A Yukata (浴衣) is a Japanese summer robe which is made of cotton or synthetic fabric. It is a casual version of Kimono, and originally was a bathrobe worn after soaking in Onsen as a quick way to cover the body and cool down. If you stay at a traditional Japanese inn, Yukata is often provided for this purpose, and it is common to see guests strolling around town wearing Yukata while onsen-hopping in popular Onsen resort towns. Nowadays people wear it as a summer garment, especially as a casual clothes for summer festivals. Yukata is worn by both men and women.
A wide variety of colors and designs are available. Just like Kimono, the general rule with Yukata is that younger people wear bright, vivid colors and bold patterns. While older people wear dark, matured colors with less flashy patterns. Yukata for men generally have darker and subdued colors.
Yukata is wrapped around the body and fastened with a sash called 帯/Obi over 腰紐/Koshihimo (a cord tied around the waist). The left side of the yukata goes over the right side. It is said that it brings bad fortune if it is reversed because that is how a traditional clothes is worn for a funeral. Obi is usually tied in a bow and placed in the back. Wooden sandals called 下駄/Geta are usually worn with Yukata. Foldable fan, 扇子/Sensu, and a 巾着/Kinchaku bag may be carried as a summer Yukata fashion.
Differences between Yukata and Kimono
Here are the main differences between Yukata and Kimono. If you are thinking about getting one, or trying to wear Japanese clothes, check the things below to make sure you are getting what you want and wear it right.
Season: Yukata is made a lot lighter than Kimono. Yukata is usually only worn during summer while Kimono can be used throughout the year.
Material: Yukata is usually made of cotton or synthetic fabric and the price is lot cheaper than Kimono. Formal Kimono is made entirely from silk and hand-sewn.
Collar: A regular Kimono has two collars but Yukata has only one. This is because a white underwear called 襦袢/Juban is used when putting on a Kimono but it is not worn under Yukata.
Below is a video on how to wear Yukata (for female).
Today’s words and phrases
・Soak in 〜に浸かる
・Throughout the year 一年中
Enjoy your summer!
See you next time.
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