kyoto kimono rental

Ultimate Guide to Kyoto Kimono Rental & Best Rental Places

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Your ultimate guide to Kyoto kimono rental and all you need to know.

Kyoto is the undisputed cultural capital of Japan. Nowhere else can you immerse yourself in a cityscape so rich in tradition.

A key part of experiencing Kyoto is donning a beautiful kimono or a yukata robe while exploring the temples, shrines, neighborhoods, and scenery in Kyoto is a quintessential Kyoto bucket list experience.

The elegance of the clothing against the backdrop of ancient streets and buildings creates Instagrammable moments around every corner.It allows you to physically embody history while capturing memories to last a lifetime. No wonder it’s so popular.

kimono rental kyoto

Ultimate Guide to a Kyoto Kimono Rental & Best Rental Places

I recommend reserving your kimono rental ahead of time so you can plan your Kyoto Itinerary for the most efficient use of your time in Kyoto!

The Best Kyoto Kimono Rental

#1 pICK
kimono rental kyoto

Best Kyoto Kimono Rental

  • 5 star reviews
  • All Inclusive
  • Gion Store location
  • flexible cancelation policy

Kyoto Kimono photoshoot in kyoto

#2 pICK
kimono rental kyoto

Kyoto Kimono Photoshoot

  • 5 star reviews
  • photographer to take your photos
  • kimono rental is not included
  • flexible cancelation policy

Have No Time? Here’s the Key Info You Need on Kyoto Kimono Rentals:

  • Prices typically range from $20-70 depending on kimono style, accessories, and additional services like hair styling
  • Most places provide the full outfit so you just show up and get dressed. Some allow BYO kimono.
  • Advance reservations ensure inventory and often snag discounts, but walk-ins can usually be accommodated
  • Return times vary, but having a later return through your hotel or their other locations means you can enjoy Kyoto’s nightlife dressed up
  • You’ll have prime photo ops at top sites like Kiyomizudera, Fushimi Inari Taisha, Arashiyama bamboo grove and more

Keep scrolling for extensive details on 11 excellent kimono rental shops in Kyoto, must-hit photoshoot spots, FAQs and more to fully experience this quintessential cultural activity.

kyoto kimono rental

Choosing the Ideal Kimono Rental in Kyoto With kimono rental shops on practically every corner, you’ll be faced with lots of options when deciding where to go. Keep these tips in mind:

  • Location: Find a shop near the top sites you want to see to maximize convenience
  • Selection & Sizing: Shops have 100s if not 1,000+ kimonos ensuring you’ll discover the perfect look. Big & tall also usually accommodated.
  • Packages & Pricing: Basic rental starts around $20 but additional services like premium kimono, accessories, hair styling and professional photoshoots increase costs.
  • Foreign Language Support: English is common but Chinese, Korean and more may be available if you have special requests.
  • Same Day Reservations: Most accept walk-ins but reserving in advance is best for inventory and discounts if you have firm plans.
  • Return Convenience: Standard return times may limit night fun so extended hotel and cross-shop returns offer more flexibility.

I’ve compiled the key details on 11 excellent kimono rental shops in Kyoto below considering all these factors so you can zero in on the one that best fits your needs and budget.

Table of Top Kyoto Kimono Rental Shop 

Shop NameLocationBase PriceHighlights
WakanaGion District$29300 unique kimonos, hair styling available
Kyoetsu (Kawaramachi Shop)Downtown Kyoto$42Accessorize with obi belts, ribbons galore, easy online booking
Wargo NishikiDowntown Kyoto$30Massive selection of 4,000+ kimonos for the whole family
Shiki SakuraKiyomizu Area$33Kids kimono available, indoor photoshoot add-on
OkamotoKiyomizu Area$301,000 choices, multilingual support, return through hotel
Yume Kyoto (Kodaiji Store)Gion District$20Return via hotels & branches so you can enjoy the nightlife
KyōetsuDowntown & Arashiyama$21Variety of basic to premium kimono, couples’ packages
MaikoyaNakagyo Ward$57Tea ceremony & kimono package for ultimate cultural experience
Wargo7 Locations$38No extra fees, huge selection, online booking available
Yumeyakata (Oike Shop)Gojo Area$28Furisode kimono & photo packages, top stylist team
Kyo Aruki (Shijo Main Shop)Downtown Kyoto$33Modern innovative designs, spacious 300+ person shop
Two Women In Yukata Near Market

