Translated by Ray Koh
Shake Off The Summer Heat With A Stroll In A Yukata
The yukata is the summer clothing of Japan. Cool and stylish, it is only worn for one season during the year. Let Mine Kichijoji help you wear one!
Written by Misaki Tachibana
When one speaks of summer, the first thing that comes to mind is the yukata, a type of light traditional summer clothing with various eye-catching patterns, that is said to cool the skin at the collar and sleeves. It's rather unfortunate that many people these days are not able to wear a yukata by themselves. More than that, it's unusual to even own your own yukata.
Summer only comes once a year, though, so what could be better than wearing a garb befitting the season while enjoying the sights and sounds in spite of the heat? During these times you can really rely on kimono rental shops. We'd like to introduce you to a kimono rental store located in Kichijoji, called "Mine Kichijoji" (in this case, Mine is pronounced the same as the English word).
Let's Rent Kimonos and Yukatas
Take the north exit of Kichijoji Station and turn right, following along the train tracks. Soon you will be able to see the Family Mart convenience store on the corner.
Continue straight for one block, at the second corner you will be able to see a green signboard on the side of the corner building, pointing out the shop Mine Kichijoji's location. Newly opened in July 2014, this kimono rental store bearing the name "Mine" has other branches located within Tokyo, like in Roppongi and Takadanobaba, as well as in other prefectures like Fukuoka and Osaka.
From the building's entrance, turn the corner and on your left is an elevator; head to the third floor and you've reached Mine Kichijoji.
Unlike other shops, don't forget to take off your shoes when you are inside the store.
After arriving, go ahead and look through the various different patterns available. Rest assured that the staff will help you to coordinate your outfit and help to choose the best size to suit you, as well as help you to get dressed in it properly. After coming all this way to wear a yukata, it would be such a waste to try and tie it yourself, only to have it come loose later.
The yukatas here are mostly tailored for women but men's yukatas are available as well.
For a one-day rental fee of 3000 yen, you get a yukata, obi, pouch, and geta (Japanese clogs). Considering that when you rent a yukata it comes with a full ensemble, this price is very reasonable. As underwear might be visible even through dark-colored yukata, it's a good idea to bring undershirts, underpants or petticoats. Men's flashy underwear can also show through the light-colored yukata, so be careful (underpants are required of course).
The general rule is to return rented clothing the next day. Washing your yukata is not necessary, but the clothes have to be returned within 24 hours. Should you wish to rent for more than a day, you'll need to discuss it with one of the store staff before renting your outfit.
Here are some hair accessories that can be rented for an extra 1000 yen. Matching a large flower accessory to the color of your yukata and geta strap is considered rather stylish.
Enjoy Japan's Summer with a Yukata
The yukata are the traditional summer clothing in Japan, while the kimono can be worn throughout the year. Unlike the latter, the yukata is most commonly worn after getting out of the bath and serves like a bathrobe of sorts.
Beyond yukata, Mine Kichijoji has kimonos available for rental as well. The age of kimono-renting customers range from the young to the old, but yukata-renting customers are overwhelmingly young women.
Store manager Ms. Iwano: "The yukata is worn in a single layer, so mature customers might feel a little embarrassed or exposed. However, once when two ladies from abroad visited us, they were absolutely delighted with wearing a yukata that suited their tastes. A huge photography session took place right in the store."
A rental package priced at 3000 yen is quite the steal. This affordable price is set so that people can familiarize themselves with yukatas and kimonos easily. Not only will the knowledgeable Ms. Iwano and her staff dress you up in a yukata, they will carefully explain the steps in donning one, even obi tying.
Mine Kichijoji is located close to the station, and with factoring in the 20 to 30 minutes it takes to wear a yukata properly, you can zip in and get changed in a flash. Doesn't heading out dressed in a stylish yukata sound like a good summer memory to you?
** Residents of Japan renting kimonos are required to register as a Mine member (Not necessary for yukata).
** Regardless of whether you are a resident of Japan, proof of identification is required for both kimono and yukata rentals.
Address: Tokyo Musashino Kichijoji Honcho 1-25-10 KS-2 Building 3F
Access: 3-minutes walk from the north exit of Kichijoji Station
Price Range: Rental package 3000 yen
** Hair styling an additional 3000 yen, hair accessory rental depends on the item, approximately 1000 yen each.
Website: Mine Kichijoji (Japanese)