My Experience Renting a Kimono at Yumeyakata in Kyoto, Japan
A Dream Come True
I’ve long admired the beauty of traditional Japanese kimonos and it’d been a dream of mine since I was a child to dress up in one. So when Kristi and I made our Japan trip official, I immediately began researching different kimono rental stores.
After searching tons of websites and watching plenty of YouTube videos, I finally decided on Yumeyakata in Kyoto. They’re one of the most popular kimono rental stores with a large selection of patterns and accessories at an affordable price point. To make your experience even more seamless, they have associates who speak a wide range of languages such as English, Chinese, French and of course, Japanese. Be weary though, because of it’s popularity the store is packed!
Choosing Your Kimono (and the Cost!)
From the moment you enter Yumeyakata you can tell that they have the kimono rental system all figured out. Each floor is a different step in the rental process, starting with check-in on the ground level. From there they direct you to the second floor where you can choose you Kimono and Obi patterns, as well as any extra accessories, such as the faux fur stole I picked. Afterwards, you head on up to the third floor where an experienced associate will help you get dressed. You can also choose to have your hair and/or make-up done as well for an extra fee. Then you head to the fourth floor where you choose your rental bag, grab a complimentary stole and check-in your streetwear with them. Finally, you return to the ground level to choose your shoes.
As you can see from the photos, I chose a simplistic yet beautiful cherry blossom pattern on a light yellow fabric. For the Obi tie, which is the band around my waist, I went for a brighter pink with light silver flecks for contrast. I also decided to pick out a cream colored faux fur stole for extra fabulousness. Since I can’t do more than a high pony-tail with my own hair, I paid the extra fee to have them do mine for me. Following with the cream and pink-colored theme of my kimono, I picked out a pretty pink flower for my hair accessory. The total rental cost me approximately ¥6,200 or $56 for an all-day kimono rental (not including tax).
Where to Take Photos
Now that you look absolutely gorgeous (or handsome), you obviously want to take a shit ton of photos. Yumeyakata is a short bus ride away from Kiyomizu-dera so I’d recommend starting there. Most of the photos in this post are from that location as it’s one of Kyoto’s most picturesque temples. From there we wandered down to Maruyama Park and across to Gion. Whilst in Gion we found a purikura shop at one end of Nishiki Market to take adorable, and equally ridiculous, photobooth pictures in.
Turning Back into a Pumpkin
As per Yumeyakata’s rental agreement, we returned our Kimonos prior to 7:30pm. You head directly up to the fourth floor where they return your checked-in belongings and help you get undressed. I’ll admit I was a little heartbroken as they helped me out of my kimono and I changed back into my regular clothes.
Now if you find yourself at the end of this post and still debating whether or not you should rent a kimono while you’re in Japan, I have one thing to say to you: Just do it! When else and where else are you going to be able to play dress up and live out a fantasy without being judged? It’s definitely worth the extra bucks for the experience and memories. I can already guarantee that when I revisit Japan with my boyfriend, that I’ll be making him do the couple kimono rental experience with me!
Photography by Kristi Truong