Ultimate Guide to Kimono Rental in Tokyo and Kyoto

By Team Japan Switch | May 2nd, 2023 

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    The kimono is perhaps one of the most emblematic images associated with Japanese culture. Because of the garment’s incredible popularity among tourists, Japan has a multitude of kimono rental stores where you can rent your very own kimono for the day. Whether you want it to stroll down the streets of Tokyo in style, or are simply craving the perfect Japanese photo shoot, read on.

    Below, we look at all the best places to rent a kimono, what the process is, and how much it costs. But first, a quick history lesson.

    This article is a part of our extensive series on Learning about Japan through Online Japanese Lessons at Japan Switch.


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    The History of the Kimono

    The kimono is the national garb of Japan and traces back its history all the way to the Heian Period (year 794-1192). The beginnings of this garment were humble – it was just a piece of straight-cut cloth that could be adapted to any body type. Its versatility is, no doubt, what made the kimono such a popular piece of clothing in Japan (even before it was a unified country, as we now know it).

    As Japan unified into a feudal shogunate during the 1600s, kimonos gained popularity, and began being referred to as kosode (小袖). During this time, a short-sleeved version of the kimono we know now was popular, hence this alternate name, which literally translated as “short sleeves”.

    Following the unification of Japan, and the country’s blossoming all through the Edo Period (1603-1868), the kimono became more than just a piece of cloth. As the country developed (mostly without foreign influences), the kosode became a marker of Japanese national identity.

    Although Japanese society during this time was much divided (by class, rank, etc.), the kimono served as a potent unifier. Everyone wore a kimono, regardless of who they were, and where they came from, in a sense strengthening the larger idea of a unified Japanese society. As the Edo Period came to its natural conclusion, and the 19th century drew to a close, the national garb became known as a kimono, which literally translates as “a thing to wear”.


    Check out our Ultimate Guide to Japanese Culture for an in-depth look beyond the basic sushi and samurai!

    More than just a pretty garment

    Although everyone wore a kimono during the Edo Period, no two kimonos were exactly alike. For one thing, the quality of the garment differed – naturally, the higher classes had kimonos made of finer cloth, and only wore them sparsely, whereas the lower classes were forced to wear theirs until came apart.

    The kimono you wore was a marker of who you were, both on a personal level, and in terms of societal status. The complex designs that adorn the traditional kimono are also more than pretty symbols – they’re used to tell a story. Often, the kimono wearer would have his embroidered with certain images, patterns, and motifs, to denote their occupation, and social standing, as well as give details about their family.

    It was not unusual for the kimono wearer to add kanji (漢字, Japanese script derived from Chinese characters) to denote a higher education or literary pursuits. Likewise, many kimonos made allusions to plays, legends, and other pieces of popular history that in some way related to the wearer’s identity.

    Therefore, the material used, kimono pattern, paint, print, and color all served in identifying the wearer of the kimono and gaining precious information about them (age, gender, rank, etc.).

    In modern times, the kimono is no longer a garment for everyday wear. Rather, it’s reserved by locals for ceremonies, graduations, tea ceremonies, and other significant events. 

    If trying a traditional tea ceremony is on your list of things to do in Japan, don't miss our breakdown of what happens in a tea ceremony, where to find one with English support, and the dos and don'ts in our Ultimate Guide to the Japanese Tea Ceremony! If you're simply looking to understand the nuances and intricacies of the tea itself, check out our Ultimate Guide to Japanese Tea here.

    Two Japanese girls standing on the street wearing a yellow kimono with a pink obi (belt) and a pink kimono with a brown obi

    The Different Kinds of Kimono

    As we saw, different kimonos identified different characters in Japanese society. However, when visiting a kimono rental store on your Japan visit, it’s not necessary to choose a kimono that represents your own identity. If you’d like to don a one that says something about who you are, below you can find a quick guide to the different types of garments available.

    1. Furisode (振袖)

    One of the more formal versions of the kimono, the furisode is typically worn by unmarried girls, often during ceremonies. The most popular versions sport either long (up to 107 cm) sleeves, or medium-sized sleeves, and have a heavily padded interior lining. Kimono rental shops in Japan often offer a variety of furisode options. Note, however, that furisode rental costs (around ¥15,000 / $110USD) are typically higher than other types of kimono on account of their intricate designs and the higher quality materials used.

