Category: Kimono

I dressed my friend Kelsey for her Coming of Age Day in a furisode she rented.  I actually dressed her twice, the first time was a test run a few days before the actual ceremony.  She went to a local temple to take pictures.  The furisode was just gorgeous and I think the kitsuke came out very well. There’s not much else to say, so here are the pictures.








Back in November, my study abroad program (IES) brought us to Kyoto. It was our final and biggest trip for the semester, so of course I decided to wear kimono My friend Brittany decided to finally get her first kimono set, so I helped her get all the stuff she needed before she left. She chose a beautiful komon with red and orange maple leaves, which was perfect for the season. Her obi was a green hanhaba obi with owls. I chose my blue wool set

Our first stop on the trip was Kiyomizudera. The weekend we went was apparently the peak of the momijigari (maple-viewing) season, which is evident from this picture.





I also helped my friend John get a full kimono set before we went on the trip. He’s really tall, so opted for hakama, which worked really well. We also got randomly interviewed in front of Kiyomizudera by a Japanese reporter asking us why we were in Kyoto and why we were in kimono.





Later, we made our own sensu!


That night, we did the coolest thing I did the entire year: had an ozashiki with geisha! Our geiko was my favorite geiko Tsuneyuu’s younger sister Tsunemomo, our maiko was Hisamomo, and our jimae geiko was Tsunekazu. I asked if we could talk to them one-on-one after we played Konpira Fune Fune. Tsunemomo was very excited to learn that her older sister was my favorite geisha, and that I had gone to see her in the Gion Odori and she said she’d tell Tsuneyuu. =D They also both did a dance for us.








The next day, we went to Nijojou and walked around the garden. Only John I wore kimono the second day.


The nightengale floors of Nijojou





After that, we went to Kinkaku-ji.





The last day, we went to Arashiyama which is a beautiful little place outside of Kyoto, about 20 minutes by train. We got to ride the rickshaws for quite some time and went through the bamboo grove.







There are a bunch of other cool pictures in the full set here.

Kyoto -Fall Break

*Note -Flickr’s new default HTML size is square and I didn’t realize it until I was done making the post. I apologize for the inconvenience. You can click them to enlarge them. Looking at it now, it may be good it turned out this way because this post is quite image-heavy. But again, I apologize. Going back to fix them would be nearly impossible.

Back in November for fall break, some friends and I went to Kyoto for 3 days. This would actually become the first of three times I would go back to Kyoto. It was an amazing experience. It was raining the day we got there, and we got rained on pretty hard, which was kind of a bummer, but luckily, the weather was beautiful the other days. I didn’t wear kimono the first day, luckily. The only place we visited the first day was Kiyomizu-dera, which admitted looked pretty cool in the mist from the rain.










And here’s Kyoto Tower in all of its hideous glory.



The next day, we did all kinds of stuff and I spent the whole day in kimono. First up, in the very early morning, we went to Ryouan-ji. I really enjoyed Ryouan-ji, but we had to go through it relatively quickly in order to keep our schedule. The path leading to Ryoan-ji is also very serene and relaxing.












Next up was Kinkaku-ji. Stereotypical as it is, it’s a must see.








Then, one of my favorite experiences in Japan, I went to see the Gion Odori. It was absolutely amazing and everything I ever hoped for. And I got to see my favorite geiko, Tsuneyuu, play a really funny role in one of the scenes. I bought the o-cha seki so I got to watch the geiko do the tea ceremony and we were served special sweets with Gion-Higashi’s crest. And we got to keep the plate! I also picked up the program. During the performance, the geiko and maiko all suddenly reached into their kimono and threw special tenugui (towel-like things) and I caught one cause I had a second-row seat! Unfortunately, you can’t take pictures of the performance, but I got some pictures of the theater.

(Tsuneyuu is the one on the right. She played an ugly woman who was after a man who had a girlfriend already. So she prayed to become beautiful and her wish was granted and she ended up getting the man. When she was ugly, she had really funny eyebrows and the whole scene was just great.)





To top the day off, I was finally able to meet Yukiko! We strolled around Gion and talked and got some really good ramen. Finally, Yukiko treated me at a very nice bar in Gion! It was super fancy. (You should go check out Yukiko’s site. She has an Etsy with a lot of nice kimono accessories and a custom-made kimono making business.)








