Kimono Experience: 8 of the Best Destinations in Japan
When it comes to kimonos, places like Kyoto and Asakusa get a lot of attention.
But if you’re traveling in Japan and want a great kimono experience, there are more sights to see that complement this traditional garment.
In this guide we’ll recommend the best shops to reasonably rent kimonos and the best spots to explore for the complete kimono experience.
Kamakura is a popular destination for those seeking a classical vibe.
You can take the quaint Enoden Train to one of the storied shrines or soak in the atmosphere with a walk through the retro-style city streets.
Either activity will suit your kimono nicely, regardless of the season.
Best Place : Hokoku-ji Temple
A 15-minute walk and bus ride from Kamakura Station, Hokoku-ji Temple is a bit out of the way. But when you’re sipping matcha in the tranquil bamboo gardens, it’ll be more than worth the trip.
Kimono Rental Shop : VASARA
This kimono rental is only 4 minutes’ walk from Kamakura Station.
It also includes various options for men, children, and even couples.
Because nothing says “kimono” like “ancient Edo,” the Koedo district of Kawagoe is a must. Plus the 8, 18, and 28 of every month is Kawagoe Kimono Day, which means special discounts at certain shops for the kimono crowd.
You’ll definitely be in good company to soak in the old-fashioned atmosphere of this charming area.
Best Place : Kashiya Yokocho, “Penny Candy Alley”
An alley famous for its collection of over 20 traditional Japanese candy shops, Kashiya Yokocho is a trip back to childhood in another time.
And it won’t break the bank, either. You can buy sweets starting at just 10 yen.
Kimono Rental Shop : Kimonoya Sara
Kimonoya Sara offers not only standard kimonos, but also various cosplay styles, like geisha and samurai.
There’s also a photo studio in another branch, where you can pose for the perfect picture with a professional touch.
Look to Nikko for natural beauty and impressive shrines.
This popular destination features the Kegon Falls, Lake Chuzenji, and Toshogu Shrine, to name a few of the many attractions across the city.
Best Place : Nikko Edomura, “EDO WONDERLAND”
A recreation of 17th-century Japan, this family-friendly village is a fun stopover that keeps things lighthearted.
Activities include ninja shows, samurai training, and all kinds of cosplay opportunities, plus funhouse type attractions modeled after historical locations.
Kimono Rental Shop : COCON NIKKO
This kimono shop is 6-minutes walk from Tobu Nikko Station and 9 minutes from JR Nikko Station, making it easily accessible to those stopping over in Nikko for a day or two.
The shop offers everything you need, so you can come empty-handed and leave in a full kimono 30 minutes later.
Travel to Kanazawa has been made easy with the addition of the new Hokuriku Shinkansen. Delicious seafood and Japanese sweets are but two of the charms of this old world city.
Fancy wearing a kimono and drifting from one lovely cafe to another?
Of course you do. And Kanazawa is sure to satisfy.
Best Place : Higashi Chaya District
Enjoy a stroll through this historical district filled with the wooden latticework of “chaya,” or entertainment houses, and the shops and restaurants that now fill them.
You can choose from a selection of local flavors and savor them while you wander about the town.
Don’t forget to grab some Japanese sweets at the Café YANAGI-AN , where they offer “Cream Anmitsu” is an excellent combination of cream and sweet red bean paste.
Higashi Chaya District
Kimono Rental Shop : KOKOYUI
At just 5 minutes’ walk from Kanazawa Station, this kimono rental is fully-equipped, even offering interpreters and photographers. All you need to bring is yourself.
Mention “kimono” in Japan and the Kyoto is sure to come up.
The internationally renowned city is a hotspot for classical Japanese culture.
Come and experience Kyoto’s singular charm for yourself.
Best Place : Rurikoin
This Buddhist temple is open to the public only twice a year from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. in the spring and autumn, making it an extra special experience.
That also means that crowds are to be expected.
You’ll want to allow plenty of time to see this rare opening of Rurikoin’s gardens, perhaps at their most enchanting during the fall and spring seasons.
Kimono Rental Shop : wargo
Kyoto Kimono Rental wargo has 8 locations across the city, 1 on the third floor of Kyoto Tower and only a 2-minute walk from Kyoto Station.
If you book online, they offer the very reasonable price of 2,900 yen for a full kimono, with both dressing and accessories included.
Kurashiki was originally a castle town in Okayama.
What has it rising in popularity, though, are its charming architectural touches, such as buildings with white walls and tile roofs that line the banks of a calm river running through the town.
Everything comes together to create that old world atmosphere.
Best Place : Kurashiki River Boat Rides
Take in the town’s white-walled buildings from a leisurely boat ride.
With tickets starting at 500 yen for adults and 250 yen for children, you can sit back as your boat is poled down the relaxing Kurashiki River.
It’s an affordable experience you shouldn’t leave Kurashiki without.
Kurashiki River Boat Rides
Kimono Rental Shop : Kurashiki Kimono Komachi
Kurashiki Kimono Komachi is a shop where, aside from the usual offerings, it’s also possible to rent kimonos made from the acclaimed Kojima Denim.
Step out into the street with a local fashion that will place you firmly in your surroundings.
Kurashiki Kimono Komachi
Originally the working-class area, or Shitamachi, of Tokyo, Asakusa is now home to both the city’s oldest temple, Senso-ji, and its tallest building, Tokyo Skytree.
Tourists to Japan are bound to end up in Asakusa at some point.
But that’s just the beginning.
Asakusa features of wealth of opportunities to experience the many faces of Japan, from modern to historical.
Best Place : Ebisuya Rickshaws
Renting a rickshaw is your best bet to capture the various sights of Asakusa.
You’ll get an up-close view of the area and a chance to feel like old-world aristocrats.
Plus, if you visit during the summer, you’ll be glad someone else is doing the walking for you. The Kaminarimon Course through Asakusa is about 15 minutes and costs 3,000 yen for 1 person, 4,000 yen for 2.
Kimono Rental Shop : Kimono Rental Yae
With no preparation on your part necessary, Kimono Rental Yae makes things simple.
Even rickshaw pickups are available at the shop; just let them know what time you’ll arrive beforehand.
Kimono Rental Yae
Tucked away in the backstreets of Tokyo, Kagurazaka is brimming with character.
Featuring an assortment of specialty shops, long standing Japanese restaurants, and even a few hidden bars, the curious streets of Kagurazaka are ripe for discovery.
Find a spot that feels like it was made especially for you.
Best Place : Manju Cafe mugimaru2
A warm glow emanates from behind the cover of vines surrounding the entrance to mugimaru2, a secret spot that’s straight out of a Ghibli movie.
Step inside this manju, or steamed bun, cafe and have a seat on a cushion at a low table while you chill with the cafe cat over a fresh manju.
Feel like exploring Kagurazaka a little more? You can get a few to-go.
Manju Cafe mugimaru2
Kimono Rental Shop : j -culture kimono-ya
Opened in late 2018, j-culture kimono-ya is on the basement floor of the Edo Culture Complex, or EDOCCO, which offers a shop and cafe of its own.
j -culture kimono-ya
There’s no shortage of places to see and things to do during a trip to Japan.
But choosing a style and pattern of kimono to suit your mood and surroundings can take your experience to the next level, making this adventure truly one to remember.