Kimono [着物] – Traditional Japanese Dress

Formal Kimono
Kimono [着物] is a Japanese traditional garment which looks like a long robe with wide sleeves and a broad sash. The word kimono literally means clothing.

Nowadays most Japanese wear kimono only for special occasions like weddings, New Year or graduations.

Styles of Kimono

Kimono has many forms, from formal to casual for various occasions. The level of formality of women’s kimonos is determined mostly by the pattern, fabric and colour.
The specific choice relates to the women’s age and marital status, and the level of formality of the occasion.

Uchikake - Highly formal bride kimono Uchikake - Colourful bride kimono MontsukiHaoriHakama - Highly formal Broom kimono At Traditional Wedding Furisode - A little girl wears furisode Back View of Kimono - Komon and a formal belt

Women’s kimonos

Furisode [振袖]- Long sleeves kimono
Furisode are the most formal kimono for unmarried women.
They are worn at coming-of-age ceremonies[成人式] and wedding receptions.
*See image above.

Shiromuku [白無垢]- White kimono only worn by bride at traditional wedding
Shiromuku means pure white. Brides wear all white kimono including inner part, socks, shoes, hat and accessories. The colour, white is symbol of purity and virginity and also symbolizes a blank canvas blending with dark groom’s color.
*See image above.

Uchikake [打ち掛け]- Colourful kimono worn by bride
Uchikake is another type of kimono for brides. It’s usually worn on the top of the shiromuku-like robe with no belt on it. Very colourful and has gorgeous pattern.
*See image above.

Tomesode [留袖]- Short sleeves kimono
2 Types of tomesode for married women
– Kurotomesode [黒留袖]
Most formal kimono for married women. A Black kimono with patterns only below waistline and 5 kamon (family crest) on.
They are worn by the mothers of the bride and groom at weddings.
– Irotomesode [色留袖]
Less formal than kurotomesode for married women.
A single-colour kimono with patterns only below the waistline.
They are worn by relatives of the bride and groom at weddings.

Komon [小紋]- Kimono for married and unmarried women
Komon is a kimono with fine pattern repeated through the garment.
They are worn at town, restaurants and parties.
*See image above.

Iromuji [色無地]- Kimono for married and unmarried women
Iromuji is a single-colored kimono that may be worn by married and unmarried women. They are worn at tea, graduation or entrance ceremonies and parties.

Men’s Kimonos

MontsukiHaoriHakama [紋付羽織袴]- The most formal Kimono for men
Montsuki[紋付]+haori[羽織]+hakama[袴] is a plain black kimono with 5 kamon [家紋] and a black coat [haori] and black divided skirt [hakama]. They are usually worn by grooms at weddings, the coming-of-age ceremonies [成人式] and funeral.
*See image below.

Kamon[家紋]- Family Crest Used on Kimonos

Kamon is Japanese heraldic symbol and refers to family symbols. In japan every family has kamon and now 5116 kinds of Kamon are being recognized.
Kamon consists of two symbols – house [家 ka] + crest [紋 mon].

Kamon Semon - 1 kamon on back Sodemon and Dakimon - 2 kamon on sleeves and 2 kamon on chest Ladie's Kimono - 1 kamon on back

HitotsuMon [一つ紋]- Only 1 crest on kimomo
HitotsuMon is 1 crest at the center of the back part.
Semon means back [背 se] + crest [紋 mon].

MittsuMon [三つ紋]- 3 crests on kimomo
MittsuMon means 3 crests, 1 at the of center of the back and 2 on the sleeves of kimono.
Sodemon means sleeves [袖 sode] + crest [紋 mon].
Kimonos with MittsuMon are semiformal.

ItsutsuMon [五つ紋]- 5 crests on kimomo
ItsutsuMon means 5 crests, 1 at the of center of the back, 2 on the sleeves and 2 on both sides of the chest on kimono.
Kimonos with ItsutsuMon are the most formal.
Dakimon means fold [抱 daki] + crest [紋 mon].