Everyone who spent some time in Japan knows it can be very hot and humid during summer. If it comes to clothing, Japan’s ancient history found a solution for surviving the hot summer heat: “Yukata” (浴衣). Yukata literally means bathing garment, and is usually made of cotton or synthetic unlined fabric. It is a lighter, uncomplicated variant of the Kimono and usually worn in summer. That’s why it is sometimes referred to as ”Natsu no Kimono” (夏の着物姿), meaning „Summer Kimono“. Japanese people wear Yukatas for many different occasions like bathing in Japanese hot springs, during summer festivals, or simply as pajama. When it is used as a pajama, the Yukata is called “Nemaki” (寝間着).
Yukata is worn by men and women, while men’s Yukata are distinguished by shorter sleeves.
A standard Yukata combination contains a cotton undergarment “Juban” (じゅんばん), Yukata, “Obi” (帯), sandals known as Geta (下駄), a foldable “Sensu” (扇子) or fixed hand fan “Uchiwa” (団扇), and a carry bag “Kinchaku” (巾着). Young people rather wear bright, colorful Yukatas with floral prints, while older people wear dark, more mature colors.
Due to the more simple production, Yukatas are quite affordable and therefore a popular souvenir for tourists. You can also rent a Yukata set before going to a shrine or festival. It is the perfect chance emerse yourself into experiencing one of Japan’s most beautiful traditions.