On the last day, we spent the rest of our time exploring Fushimi Inari Taisha. It is absolutely immense. We didn’t even make it to the top, but we did make it to one of the lookouts which apparently has a better view than the top anyway. It is also beautiful. The sheer number of torii is staggering. As a souvenir, I bought my self a little nine-tailed fox plushie.










And here is my haul. I also picked up some Sailor Moon manga, as well as a book on becoming a kimono instructor.


And here is the full set if you ‘d like to see it. There are some more beautiful pictures in there, especially of Fushimi Inari Taisha.

Halloween 2013

First of all, I’d like to say I’m really sorry about my lack of updates! I have several planned that I will be posting as soon as possible.  If you didn’t know, I’m currently in Japan studying abroad until May.


When I went to update the blog a a few weeks ago, Flickr was beta-ing their redesign, and the HTML coding was missing from the beta and the original site, so I had to wait until they fixed it.


I didn’t wear kimono from the time of the last post until Halloween except for Otakon, which, due to  a lack of pictures, I regretfully will not be posting about.  So, for Halloween, my dorm and one of the other study-abroad dorms threw a Halloween party, so of course, I took the opportunity to wear kimono.  For this occasion I decided to wear my newly-bought-in-Japan yukata with spider webs and new black hakama. The hakama are a tad long, so I need to hem them a  bit, it’s kind of tedious, so I haven’t gotten around to it yet.


Ryouji and I in our kimono.



Brittany in a lolita cat outfit.



After the party, I changed into something a bit warmer and more comfortable.


Babette as a maid.



Ayaka and I.



Jen as sushi.



The next post will be up shortly, and I have a lot lined up, so please look foward to it!


Back in the beginning of April, the East Asian Languages and Literatures Department at my school had its annual “Spring Fling.” I did a whole kimono demo last year, but to save on time this year and do something different, I did a fukura suzume musubi demo. My friend Mariah volunteered to be my model. I dressed her in kimono behind the scenes, and then just did the obi for the demo. It was actually my first time tying fukura suzume, and I’m really happy with how it turned out. I had to reference my book a few times though. At one point I had to have my teacher come over and hold the tesaki while I tied the obi-jime cause I didn’t have enough hands! I’m also jealous how well this kimono fits my friend haha. I didn’t get to wear kimono because as soon as I was done, I had to run to class. =/

四月四日East Asian Languages and Literaturesっていう学部はSpring Flingっていうパーティーをしました。去年着物デモをまるごとしたけど、今年違うのにして、ふくら雀デモをしました。Mariahっていう友達はボランティアのモデルでした。じかんがなくて、デモの前に着せて、デモのために帯しか結ばなかったのです。実はふくら雀を結ぶのが初めてだったので、見た目がよかったとおもいます。本を何度か見なくてはなりませんでしたけどね。私の手だけ足りなかったから、先生が手伝わなければ一人でできなかったのです!その先すぐ授業があったから、着物を着れてしまわなかったのです。





Spring Fling 2

Spring Fling 3

spring fling 2013  kanisawa


Spring Fling 1




How did I do? ^_^

Sorry for the lack of posts everyone! I have a few that I’ll be doing soon. I’m just kind of doing the ones I want to do right now, so the events that I’m writing about will be slightly out of order. These two events happened on the same weekend, so I’m putting these two together.

We’ll start with the Carnegie Mellon University (CMU – a univeristy down the street from my own) Matsuri.  There were some great live performances and a ton of different Japanese foods. I had okonomiyaki, my favorite! My friends and I went down in a group, and I decided the weather would be perfect for my blue wool ensemble. When we got there, we saw two of my Japanese teachers, Tomoda-sensei and Otani-sensei. Tomoda-sensei took some pictures for us:

CMU Matsuri
Everyone ^_^

CMU Matsuri
My ensemble.

I really need to make or buy white haori-himo, but a random and very short shoelace worked just fine, if not a little tacky.

The next was Pitt’s Cherry Blossom Festival (Sakura Matsuri) at which I had a table where I dressed up anyone who wanted to in kimono. I had a few different outfits to choose from. No guy did it, but I had several girls who were very excited to get dressed up.










My kouhai Liv


My other kouhai Gina

Two ladies at the table beside me were doing calligraphy for  people. I got to speak to them in Japanese, something I don’t get to do much with people who aren’t my teachers. They wrote “hikari kimono” for me and it’s beautiful. They are very talented.

