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Japanese Kimono

Everyone knows by now that the traditional Japanese dress is called a kimono.

Kimono are cut in standard sizes and fitted as they are put on, unlike Western clothing, which is fitted in the cut.

Though no longer worn frequently, kimono are still  worn to the most important events.

Most Japanese do not know how to wear a kimono properly anymore, so they either take a class or go to a salon to be fitted.

It's easy to see the difference when you see a geisha in kimono. Geisha look relatively loose and comfortable in kimono, while most Japanese look stiff, especially when walking.

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The Elegant Kimono

Children get their first kimono at the age of three. They wear their kimono to the local shrine in November as part of the annual Shichi-Go-San festival (7-5-3).

The festival is an opportunity to pray for the health and happiness of the children.

Boys will repeat the visit at five years old, girls will repeat at seven years old.

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Summer means yukata

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First Kimono

In the summer, the silk kimono is replaced by a cotton one, known as yukata. In Kyoto and in resort towns, the yukata is still worn, but you  see it in Tokyo only during festivals.

While men rarely wear silk kimono anymore (only during a traditional wedding, photo shoot, or working in a sushi shop), they will wear yukata. The most common place to see yukata is at the onsen (hot spring resorts).

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Klip Klop, Klip Klop, Bye Bye

The sash (obi) and shoes worn with kimono are very important.

The obi has many different ways to be tied, and is often more important than the kimono.

Some type of sandals is always worn with kimono.  Needless to say, sneakers or dress shoes would kill the effect. My favorite is the wooden sandal known as geta. The sound of the sandals on a street (klip, klop, klip, klop) is pure Japan.