Putting on a Kimono

The other day my friend Natsuko had a kimono teacher come to her house for a lesson in putting on the kimono. I was there just to observe. It is interesting to view the whole process and see all the accessories needed to wear a kimono, many of them not visible.

Natsuko with kimono teacher

Natsuko with kimono teacher

Unseen but essential items!

Unseen but essential items!

Most women go to a beauty parlor or have trained personnel put the kimono on them. Kimonos are worn on coming of age day when a girl turns 20. These are special furisode kimono with long, draping sleeves. People wear formal kimono on graduation day or to attend a wedding. These days, only family members were kimono to a funeral.


Nowadays it is in fashion for colleges girls to graduate wearing a kimono with hakama, a kind of trousers worn over the kimono. My friend Chidori was proud that she could put this outfit on her daughter by herself at her graduation in Kyoto this spring.


First one dons the underwear or hadagi made of plain white muslin. Then, a silk under-gown called hadajiban. Finally she wraps herself in the kimono and begins to mold and fasten it with all the many belts and sashes. It is a time-consuming process and requires a lot of practice. It is harder to put it on oneself than on to someone else!

Under garment, hadagi

Under garment, hadagi

Second layer, hada-jiban

Second layer, hada-jiban

Finally...the kimono!

Finally…the kimono!




But how elegant she looks when she is all turned out in her lovely kimono. I thought she was someone else entirely!










I enjoyed watching them but wasn’t tempted to join in! The kimono is not comfortable and doesn’t allow much freedom of movement!

One of my friends showed me the kimono and obi (sash) she bought for her daughter’s coming of age celebration.  She paid $7000 for those two items! Of course, everyday kimono are more reasonable, but nevertheless expensive.

Lasagne, Three Bean salad

I was mainly there to prepare the lunch. After they took off the kimono, we sat down to a good old American meal of lasagna  bean salad, green salad and garlic toast.

Somehow we even managed to tuck into the dessert, a Double Ginger Pumpkin Flan. This calls for both  powdered ginger and grated fresh ginger and has a lovely caramel top!


All in all, we had a great day! Maybe this was my first real “catering” job!! I guess I’ll stick to teaching English, but it was fun for a change!

Salade Nicoise with Honey-Mustard Dressing

Salade Nicoise with Honey-Mustard Dressing


12 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. beckynielsen
    Apr 12, 2013 @ 12:04:25

    Loved reading about this – and I’m with you – I’d rather see someone else wear it than go through all of that process only to feel bound up and stiff! but they are so exquisite! the women in your photos look gorgeous! And graceful!

    I still have the kimono and obi I was sent by our former maid when we lived in Japan after the war. It is a child size, beautiful silk.

    The pumpkin flan looks delicious – I will definitely try to make this! I love pumpkin and ginger!


    • leahmama1
      Apr 13, 2013 @ 01:14:08

      Thanks Becky. You were in Japan then, huh?! I didn’t know that! Thanks for reading. I always enjoy your comments!


  2. Kent Smith
    Apr 12, 2013 @ 13:48:45

    Dear Sister, I must compliment you on your excellent photography! Your journal is so interesting…and greatly enhanced by the wonderful photographs. – Kent


    • leahmama1
      Apr 13, 2013 @ 01:15:53

      I appreciate your feedback.I need some help adjusting the shutter speed on my camera. Maybe Eri will show me. But I enjoy taking pictures because I can blog about them! It inspires me to do stuff whether people read it or not.


  3. moushifj
    Apr 14, 2013 @ 04:01:04

    I love wearing kimono for fun from time to time, though I don’t have all of the supplies necessary (The under-robes, I usually use a yukata as my under-robe as it’s made of linen instead of silk) I only have a looser obi I use to help hold everything in place because the stiffer obi tends to slip (Oh no! Don’t want everything going loose XD) and then I put on the stiff obi as well as an obijime (A sort of cord used to help hold everything together and as decoration) The kimonos are very tight, like a corset, but sooo beautiful it almost makes it worth it XD


    • leahmama1
      Apr 14, 2013 @ 06:08:44

      Do you actually go out somewhere then? I’d never be confident enough to do it. I bet you look great… with obi and obishime even! I got my granddaughter one with velcro on the obi but don’t think that’s the proper way! Isn’t it hard to walk in a kimono?? I wonder about that!


      • moushifj
        Apr 14, 2013 @ 19:31:54

        I go to a couple conventions and stuff like that in it, but not like going out to a mall or anything XD Unless I’m in a place where I’ll never go again, I’ll go out in it because, you know, why not? You’re never going to see those people again and it is fun to wear. Obi are about 9 feet long when laid out so velcro isn’t used in it ^^ But hey one of the first kimon esque garments I owned was one like that, with the shiny chinese silk and the square obi like thing that you could wear in the back. Then I learned how to tell the difference between real ones and ones that aren’t as real. Here’s a little pic of the details of my favorite kimono. Apparently it’s considered a Houmongi http://i50.tinypic.com/2vbr4g4.jpg
        They are a bit difficult to walk in and very hard to move in because as I said, the obi is quite tight. I have trouble taking little steps because I have quite long legs, so that’s another reason I wear the yukata underneath so if I do take too wide of a step the yukata provides some cover. I don’t exactly know how to tie the kimono correctly so my kimono isn’t touching the ground (usually kimono are around 68 to 72 inches long which is about 6 feet from shoulder to the bottom hem) I’m 5’8″ tall so if I don’t feel comfortable bustling the kimono so it’s a correct length, I’ll just carry it and use that yukata again as an under kimono (Geisha and Maiko do something like that with their kimono though they wear a hikizuri)

  4. leahmama1
    Apr 14, 2013 @ 21:35:09

    Thanks for sharing the photo of your lovely kimono. Yes…we have to fold it up and tie it with a belt at the waist to make it the right length. But, it sounds like you manage just fine! I want to see a picture of you in it next time you wear it!! Ye, that’s right! Maiko do wear their kimonos long, don’t they! Maybe you speak Japanese, too?


    • moushifj
      Apr 15, 2013 @ 07:03:41

      I speak a little Japanese but I’m far from being able to really speak it in conversation. I’ll have to put it on correctly one of these days and take a picture XD. Maiko and Geisha wear kimono that are similar to wedding kimono, they have a sort of padded hem so it drags on the floor correctly, they carry it around when walking through the streets though so it doesn’t get really dirty.


  5. leahmama1
    Apr 15, 2013 @ 10:07:55

    That’s a great idea. i shudder to see the young girls on Coming of Age day who walk along the street dragging their furisode sleeves on the ground!Shashin o tanoshimi ni shite imasu!


  6. labellestudio
    Apr 16, 2013 @ 12:11:46

    Your blog has just been nominated for the Versatile Blogger Award. If you want to accept it, please go to the rules (on my blog) and follow the instructions. Congratulations! 😀


  7. leahmama1
    Apr 16, 2013 @ 13:10:09

    I am honored that you would nominate me!! I enjoy your blog and would like to put up a link if i figure out how. I will figure it out sometime. I really don’t know how to use many of the features yet.


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