Easy Tips for Wearing a Yukata

By Jody Pang
July 22, 2015
Fashion, Lifestyle

Japan's summer festival season has just started and it's time to pull out your yukata again! In Tokyo, fireworks festivals are happening almost every weekend this summer. But wait, is it right over left, or left over right again? What should I do with my hair? How do I tie that fancy bow without any stress? No worries, just follow these simple pointers and you'll be festival-ready in no time.

Yukata by Guilhem Vellut cropped

Left Over Right

Ladies, always remember to wrap the left side of your yukata over the right side. This is very important, as it is the opposite for the deceased. Here are five easy steps to putting on your yukata:

  1. Hold both sides of the yukata with one hand and adjust the length to your ankle by pulling up the fabric in the back.
  2. Wrap the right side around your waist and then the left side over that.
  3. Tie the thin belt at your lower waistline to hold the yukata in position.
  4. Insert your hands into the sides of the yukata to straighten out the front and back.
  5. Pull the back of the collar down and use another thin belt at your waistline to secure the top part.

If you are still confused, just follow this helpful video from Uniqlo:

Back Collar Down, Hair Up

So why do we pull the back collar down, and put our hair up? Yukata designer Rumi Shibasaki explains that “it makes the whole style more feminine as well as more breathable in the summer heat. Yukata are supposed to be comfortable.” Rumi has been designing yukata for 20 years, creating modern, bespoke patterns using traditional methods. Her unique yukata brand, Rumi Rock, has attracted the attention of many department stores such as Isetan and Mitsukoshi.

If you are looking for ideas for a yukata updo, here are a few styles to try.

  1. Quick Up-do (two minutes): Using only five bobby pins, this is an quick and easy way to look great.
  2. Braided Bun (five minutes): Slightly more sophisticated, but worth the extra time if you have it.
  3. Elegant Rollup (five minutes): Get a very elegant look without any hair curling.

Yukata by Alberto Carrasco-Casado cropped

Obi Made Easy

After putting on the kimono and doing your hair, it can be very tiring to figure out how to tie the obi. One great invention is the ready-tied obi, available at department stores such as Marui, or online. It’s as simple as putting on a belt, and you won’t have to worry about it becoming undone or lopsided. Another solution is the sash obi. The softer and lighter fabric gives a relaxed look and a simple bow will do, without all sides being even. If you already have an obi and are in for a challenge, you can try following this video and tie a nice and sturdy bow.

On a last note, if you don’t have a yukata yet, they are still available in stores. A good cost performance option is Uniqlo, selling at ¥5,990 for women and ¥3,990 for kids. For those wanting a more unique look, Rumi Rock will be on display at Shinjuku Marui Annex through August 18. Her high-end, distinct pieces, using snakeskin and handmade patterns, start at ¥39,990.

Now that you look the part, enjoy the festivals and fireworks!


Photos by Guilhem Vellut and Alberto Carrasco-Casado.


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