Last year the boyfriend and I took a trip to Osaka and Kyoto for my birthday. It had always been a bucket list item of mine to walk the old streets of Japan in traditional clothes. Though we only spent a day in Kyoto, I knew I wanted to spend it in a beautiful kimono.
Yumeyakata is a lovely kimono rental shop located in Kyoto. There are discounted prices and special deals if you make your appointment online and it’s super easy to do. Typically, their regular kimono rentals will run 5,000 Yen~3,500 Yen for adults and children or 10,000 Yen~6,500 Yen for couples (1 male and 1 female). Also, if you want to get your hair done an appointment is required. So, you get to secure a particular time of your choosing and you don’t even need to pay for anything until you arrive. That’s a win-win in my book.
In our case, the boyfriend and I got the couple package and paid an extra 1,000yen for an early 9:00am slot since the whole process takes a bit of time. There are so many layers and accessories that need to be chosen. In the case of cold weather, there are also shawls and special coats to rummage through. I was pleasantly surprised by their wide variety of colors, patterns and sizes. In fact, I met a woman who visits this shop every time she’s in Kyoto because it’s the only place that seems to carry sizes for tall women. Being 5’2,” that’s not a problem I share, but nice to know they really have something for everyone!
The men’s section was far less complicated. There was still a variety of sizes available, but since the men’s kimono is significantly simpler in design and structure there is much less space dedicated to that section. It didn’t take very long for my boyfriend to choose his.
Next we were sent to different floors to get dressed. On the my floor there was a group of women ready to take my clothes from me. There are no separated dressing areas, just an open space with a bunch of strangers droppin’ trou. Well not exactly… It is asked that you wear some sort of form fitting clothes under your kimono (like leggings and camisoles), so as to not be standing there in the nude. It’s important that the clothes be easily hidden under the Kimono, otherwise it won’t look right.
One of the staff came to help me put on my kimono layers and collect any additional clothes that I removed. Then they sent me to a mirrored room where two older women proceeded to properly dress me. Yes, it takes two women to do this job. I’m not quite sure what happened during this process, some combination of styrofoam, hard boards, origami folding and magic. All I know is one minute I was draped in silk cloth and the next I was wearing a beautiful kimono. If that’s not magic, I don’t know what is!
After that I was sent to the next floor to pick out a matching handbag and transfer some of my belongings into it. In order to protect the kimonos from getting damaged or dirty, you are not allowed to carry your own bags while wearing them. Anything that doesn’t fit needs to be left in their care. I felt a little uncomfortable with this, but it worked out just fine in the end.
Finally, I was sent to the last floor to get my hair done. This part is optional and does cost extra with prices starting at 1,500yen and going up for traditional or custom options. I went with the 1,500yen option which offers 8 different styles to choose from according to your hair length (long or short). The hair stylists are very skilled and fast. I was a bit disappointed to learn that hair accessories were sold separately. On one hand, you get to keep them, but on the other some were as expensive as the hairstyling itself.
On our way out we were given special socks and got to pick out some shoes to go with our look. All in all, I was completely satisfied with my experience and have absolutely no regrets about shelling out the extra money for the hairstyling. The staff there spoke several different languages and were very helpful in letting me know what I needed and getting me on my way. Though not required, I HIGHLY recommend making an appointment online because there is no guarantee you will be accommodated through a walk-in. I wasn’t prepared for extra charges here and there for things like socks and hair clips, but I’d definitely do it again. We got to spend all day in beautiful kimonos, totally worth it.
- 10:00am~7:30pm, Everyday
- 128, Manjuji-cho, Shimogyo-ku Kyoto-shi, Kyoto 600-8104
- Yumeyakata on Instagram