Underwear and Obi? 9 Basic Accessories to Wear KIMONO in Japan




Unless you go to Kyoto or on New Years Day, you don’t see Japanese wearing Kimono on the street.

Kimono is traditional Japanese garment and famous for its shape, colour and design. Traditional Japanese Garment? What is a Japanese KIMONO? summarizes brief introduction of Kimono. Let’s learn what kind of accessaries you need and how to choose them in Japan.



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9 Basic Accessories

Although Kimono itself is a piece of garment, you need to get lots of accessories to wear it properly. Below is a list of necessary items for dressing traditional Kimono. Let’s see one by one and how to choose and match them.





Source: http://free-photos.gatag.net


Needless to say, choosing right Kimono is crucial. Depending on situations, colour and design should be considered. For instance, if you go to tea ceremony, Kimono shouldn’t be too colourful. If you go to someon’s wedding, on the other hand, it’s better to choose bright and elegant colour.


You also need to consider your skin colour and eye colour. When you choose the colour of Kimono, bring the Kimono close to your face and check how it looks like. Does your face look clear? Or does it look unclear? You have to get Kimono that makes your face clear and bright, not unclear and old.


Moreover, if your eye colour is dark, it’s better to choose vivid colour. Choose light colour if your eye colour is not that dark. If you are not sure which colour suits for you, try various colours. You would know which one makes you look better and nice.



Obi (帯)


Source: http://webarchives.tnm.jp/imgsearch/show/C0094939


Obi is a sash or Japanese belt exclusively used for Kimono. Obi is very important because it affects the impression of Kimono. Its colour and design would be chosen depending on colour and design of Kimono.

When you choose Obi, there are two rules. Rule No.1, pick Obi that has similar colour as Kimono. For instance, if the Kimono is red, obi would be reddish colour.

Rule No.2, get an opposite colour. For example, if you get golden Kimono, your obi would be black.

It’s pretty important to match colour of Kimono and Obi, so try different combination and see which one you like the best.


Obijime (帯締め)


Source: http://kinoshitakimono.com/archives/715


Obijime is used to keep the shape of Obi in a proper position. There are different types and colours. Some look like a rope or string, and others look like shoe lace. Because it is placed on Obi, you need to choose colour and design according to the colour of Obi. And Kimono, of course.



Obiage (帯揚げ)


Colourful Obiage


Source: mamechiyo1.exblog.jp



Blue Obiage


Source: mamechiyo1.exblog.jp


Obiage is different from Obi and it looks like a small scarf. The size is about 160cm×30cm and you can choose from various colours and designs.

Most of them are made by silk but some are made by cotton. Obiage is more like an accessory to emphasize the Obi itself. Thus, you need to get Obiage that has similar material with Kimono.



Hadajuban (肌襦袢)



Hada means skin and juban means underwear. This is special underwear for Kimono. It’s usually short (down to hips) and made by cotton to absorb sweat. Most of them are white in colour and very comfortable to wear.

Because it’s underwear, Hadajuban must be hidden so that others cannot see.



Nagajuban (長襦袢)





Once you wear Hadajuban, next step is to wear Nagajuban. It’s not underwear and you can show others a part of it.

Its colour varies and may come with pink with light blue, yellow, black, white etc… You have to choose colour and adjust length depending on your Kimono.

Some Japanese take Nagajuban very seriously because it affects how they dress Kimono as well as impression of their Kimono.


Tabi (足袋)






Tabi are kind of socks and usually worn with Kimono. It’s white and usually big toe and other toes are separated to wear Zori (Japanese shoes).

Most of Tabi are made by cotton. You need to get a proper size of Tabi because it doesn’t stretch well like regular socks.



Zori (草履)




Zori is traditional sandals in Japan. It’s like flip-flops but made by better materials and thick soles and heels (the sole is flat yet thicker compared to flip-flops).

Black Zori may be popular for Yukata, but other colours are also used for Kimono.

The heel ranges between 3 and 5 cm and 5cm is worn for formal occasions such as weddings.


Only 4 sizes are available for Zori: Small (S), Medium (M), Large (L) and Extra Large (LL). Heels are supposed to be out for 1-3cm from the edge of Zori, so it’s better to get small one. If you get big one and your heels have extra space on Zori. It doesn’t look nice and not fashionable.






After getting all 8 items above, you can finally choose a bag.

When you wear nice Kimono, you don’t want to bring Coach or Gucci with you. You don’t have to get an expensive bag but get something suits with your Kimono. Colour and design matter.

It’s usually light colour such as white, golden, and silver.




Japanese used to wear Kimono everyday but now they don’t. Although it costs a lot and takes time to pick right items, wearing Kimono gives them sense of ”being Japanese.”


I love to wear Kimono and see people dressed Kimono.

I have a nice black Kimono and my Obi is golden and red. My bag is golden because my Kimono is black. My Zori is golden and white so that it matches with the bag.


I hope this post helps you to understand basic Kimono items and I’m glad if you are interested in wearing it!



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