Japanese kimono are known for their intricate and beautiful designs. Despite being a very traditional piece of attire, they are still worn for special occasions to this day in Japan. (For a more detailed explanation of the different types of wedding and formal kimonos, check out our article here. )
Among the wisteria in Fukuoka — Photo by Feel So High! Kenichi Morinaga photography
Kimono are often handed down within families from generation to generation, and purchasing a new one is very expensive. They are usually only worn for special occasions so many people don't feel the need to own their own. This is why many Japanese people nowadays prefer to rent kimono. This also gives them the option to wear many different types and try different designs and colors without having to commit to an expensive purchase. But what makes the kimono so expensive? There's a number of variables!
The whole ensemble
Remember, there are many different parts to the entire outfit — Photo by ginji creative works
Especially for those looking to rent a kimono in Japan, remember that the kimono is an entire ensemble. A normal outfit consists of the kimono, undergarments, obi belt, ties, socks, sandals, and accessories. All these little things can add up really quickly, which is another reason why most people choose to rent. Each individual item has its own range of costs and some can get quite pricey depending on material and maker.
Putting on a kimono takes a lot of time, and layering! — Photo by namograph
Just like other articles of clothing, materials make a difference! High-end kimonos can price up to $100,000 and are hand-made with the finest silks and materials. Nowadays, most kimono are made from machine-made fabrics, thus making them a bit more affordable (but only by a small margin).
Beautiful bride in the Shiromuku — Photo by PURE ARTIS
As in any industry, there some brands in the field have more notoriety than others. This, unfortunately, means that kimono with a bigger name, come with a bigger price. Kimono designers that are known to be hand made or who use more high quality materials will expectedly be a higher price.
Spring is said to be one of the most popular seasons to rent kimono — Photo by Atelier Casha
Just as winter clothing prices soar in the months of September through December, kimono prices are no different. If you are looking to hire a kimono while you are in Japan be wary of when you are booking. There are a number of vendors that hike up their prices for certain seasons, with the most popular months for kimono rentals being January through April. This is because there are a number of special occasions which Japanese people want to attend wearing kimono. For example, the first visit to the shrines for the New Year on Januarys 1st, then the Coming of Age ceremony in mid-January. Many students also graduate from school around this time and young women especially like to take advantage of the rare opportunity to dress up in traditional attire.