The Ultimate Guide to Renting & Wearing a Kimono in Kyoto

Now that you know the top spots to choose from, here is my complete guide to help you make the most of the quintessential kimono cultural experience in Kyoto.

Where to rent kimono in kyoto

These are the most popular and convenient locations for renting a kimono kyoto. You’ll want to reserve the kimono rental in Kyoto ahead of time preferably online. 

Eastern Kyoto (Higashiyama District) Renting Kimono in Kyoto

In addition to the shops mentioned above, top-rated kimono rentals in Eastern Kyoto include:

  • Rikawafuku (Kiyomizudera Shop): Just a 4-minute walk from the iconic Kiyomizudera Temple, making it ultra-convenient. They have 300 unique kimonos to choose from including antiques and original pieces. Hair styling packages available.
  • Fuji Kimono Specialty Store: A 5-minute walk from Kiyomizu-dera, their shop is located in a 90-year old restored traditional machiya townhouse providing the perfect backdrop for photos. Over 500 vibrant and colorful new kimonos to pick from.
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kyoto kimono rental Arashiyama District kyoto yukata rental 

While Arashiyama doesn’t have as many kimono rental options, a top choice is:

  • Kyoto Irome: Grab your kimono here then embark on a photoshoot amid Arashiyama’s bamboo grove, Togetsukyo Bridge and more breathtaking natural landscapes. Their shop offers machine sewing and hand-stitching services too in case adjustments are needed.

Central Kyoto (Nakagyo & Shimogyo Districts) Kyoto rental kimono

Convenient kimono rental shops in downtown Kyoto include:

  • Chiori: Just a 7-minute walk from Kawaramachi Station, Chiori has a large selection of authentic kimono and regularly rotates inventory so there’s always something new. Return by 6pm or arrange next-day hotel pickup.
  • Yumeyakata Oike Shop: Near the Gojo subway stop, this renowned 160-year old kimono shop has private garden and tatami mat suites perfect for dress up photos. Outdoor shoots also available. English, Chinese and Korean assistance available.

Fushimi District Kyoto Kimono Rental 

The top-rated kimono rental shop in the Fushimi area is:

  • Kyoto Aiwafuku: A quick 5-minute walk from iconic Fushimi Inari Shrine and station, it’s ultra-convenient for making the most of your rental period. Beautiful komon patterned & lace kimono abound. Hair styling included in packages.

Returning Your Rental Kimono

Standard return times range between 4:30pm – 6pm but many shops offer late returns via your hotel or their various locations across Kyoto (small fee may apply):

  • Simply change back into your clothes, neatly pack the kimono rental pieces, and drop off at the designated spot like the front desk.
  • Some companies like Wargo and Yumeyakata also have next-day and courier options enabling you to fully experience Kyoto’s nightlife.
  • Alternatively, most shops can arrange private pick-up so you don’t have to travel back if it’s out of the way. This usually costs around $5-10.

What to Expect & Prepare When Renting a Kimono in kyoto 

Renting a kimono is meant to be simple and fun but it helps to know what to expect so there’s no surprises.