    2. Tomesode (留袖)

    The tomesode is another type of formal kimono destined for married women. It’s recognizable by its rich patterns, sometimes woven with actual threads of gold. This pattern is always found below the waist.

    There are also subtle differences in the design depending on the wearer's relationship to the host of the event. For example, the tomesode worn by the mother of the bride will have a different pattern than the tomesode worn by the mother of the groom. These differences are known as "katayama-monyo" and add a unique touch to this elegant and sophisticated kimono style. 

    Tomesode can also be on the pricier side, starting at around ¥10,000 / $72USD in some kimono rental stores. 

    3. Hikizuri (引きずり)

    While the hikizuri once denoted great rank, it’s now become a rare sight to behold. Translating to “trailing skirt” thanks to its impressive length, the hikizuri is now mostly worn by geisha or maiko during a performance. Because of its length, it requires the wearer to hold up the hem while walking, which creates a graceful gliding motion.

    It is also quite difficult to walk and move around in, so it is typically reserved for formal and ceremonial occasions where mobility is less of a factor. Though rare, visitors to Japan can experience the beauty of the hikizuri through cultural performances and traditional dance shows. They can be, however, a little more challenging to find in kimono rental stores that offer English support and cater to visitors. 

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    4. Houmongi (訪問着)

    The houmongi is a versatile type of kimono that can be worn both by married and unmarried women and is typically reserved for semi-formal occasions. Also known as a “visiting kimono”, the houmongi is identified by its rich designs, flowing mostly down the arms and back. It is often considered a more modern version of the kimono and is favored for its versatility and comfort. Unlike more formal kimono styles, the houmongi does not have a dividing line between the upper and lower sections, which allows for greater freedom of movement. 

    This makes it a popular choice for events where the wearer will be sitting or moving around frequently, such as tea ceremonies or weddings. In addition to its flowing designs down the arms and back, houmongi are often features subtle gradations of color, creating a gentle and sophisticated appearance.

    5. Komon (小紋)

    The komon is a casual, more common kimono type than the others explored thus far. It typically features a repeating pattern that crosses the garment vertically and is ideal for strolling along during your visit to Japan. While generally considered a more casual kimono, it still features intricate and beautiful designs that make it a popular choice for many occasions. The repeating patterns that cross the garment vertically can vary widely in complexity and style, ranging from simple geometric shapes to more intricate floral or nature-inspired designs. The komon is a versatile kimono that can be worn by both men and women, and it can be paired with a wide variety of accessories to create different looks. 

    These are on the more affordable side and will cost around ¥6,000 / $40USD at a kimono rental store. 

    Japanese woman trying on a red kimono with an intricate design in a kimono rental store

    6. Iro Muji (色無地)

    The iro muji is by far the “simplest” type of kimono you’ll find. Although they come in many different colors, they are free of any type of pattern. They embody a humble sort of beauty and are suitable for anything from a family visit to a tea ceremony.

    Though without intricate patterns, it is still often made from high-quality fabrics and is carefully tailored to fit the wearer's body in a flattering and comfortable way. Its simple design makes it a perfect canvas for showcasing accessories such as obi belts, jewelry, and hair ornaments, allowing the wearer to add their own flavor. The iro muji kimono is appropriate for a wide variety of occasions, from casual outings to formal events, and can be easily dressed up or down depending on the situation. Rental prices for these start around the ¥20,000 / $145 mark.


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    7. Kinagashi (着流し)

    The kingashi is a casual type of kimono worn by men. It’s a long, flowing garment that often reaches a man’s feet or even the floor. The kinagashi is typically made from lightweight fabrics, such as cotton or linen, which allows for breathability and comfort in warm weather.

    While it is not as formal as other types of kimono, the kinagashi still features intricate designs and patterns that reflect the beauty and artistry of Japanese culture. This type of kimono can be worn to a variety of events, such as outdoor festivals or casual gatherings, and is often paired with accessories such as sandals, hats, and fans to complete the look.

    8. Hakama (袴) and Haori (羽織)

    When a man isn’t sporting a kinagashi, they’ll be wearing a hakama and haori combo. This is basically an outfit consisting of kimono pants, or a long, plated skirt (also donning an intricate design), and a short kimono jacket. 

