Yukata shopping guide.

2nd hand-stores in the crossing between Meiji Dōri and Omotesando Dōri are a safe yukata bet.

So you made it to Japan. Summertime. Hot, humid and filled with firework events. Either as souvenir (or as a way to merge with the locals in the 花火大会 (hanabitaikai or firework viewing) you would like to buy a kimono. So here’s some advice to find a suitable item without wasting too much money or time on it.

First thing first. Kimonos are for very formal events, probably only japanese people are able to dress them correctly, as they consist if numerous pieces which aren’t easy to assemble. Learn this word “yukata” which is the name of the summer version of this traditional attire, much more recommendable for the foreign wearer.

Secondly, where to buy it? These aren’t cheap. So don’t go for traditional kimono stores (or souvenir places) unless you want something utterly expensive or a fake copy made in China. Check the second hand stores in Harujuku. You won’t regret!

Tokyo 135 [MAP] is in Harajuku (Jingumae), nice pieces but a bit too much for our empty pockets.

Chicago [MAP] also in Harajuku is a huge vintage store, worth a visit if you can appreciate quirky items like boyscout shirts at reasonable prices. There, yukatas went from the 10000¥ (100€) from department stores like LOFT to 1500¥ (15€). Obis (the belt) available from 525¥

The stuff didn’t look bad at all, actually much better than the places in the Meiji-Omotesando Dōri cossing.

One could also find wedding kimonos and single woman kimonos at OK prices (20000¥ 200€). I fell in love with the printed silk.

Accessory belts that women wear on top of the obi, drawing intrincated shapes and colors with silk.

Rainbow of obis, to choose from.

Guess who’s ready for some firework…

On the walk home, we passed by another kimono store in Aoyama Dōri (UN side, close to Shibuya) whose prices were laughable comparing to what we paid (1800¥ and 1500¥, for either set of yukata&obi).

See the result.

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