  • No Need to Bring Anything: The rental fee covers the full outfit so you just show up as you are. Some places allow you to rent just a kimono to wear over your clothes for a discount.
  • Quick & Easy Dressing: It only takes about 30 minutes for staff to expertly dress you in layers. Allow up to 90 minutes if adding professional styling.
  • Sit Back & Relax: There’s no need to stress over choosing pieces – the seasoned pros will select the top coordinates.
  • Additional Services Extra: Hairstyling, accessories like bags and shoes, and professional photoshoots will increase costs but take your experience up a notch.
  • Security Deposit Required: You’ll store your belongings and may need to leave an ID or pay a refundable deposit in case of damages.
japan 2 week itinerary

Insider Tips to Maximize Your kyoto Kimono Rental Experience

Follow these handy tips I’ve gathered to ensure everything goes smoothly so you can have the ultimate kimono experience in Kyoto:

  • Reserve Ahead: Making reservations not only guarantees inventory and staffing, you’ll often score nice discounts too.
  • Avoid Peak Times: Unless you specifically want the early morning slot to maximize wear time, pick early afternoon for a less crowded fitting.
  • Bring Hairstyle Ideas: It helps to have inspiration photos for what you want your hair to look like – Kentucky Derby fascinators, anime characters, whatever!
  • Have a Game Plan: Figure out must-see spots nearby so you can make the most of your time out in kimono finery taking iconic photos.
  • Watch the Clock: Standard return times range from 4:30pm-6pm but late hotel and cross-shop returns offer more nightlife potential.
  • Prep Pose Ideas: Come with some poses and poses in mind ahead of to nail that perfect kimono shot at places like Kiyomizudera and Fushimi Inari Taisha. The staff can also suggest ideas if you get stuck!

Pro Tip: If hiring a private kimono photographer, share your Pinterest board or Instagram saved folder so they know what kinds of shots excite you!

Things to Know About Kimono Culture & Tradition

Since kimono rental has become an iconic tourist activity in Kyoto, some question whether foreigners wearing traditional dress is cultural appropriation.

The good news many Japanese locals and shop owners will reassure you it actually helps keep their cultural heritage alive. As kimono wear has faded from everyday life, tourism helps artisans and retailers preserve the craft.

Still, understanding kimono traditions shows respect. Here’s kimono etiquette to remember:

  • Kimono are historically worn by both men and women for special festivities like Coming of Age Day and weddings. But older married women tend not to wear flashy furisode styles.
  • Yukata are casual, lightweight cotton summer kimono often worn to firework festivals and hot spring resorts.
  • Colors, patterns and accessories indicate marital status, wealth, age and more so choose options suiting the ritual.
  • Strict rules dictate things like how wide obi belts should be tied, acceptable sleeve lengths, wearing tabi split-toe socks, etc. But rental staff handle technical aspects.
  • Sitting properly on tatami mats, entering buildings and temples, standing on subway trains – mind etiquette noticing how locals navigate spaces.
  • Shoes like geta clogs and zori sandals perfectly complete the outfit – but tread carefully as they take practice walking in.

Pro Tip: If you’ll be stopping at lots of temples and shrines in kimono, consider getting a fancy bangasa paper umbrella for bonus traditional style points!

Best kyoto Kimono Photo locations in Kyoto’s Top Districts

You’ll look so quintessentially Japanese strolling under blooming cherry trees and posing at ancient sites in your elegant kimono, you’re going to want to capture photos wherever you go.

To help you pinpoint the most iconic backdrops, I’ve compiled the ultimate list of must-do kimono photoshoot spots and experiences by district:

Gion District

This area filled with teahouses and geisha hideaways sets the scene for channeling Japan’s nostalgic past. Head to:

  • Yasaka Shrine – Frame vermilion orange torii gates with a beautiful kimono & parasol
  • Shirakawa Canal – Pose under the willows with omega-shaped noren dividers blowing in the wind
  • Ishibei Koji Alley – Snap shots under swinging red lanterns down atmospheric Pontocho dining lane
  • Gion Corner – Watch a traditional performance then snap pics on their vintage stage

Arashiyama District

Arashiyama’s bamboo groves and mountain landscapes look like you’ve stepped back centuries. Strike a pose:

  • Bamboo Grove – This ethereal green tunnel beckons striking artistic shots
  • Togetsukyo Bridge – Frame the crisp blue river and colorful hillside foliage
  • Kimono Forest – Check out the installation in Tenryuji Temple’s north garden
  • Open Air Museum – Ride a rickshaw through gardens then stop for seasonal flower pics

