This kimono can be worn as a semi-formal garb for a variety of occasions, including wedding receptions, parties and tea ceremonies.
Meanwhile, when the homongi is simplified, it transforms into the tsukesage. The tsukesage is different from the homongi in that that its pattern does not cross the seams of the garment. Now depending on the pattern, it can be worn to various occasions – from parties and tea parties, up to casual events.


The iro-muji is a kimono made with woven cloth dyed in a plain color, except black. The color of this kimono determines its use, with the brightly colored type worn for auspicious events and the dark-colored type used for mourning. With a mon, this kimono becomes more formal. Its degree of formality can also be adjusted by how it is combined with the “obi” (kimono sash). This kimono is convenient to have as it can be worn for many different occasions, from semi-formal to fancy events.


The komon is the type of kimono with a repeating pattern all over the garment. Considered to be street clothing, this kimono can be used for short and casual outings such as a trip to the theater and meals with friends. There are times when it can also be worn in casual parties, depending on its pattern and how it is fused with the obi. Within the komon category, the Edo komon with extremely intricate design is more formal, having the same rank as the iro-muji with mon.


The tsumugi’s appeal is its texture with a simple and warm feel. It is made all over Japan as a traditional craft using yarn-dyed woven fabric created from knotted silk. Of the different kinds of tsumugi, the Yuki-tsumugi and the Kumejima-tsumugi have been designated as important intangible cultural properties of Japan. The tsumugi was worn as everyday wear in the old days, so it is a mistake to wear it when attending formal events. In the modern times, women also enjoy wearing it as a light dress for such occasions as casual meals and strolling through town.


The yukata was originally worn as a robe when getting out of the bath. Nowadays, it functions as the most casual summer outerwear for attending festivals, fireworks competitions and walking around town. Other kimonos are worn with “tabi” (socks with split toe), but with the yukata, you can go barefoot.

The kimono is widely known as the kind of clothing to wear when in Japan, but isn’t it surprising that there are so many types to this particular garb? So, read this article and enjoy the style of kimono that suits the time, place, and occasion.

*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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