    More specifically, the hakama is a type of pleated skirt or pants that is worn over the kimono and is typically made from a heavier fabric such as silk or wool. The haori is a short jacket that is worn over the kimono and is often embellished with intricate designs or patterns. Together, the hakama and haori combo create a sophisticated and elegant outfit that is appropriate for formal occasions such as weddings, graduations, or other ceremonies. You'll likely spend around ¥7,000 / $50USD on the set. 

    9. Yukata (浴衣)

    Finally, we have the yukata which is a feminine style of kimono, often worn in the summer, thanks to the light cotton used in its fabrication, and the absence of padding. It’s ideal for festivals, or summer walks. Though it was often associated with women, it is also commonly worn by men during the summer months. The yukata is typically made from lightweight cotton fabric and does not feature any heavy padding, which makes it ideal for staying cool in Japan's humid months.

    Yukata feature a simple and comfortable design, often with vibrant colors and patterns that reflect the festive and celebratory atmosphere of summer events. You'll see many people adorned in them at summer festivals, fireworks displays, and other outdoor events, but they can also be worn as a casual everyday outfit. Like other kimono, you can complete the look with an obi belt, sandals, and various other accessories to suit your own style. Expect prices to start at around ¥4,000 / $30USD. 

    Side note: If you're still a little lost, check out our in-depth breakdown in the Ultimate Guide to Yukata vs. Kimono here!

    Japanese woman in a black dress looking through racks of kimono in a kimono rental store

    7 Great Kimono Rental Stores in Tokyo

    The Japanese capital offers no shortage of kimono rental stores and wonderful photo opportunities. Many stores will even offer professional photography services for an additional fee. Whether you’re traveling to Tokyo to witness the breathtaking cherry blossom season, or simply plan on hitting all the temples and sanctuaries, renting a kimono is a great way to dive a little deeper into the culture.

    Below are some of the best places to rent a kimono in Tokyo, both in terms of price, as well as quality. Many of these are located in the Asakusa (浅草) district of Tokyo. As one of the older areas of the city, it is home to popular tourist attractions, like the Kaminari Gate, Asakusa Shrine, and Sensoji Temple.

    If you can't decide on which temple or shrine to visit (or tell the difference), don't miss our Ultimate Guide to Temples and Shrines in Tokyo and our Ultimate Guide to Visiting Shrines in Tokyo.

    Note: Although not specifically mentioned, most of the rental shops on this list also offer children’s kimono to rent, as well as male outfits. Do check before booking, though, to make sure the whole family can share this unique experience.

    Kimono Yae

    Located right off Nakamise Street (Asakusa’s oldest, most popular shopping street), Kimono Yae is a kimono rental shop that offers individual, as well as couple and group rentals.

    Additionally, they offer professional photo shoots (30-90 minutes), starting from ¥11,000 ($80USD). The cost of an individual kimono rental is ¥5,980 ($43USD), and lets you keep it until 5:30 (when the shop closes).

    Kimono Koto

    Also located in the Asakusa district, Kimono Koto is by far the most budget-friendly choice on this list, with individual kimono day rentals starting at ¥1,980 ($15USD). Here, you can also rent kimono sashes, sandals, and even undergarments. For an extra cost, they’ll arrange your hair in a traditional Japanese style, even using a traditional hair pin.

    They also offer men’s kimonos, starting from ¥3,850 ($28USD), and offer group and couple discounts.

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    Kimono Sakaeya

    Located in the Harajuku district, Kimono Sakaeya is not only a kimono rental shop, but actually a place where you can purchase new and second-hand kimonos to take home. It offers several packages, with either a visit to the Meiji shrine, or a Japanese garden, as well as a tea ceremony, starting from ¥9,000 ($65USD).

    You can also opt for yukata plans, starting at ¥13,000 ($95USD), which allow you to keep the summer kimono at the end of the day, or for furisode rentals, at ¥50,000 ($365USD).

    Pro Tip: Rentals at Sakaeya work by appointment only – so if you feel like this is the rental shop for you, make sure to book ahead.

    Woman wearing a pink kimono with a weaving floral design in a kimono store

    Aki Kimono Rental

    Aki Kimono Rental actually has not one, but three shops – in the Shibuya, Ginza, and Ikebukuro districts, so you don’t have to go out of your way for a rental. However, the Shibuya and Ginza shops are better stocked.

