Different Kimono Types

Different Kimono Types

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Kimono literally means “something that is worn”, and there are many Japanese Kimono types for different occasions.

The basis of the kimono is, of course, the kimono robe itself. There are various kimono styles, patterns, and colors to match the seasons. However, there is also a stark difference in Japanese kimono types. Each has it’s own unique place in Japanese culture and customs. Impress the locals with your knowledge of kimono styles!

Kimono Type 1 : Furisode (振袖)
Let’s start with the most formal Japanese kimono type, the furisode. Unmarried women wear the furisode, which has sleeves between 100cm- 107cm long. Often the furisode kimono type come with very dramatic designs meant to catch the eye.
There are actually three different furisode kimono types with different sleeve lengths; the Kofurisode (小振袖) with short sleeves, the Chu-furisode (中振袖) with medium sleeves and the Ofurisode (大振袖) with sleeves almost reaching the ground.

Ofurisode is the most common furisode kimono type and is the most formal. It also has some padding which adds weight and durability. Typically Ofurisode is worn in formal ceremonies by entertainers or brides at a wedding as one of the classiest kimono styles.

Chu-furisode have become more popular with young women. Unlike the Ofurisode, they do not have any padding on the inside. As a result, they are lighter and cooler.

Kofurisode, with the shortest sleeves, can also be worn with formal pants, or hakama. Compared to the other furisode kimono types, it is not as common. The look, especially with the hakama and boots, calls back to the Meiji period. During that time, it was the kimono style of many Japanese school girls.

Kimono Type 2: Hikizuri (引きずり)

Before the Meiji era, Hikizuri kimono was worn by wealthy women of high rank. Now, the chances you will see this kimono type in public are very slim unless you are in Kyoto or the Asakusa area of Tokyo. Hikizuri means “trailing skirt” and the kimono got this name because of its length. The gorgeous fabric flow elegantly.
In contrast to other kimono types, Hikizuri kimono is mainly worn by geisha, maiko or stage performers of traditional Japanese dance. With modern times, women had more opportunities to leave the house which resulted in the current kimono styles that requires folding the extra fabric around the waist.

Kimono Type 3: Tomesode (留袖)

Tomesode is the most formal kimono type worn by married women. Specifically, the pattern of a Tomesode is always below the waist and has a beautiful design. In fact, it sometimes includes gold. In western culture, this kimono type is equivalent to and evening dress. It has either 3 or 5 crests. The latter is more formal, and they range from colorful to just black varieties. The black variety, Kuro Tomesode, are only worn by married women.

Kimono Type 4: Houmongi (訪問着)

What is Houmongi? The literal meaning of Houmongi is “visiting wear”, and both married and unmarried women wear these semi-formal kimono types. Houmongi come in many elegant colors and designs that are suitable for various ceremonies and semi-formal house parties. The pattern flows over the shoulder to the seams in the back, visible on the sleeves and under the waist.
This kimono style is created using the “eba” method which looks like a continuous painting stretched across the entire kimono. Even though its history is quite old, when it appeared in the Taisho period, it was a new kimono type.

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