This event was really tiring, but spreading the kimono love makes it fun! ^_^


Some New Men’s Stuff

So I decided to start getting more men’s stuff for my collection. I hope I’ll get to use them in Japan next year too. I’d still like to find a few more things: a formal haori, informal hakama, another kaku obi, and another cool colored kimono.

I finally found a black/blue kimono I really like, and it came with a haori too. It’s also nice and big.

Black and Blue Men's Kimono

Black and Blue Mens Haori

It has light blue threads!

Black and Blue Men's Kimono Detail

Then I found this thing called a nakagi. It’s like a dounuki for guys I guess. I mean, I guess that makes sense, but I never really thought about it…

Nakagi 3

Nakagi 4

It has this really cool, fine design.

Nakagi 5

I’ll probably wear these for Christmas, so look forward to pictures!

Shishi Kurotomesode

My shishi kimono finally came in (after much hatred towards my mail lady…) and I got the chance to put together the ensemble I’m going to wear to my cousin’s wedding in October! Here’s to hoping the weather is kind, it would be really unfortunate to pass out in the middle of the ceremony!  The kimono drapes really nicely. The original lining is spotty, but the fabric is sound. The hiyoku (fake white collar layer) has recently been replaced, with crisp chirimen silk. The obi has silver pagodas with golden maple and silver and green pine, so it will be perfect for the season, and the pagodas go with the temple lions perfectly! I need to find a gold and silver fan yet, though.  To tie in the hakoseko, I chose the obi-jime Kim gave me which has orange in it. Also, my tabi will be white; I couldn’t find my white ones, so I just used my plain black ones for the sake of not being barefoot. You’ll also have to excuse the Myspace-style bathroom (dirty!) mirror shots, as my room is poorly lit, and you couldn’t really see anything that well.





I just threw up my hair and stuck in my kushi comb for fun.


The inside okumi has a shishi tail!

Full set here.

The kimono, obi, and hakoseko:

Shishi Kurotomesode

Fukuro Obi with Goju-no-tou, Momiji, Trees, and Mountains

Hakoseko with Cranes

This time for the kimono challenge tag, I’ll be covering numbers 5 and 8.


1. How did you discover and get into kimono?
2. Your dearest kimono item(s).
3. Your most used kimono item(s) (not counting jubans, datejimes etc.).
4. Your least used kimono item(s).
5. Your favourite coordination(s) so far.
6. What you like and don’t like about kimono.
7. Kimono confessions. Did you know that…
8. Your dream kitsuke items (or at least items you really really want but can’t get for whatever reason).
9. Your biggest kimono fears.
10. Your biggest kimono inspiration.
11. Your kimono collection.
12. The evolution of your kitsuke.
13. Your special kimono memory.

5. Your favourite coordination(s) so far.

First up is my bamboo and yabane komon with mahjong chuuya obi. I love how summer-y this outfit is. Definitely one of my ensembles for Otakon.
初めは竹と矢羽の小紋とマージャン昼夜帯だ。 夏みたいなアンサンブルが好きだ。 こらは Otakon でぜったい着る。




Full set here.

Next up is my Meiji style yabane komon and hakama. The kimono and hakama are from Kim, as well as the fan I was carrying that day. I absolutely love the Meiji era, and this outfit takes me back in time.
次は明治スタイル矢飛白小紋と袴だ。着物と袴はきみこからだ,扇子も。 明治時代が大好きで、これを着ろ時に懐古趣味があるのだ。




And last, my second ensemble (and kimono) ever, which I put together for Halloween 2010. I haven’t worn this ensemble since, but I’ve worn the kimono one other time. Everything just came together so well and it really got that spooky vibe I wanted.
最後は私の二番のアンサンブルだ。ハロウイーン2010年に着たのだ。 あの時からまだ着なかったけど、着物は一度着た。 すべてよく似合って、薄気味の悪いのが欲しかった。


Blue-gray Momiji Houmongi

8. Your dream kitsuke items (or at least items you really really want but can’t get for whatever reason).

This dance kimono. It and it’s twins have escaped me 3 times now. One day it will. be. mine.
この踊り着物だ。 これとダブルは三度逃げた。一日ぜったい私のになるよ!