    Individual day rentals start at ¥6,600 ($48USD), except for the summers when they also rent out yukata for ¥5,500 ($40USD). Additionally, Aki Kimono Rental offers various add-ons, like traditional hair and make-up, as well as a professional photo shoot, and even throws in some sushi from the restaurant next door. All these adds-on cost a reasonable ¥3,300 ($24USD).


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    Hanaka Kimono

    Located right outside Asakusa Station, Hanaka Kimono is one of the oldest kimono rental shops in the district. Offers start from short 2-hour rentals (great if you need the kimono for a photo shoot) at just ¥2,560 ($19USD). Of course, you can also opt for day-long rentals, as well as spring for additional packages, also including hair, make-up, and other such amenities.

    An interesting fact about Hanaka Kimono is that they also offer complete kimono wedding rentals, if you and your loved ones wish to tie the knot according to Japanese tradition. Wedding rentals are pricier, at around ¥41,800 ($300USD), but well worth it for a wedding ceremony to remember.


    Yet another excellent kimono rental at the heart of Asakusa, VASARA boasts an impressive display of kimono models inside, including several of the above-mentioned komon, furisode and houmongi. Rentals start at a modest ¥2,980 ($22USD), and include sandals, hairpin bag and undergarments, on top of the kimono.

    They also throw in some simpler Japanese hairstyles for free, or you can opt for a more complex hairdo for an extra ¥1,000 - ¥2,000.

    Pro Tip: Although the Asakusa flagship store has the largest offer of garments, it can also get quite crowded. So, if you want to beat the queues, you can alternatively try their Asakusa-ekimae or Sensoji stores.

    Asakusa Taisho Romankan

    Finally, Asakusa Taisho Romankan is one of the newest kimono rental shops in the area, having opened right next to the Sensoji Temple in 2021. As the name suggests, the entire store is designed to replicate the Taisho Period (1912 - 1926), with decorum and garments specific to that period (and not only).

    Since the Taisho Period was strongly marked by a Western influence on Japanese culture, the kimono of this period features all sorts of elements like lace, pearls, and so on, which weren’t usually the case with more traditional designs.

    Rentals start at a reasonable ¥5,500 ($40USD) and include a kimono, purse, and hairpin, as well as a simple traditional hairdo. The store also offers a broad selection of accessories, like purses, lace adornments, sandals, and hair decoration that can be sampled for a fee.

    Pro Tip: Note that Asakusa Taisho Romankan insists on each person making their own reservation. So even if you’ve booked the Couple Plan, or are planning on visiting the store as a larger group, each person will need to make their own individual reservation.

    Young woman looking at three kimono in blue, white, and teal in a kimono rental shop

    5 Awesome Kimono Rental Stores in Kyoto

    Kyoto is one of the hottest tourist destinations, right up there with the Japanese capital. Because of that Kyoto also offers a selection of kimono renting shops along its main areas. Below, we look at some of the more popular ones, and what conditions and costs are like.

    Did you know…? Although Tokyo (as well as a number of other tourist cities) offers kimono rentals, Kyoto is by far the “kimono capital” of Japan. In other words, if you’re planning on visiting both cities, and wondering where best to rent a kimono, Kyoto with its wonderful temples and old streets should be your first choice.

    Pro Tip: Most kimono rental stores open around 9-10 AM, and often charge an extra fee for reservations within that time slot. That’s because their first slot is also their most popular, with many tourists arriving as early as possible, to get the most out of their full-day kimono rental.

    Also - don't miss our list of the Top 18 Things to Do in Kyoto (in or out of a kimono)!


    Located inside the old-school Higashiyama Ward of Kyoto, Wakana is a very low-key, laidback kimono rental option. Their individual plans start at a reasonable ¥3,600 ($22USD), and include the kimono, the sash (known as obi, 帯), and the socks and wooden sandals (known as geta, 下駄).

    They also have special offers for couples at ¥6,980 ($50USD), as well as a range of accessories, and extras like hairstyling or make-up for additional fees. While it’s recommended to bring back the kimono before the shop closes at 6 P.M., you may also be able to return it the next morning for a small fee.

    What makes Wakana a great choice is its location – the Higashiyama Ward, with its feudal, vintage look makes for a wonderful photo backdrop, or just a great place to stroll the old streets of Kyoto.

