Key differences between a Kimono and Yukata

Key differences between a Kimono and Yukata

Kimono and yukata are traditional Japanese garments that have charmed their way around the world due to their beauty and style. Both are full length T-shaped robes that have long sleeves and are secured with a decorative belt. Whilst they may look very similar, there are subtle differences between a kimono and yukata that a true Japanese culture enthusiast should be aware of.

So yukata vs kimono, how can you tell? This post will help you distinguish key differences between the two.


Kimono vs Yukata

One of the key, distinguishable differences between a kimono and yukata is the collar. A kimono has a soft, full width collar; whereas a yukata has a half width and stiffer collar, due to the material it is made from.

A second difference between a kimono and yukata is the length of the sleeves. The sleeves on a kimono vary according to different factors, such as age and the solemnity of an event. Unmarried women wear kimono with sleeves that are very long, so long that they can touch the floor. Traditionally, this allowed for eligible men to recognise which women were available for marriage. There are also kimono that have medium length sleeves. On the other hand, the yukata will not have sleeves longer than around 50cm, so they won’t ever touch the ground.


Different Materials for Kimono and Yukata

Kimono are the more traditional and expensive garment. Usually made of silk or brocade, the traditional kimono is worn with at least two collars. As silk is considered a more luxurious material, the patterns of the kimono reflect this. In comparison, yukata were originally made to be worn by Japanese nobility after a bath to cool down. As they were primarily used for this purpose, yukata are typically made from cotton or polyester and so are often more affordable than kimono.

Tip: Check out our Kimono Care Guide for tips on how to keep your kimono clean and vibrant.


The Japanese Shop Kimono


A very quick way to spot if someone is wearing a kimono or yukata is by taking note of what season it is.

Kimono are made of a thicker material, making them much better suited for winter. The kimono is made of only one thick layer of silk, and so some kimono are accessorised with fur shawls and alike in order to make the kimono more suitable for all weather conditions. Similarly, in summer months you are less likely to see someone in a kimono but rather in a yukata as they are a lighter material. However, for occasions when a kimono is worn in summer, there are shorter kimono available, check out our website for kimono in both lengths and sizes.


Red Kimono The Japanese Shop

Kimono and yukata are suitable for different occasions. Generally, yukata are typically worn more casually in the summer months to attend firework displays or other summer festivals. As yukata are less formal, they tend to have bright patterns and colours, whereas kimono are worn for more formal occasions such as weddings and graduations. see our blog for more occasions to wear a kimono. Still, anyone can wear a kimono or yukata any time they please. You may even see people in Japan going about their daily business in these traditional dresses.

Regardless of the differences between kimono and yukata there is one very important rule. You must wear the left panel over the right! Wearing them the other way round is seen as extremely rude in Japanese culture, as those who have passed away are dressed in a right-over-left kimono. So just make sure to double check how you are wearing a kimono or yukata before going out!

Hopefully this blog has helped you to spot the differences between a kimono and yukata. Both kimono are yukata are extremely diverse in their appearance and are often beautiful works of art! We offer a fantastic range of kimono and yukata available throughout the UK and overseas.

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