Central Kyoto

In bustling downtown, modern city elements contrast old and new. Mark your list with:

  • Nishiki Market – Pop out from the pickle and fish stalls in stunning attire
  • Shijo Kawaramachi – Cross the glitzy modern intersection for an urban vibe
  • Pontocho Alley – Night scenes of crowds dining give a cyberpunk-esque futuristic feel

Fushimi District

South of the city, sacred Fushimi Inari Taisha literally means “shrine of the god of rice and fertility.” Strike poses:

  • Thousands of Torii Gates – The seemingly endless red corridors create a powerful perspective
  • Overlook Spots – Mount Inari has vista views over the whole city so don’t miss looking back

Kiyomizu District

This eastern side contains the highest concentration of World Heritage Sites sure to transport you through time:

  • Kiyiomizudera Main Hall – This iconic orange stage floats over a sea of maple & cherry trees
  • Jishu Shrine – Strike a pose grasping the “love stones” said to help find future partners
  • Teapot Lane – Craft unique perspectives down this atmospheric lane named for its teaware shops

If you’ll be moving around hitting all the prime spots, consider hiring a kimono photographer or professional tour guide to optimize. They can whisk you efficiently via cab or public transit and pinpoint photogenic alleys you might otherwise miss!

The Best Kyoto Kimono Rental

#1 pICK
Two Women In Yukata Near Market

Best Kyoto Kimono Rental

  • 5 star reviews
  • All Inclusive
  • Gion Store location
  • flexible cancelation policy

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Frequently Asked Questions About Kimono Rentals in Kyoto

To wrap up this complete guide to an epic kimono experience in Kyoto, here are answers to the most commonly asked questions:

How much does it cost to rent a kimono in Kyoto? 

  • kyoto kimono rental price for Basic kimono rental starts around $20 but packages with premium kimono, deluxe accessories, hair styling and professional photoshoots can range from $50-100+. Most places have variety allowing you to custom tailor based on your budget. Advance reservations also often come with nice 10-20%+ discounts!*

What is the difference between kimono and yukata robes?

Yukata are casual lightweight cotton robes often worn at hot spring resorts and summer festivals. Kimono have more layers made of silk, brocade and other luxe fabrics. Kimono are more restrictive to move in so yukata are better for all-day wear exploring the city.

Can I rent a kimono as a solo traveler?

Absolutely! Kimono rental is popular across all demographics wanting to connect with Japanese culture – solo travelers, couples, families, teens doing study abroad, and more. There are even options just for men or kids if you’ll be experiencing solo or as a subset group.

What if I’m plus size – do shops accommodate bigger sizes?

Many rental shops stock kimono specifically in “LL” extra large and may have dedicated sections for extended sizes. If booking online is unclear, give them a call to check. Otherwise, the seasoned staff are experts at creatively styling standard sizes to flatter all body types.

Do I need reservations or can I do walk-ins?

It’s highly recommended to make reservations online for kimono rental japan  in advance if you have set plan. This locks in availability ensures staff will be on hand to accommodate, and secure any potential web discounts. However, most shops try to accept walk-ins based on capacity so don’t fret if you’re spontaneous! 

Transform into a Timeless Beauty in Kyoto Kimono hire

As you can see, wearing an elegant kimono or yukata while exploring Kyoto’s most storied sites makes for an incredibly memorable experience that vividly connects you with Japanese history and culture.

I hope this detailed guide gives you total confidence to take part in this iconic activity by:

  • Picking the best kimono rental shop to meet your needs & budget
  • Understanding what to expect & helpful tips maximize enjoyment
  • Immersing in meaningful traditions showing respect
  • Hitting all the top photoshoot spots for lifetime memories

Just one wander down Kiyomizudera’s ancient halls or under Fushimi Inari Taisha’s red gates in your resplendent outfit will transport you to another era filled with magic and tradition.

So don’t miss out on checking kimono wearing off your Kyoto bucket list!

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