    Kyoto Kimono Wargo

    Kimono Wargo is actually one of Kyoto’s largest kimono rental chains, so you’ve got plenty of options, when it comes to location. The benefit here is that you don’t need to go out of your way to reach the store.

    Their rentals start at just ¥3,300 ($24USD) and are quite generous offers, as they include not just the kimono itself, but also a simple traditional hairstyle, hair decoration, as well as the complimentary kanzashi (簪, floral hairpin).

    Like most rental shops, they also offer you a choice of accessories, including a stylish parasol for ¥500 ($4USD) or a maiko umbrella for ¥1,000 ($8USD). Depending on your group size, you might be eligible for a group or couple package, instead.

    Wargo takes a relaxed attitude towards their rentals – you can either bring them back up to 30 minutes before the store closes (hours differ between locations), or, for an extra ¥900 ($7USD), you can bring it back the next day.






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    Yume Kyoto

    Located in Kyoto’s stylish geisha district, Gion, Yume Kyoto is a much smaller, cozier kimono rental shop with a few excellent drawing points for tourists. For one, the location itself – you can stroll out in your kimono and walk down the old streets, lined with teahouses and geisha. Another big attraction point of Yume Kyoto is the strong customer communication – they have staff that speaks Chinese, Taiwanese, as well as English fluently, allowing for easy communication.

    Their rental packages start from the basic ¥3,300 ($24USD) and go all the way up to ¥5,500 ($40USD). For a modest extra ¥1,650 ($12USD), you can also benefit from professional Japanese hairstyling.

    Finally, one more reason to choose Yume Kyoto is their excellent return policy. Like all other shops, you can return the gear free of charge before closing time at 6 PM. Alternatively, you can extend the return to 4 PM the next day for only ¥1,100 ($8USD).

    If going all the way back to the store sounds like a hassle, however, they also offer the option of returning your kimono and gear to the reception of the hotel where you’re staying (for them to return it to the store for ¥1,650 ($12USD).


    With a wardrobe that’s 500 kimono-strong, Yumeyakata is one of the most popular rental shops in Kyoto. Like Yume Kyoto, they boast English-speaking staff, which should make your reservation process, as well as the fitting itself, much easier.

    Situated near Gojo Station, Yumeyakata offers basic rental plans starting with ¥4,180 ($30USD). An interesting fact about Yumeyakata is that they offer a more official furisode experience. You can sport the luscious long-sleeved kimono for a fee of ¥16,500 ($120USD), as well as benefit from full hairstyling for an extra ¥6,600 ($48USD).

    If you decide to keep your rental a little longer, you can get almost a full extra day of wear for a modest fee of ¥110 ($0.80USD).

    Okamoto Kimono

    Legend has it that the very concept of kimono rental was born in Kyoto, specifically with the Okamoto franchise, which opened its very first store all the way back in 1830. Over time, they have amassed a staggering collection of over 30,000 kimono outfits available at their various locations.

    Their most basic rental plan (with the outfit determined beforehand) is a very affordable ¥3,278 ($24USD) for a basic one., If you want to mix and match your own outfit or splurge on a high-quality kimono, there are more expensive options, too.

    For just ¥550 ($4USD), you can have your hair professionally styled into a classic do. Of course, Okamoto also boasts a wide range of children’s and men’s kimono rentals, though they will be slightly pricier than the basic female plan (none going over ¥5,478).

    Pro Tip: While they do allow you to return the outfit the next day, bear in mind they ask for a deposit fo ¥10,000 ($73USD) beforehand.


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    Final Thoughts 

    Although not covered, many other Japanese tourist destinations offer local kimono rental shops, so if your trip to Japan doesn’t include a stop in either Tokyo or Kyoto, do not despair. Do your research about the specific towns you’ll be visiting, and work out your best options for a full-garb traditional Japanese look.

    As for the two main tourist cities, the above list hopefully answers all your questions about renting a traditional kimono in either Tokyo or Kyoto. As mentioned, some of these stores also allow you to buy your own (new or used) kimono, though understandably, these will be a little pricier.

    Whichever option you go for, spending a day in a traditional Japanese kimono is a great, hands-on way to experience the country’s rich and beautiful past and culture.

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