This entire ensemble. It has plaid and fleur-de-lis! What more could I ask for!?!?
すべてのアンサンブルが欲しい。 プラードとフーローデリースがあるのだよ!ほかに何かあるだろう?


This yukata. It’s on noppin now for like $300 dollars. It’s in a bunch of summer kimono magazines, and I’ve just fallen in love with it.
この浴衣も欲しい。 今noppinにあるけど、$300なんだ。。。たくさんの夏の着物の雑誌にあって、これが好きになった。

Magazine yukata 3

Tanabata is my favorite Japanese holiday, and this kimono is just awesome. The color and starry pattern are just perfect.
七夕は一番日本の祭りで、この着物はすごい。 色と星空は完璧だ。

tanabata kimono

And finally, my dream kimono, which escaped me about 2 years ago. I still mourn for it.
末に、 私の夢の着物で、 二年前逃げた。 まだ悔やむ。

Dream Kimono

For the sake of having the information easily accessible for anyone browsing the blog, I’m going to put together a list of all the things you’ll need to wear kimono! I’m also going to give you the DIY for certain things, cause who wants to spend money when you don’t have to? If your starting from scratch, visit I want a kimono! So… now what: parts one and two first.


  • koshi-himo (1-3) (lengths of fabric used to secure the kimono or obi)

You’ll be using these to put your kimono on, or help you with your obi. Carrying a spare one of these with any kimono is never a bad idea! They make official koshi-himo for kimono, but if you have an elastic belt or shoe strings that can go around you twice, that works equally as well!

Yep! That’s it!


  • juban (under kimono)

These are pretty cheap and plentiful on eBay. You really only need one and they can be used for all kimono. They keep your skin oils and sweat off the kimono. You may want to trick yours out with a collar stay, or at least a safety pin and a shoelace (it will make a world of difference, I kid you not).

  • koshi-himo (2-5)

You’ll need at least 2 this time, 5 if you want to be safe, or depending on whether you’re using some other things (read ahead).

  • date-jime (waist band) and/or korin belt (kind of like suspenders)

A date-jime is a waistband put under the obi to keep the kimono from becoming a mess and the collars from shifting. It can either be a strip of tightly woven silk or an elatic band. Easily replaced with an ace bandage.  A korin belt is a piece of elastic with clips at the end. I love mine and can’t live without it, but many people don’t use one. I use it with my ace bandage, but the ace bandage will be enough to get the job done.

  • collar clip

A clothespin or thin chip bag clip will do.

  • obi-clip

Most people don’t use an obi clip, but it will help your obi keep it’s shape as you move around. The easiest thing to do is get a big binder clip for 50 cents at the office supply store and tape one of the arms of the clip to the clip itself. This way, you can flip one arm down, but the other one won’t be able to move.

  • obi-ita (obi stiffener)

This keeps your obi from crinkling under tension. A piece of cardboard may work once or twice, but you really need something better. Think cheap cutting board like material, or two layers of laminated paper or a plastic folder. As it was so poetically said on Immortal Geisha, it’s good if it goes “wooba wooba wooba” when you shake it. It should be about 15cm wide and 30-40cm long. You also may want to tape around the ends for protection.

  • obi makura (bustle pad)

Literally “obi-pillow,” this gives almost all obi their shape. It’s a little pad with cords on either end. Easily DIY’ed. Get a piece of cardboard, an old stocking/leg of a pair of pantyhose, and scrap fabric/old (clean) socks/some dish rags, and a rubber band.  Take the piece of cardboard, make it 22×7 cm(!!). Get your choice of stuffing and put it on one side of the cardboard. Make it decently fluffy, as the fabric will generally compress over time. Rubber band it to keep the fabric in place. Get your stocking (the thicker/sturdier the better) and put the pad in the middle. Instant makura for probably no money.

  • obi-age (bustle sash)

Obi-age are lengths of fabrics (usually silk) of various design that covers the obi-makura.  You can buy a real one, or choose some fabric from the fabric store that is to your liking. Sheer fashion scarves work here as well. It should be wide enough to completely cover the makura and long enough to be tied around your body once.

Red Shibori Obi-age with Cranes

  • obi-jime (obi cord)

Obi-jime are cord (usually silk) that secure the obi knot. For this, I really don’t think there is a good substitute for a real one, but any relatively thin/flat cord could work, as long as it goes around your body about 1.5 to 1.75 times.