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Types Of Japanese Kimono

Guide To Kimono Syles & Formalities

This guide is a quick review of the more common kinds of modern Japanese kimono, and the formality of the many kinds of kimono. Not included in this guide are accessories such as haori, michiyuki, and obi. Over the many years that kimono have existed, there has been an ongoing evolution of their style and fashion. The ways in which a kimono is worn and expressed has changed radically over the past few centuries in Japan. The bulk of the kimono's more modern form and style evolved during the Edo period. Men and women have different kinds of kimono, and wear their clothing differently. Not only do kimono come in a wide range of formalities, but they also have various dressing accessories associated with them. Most of the kimono in this guide are feminine because women have more kimono options to express themselves with.


Tip: The presence of komons increased the formality of an individual kimono. Mons come in groupings of 1 , 3, and 5. A kimono with 5 mons is very most formal.

Formal Colors For Kimono

There are some colors that are considered more formal than others when it comes to wearing kimono. The main colors are: black, white, silver, and gold. The presence of these color elements will slightly raise the formality of the attire. For example, a black kimono that has the same design as a green kimono will be more formal than the green kimono.

 Informal Japanese Kimono 


Onsen Kimono - Informal Japanese Kimono

Onsen kimono are the most informal type of Japanese kimono. When visiting Japan, many people encounter these types of kimono at the bathhouses, hot springs, and in other lounge settings. These kimono are literally used as bathrobes. Since these kimono are subject to water exposure they are constructed from an easy to care for comfortable cotton, which makes cleaning and caring for them easier. These kinds of kimono are ideal for lounging around the house, and should not be worn in public like a kimono.  These are popular gifts to give to anyone that wants a nice quality robe for private use.

Gender Expressed: Masculine & Feminine 

See More Onsen Examples 


Yukata Kimono - Informal Japanese Kimono

Yukata are an informal kind of kimono that is ideal for wearing in warmer months to events such as Japanese street festivals, anime conventions, and just having fun around town. Due to how few accessories are required to wear this type of kimono, they are widely considered ideal for anyone new to wearing kimono to learn how to wear. For many people, this is the first kind of kimono they are exposed to in Japan, due to the tourist dressing services which offer yukata dressings. Yukata are always informal, and unlined. Yukata are normally constructed from a cotton print fabric, and most modern ones are mass-produced.  Each gender wears their yukata differently.

Gender Expressed: Masculine & Feminine

See More Yukata Examples

japanese kimono

Komon Kimono - Informal Japanese Kimono

Komon kimono features an overall pattern and are ideal for wearing around town in casual settings. Komon kimono can be made from many kinds of fabric including but not limited to silk, wool, polyester, and rayon. Depending on the season they can be lined, or unlined. Lined ones are for cooler weather, while unlined ones are for warmer weather. It is customary to wear a juban under these kinds of kimono, with the decorative collar known as a haneri visible. These kimono are largely regarded as everyday street wear. Another kind of version of this kimono is called an Edo Komon Kimono.

Gender Expressed: Masculine & feminine

See More Casual Japanese Kimono Examples

Semi-Formal Japanese Kimono 

edo komon

Edo Komon Kimono - Informal Japanese Kimono

This semi-formal women's kimono type features a very fine small detailed print. At a distance this kimono will look like a solid color, however up close it will be an exceptionally fine small print design. This kind of kimono is more formal than everyday casual kimono, and less formal than an iromuji. It is very versatile and is gaining popularity.

Gender Expressed: Masculine & feminine

See More Edo Komon Kimono Examples


Iromuji Kimono - Semi-Formal to Formal Japanese Kimono

Iromuji are an exceptionally versatile semi-formal to formal style of kimono. Iromuji is a solid color, with a high-quality fabric paired with them. typically the main cost and value of this kimono is expressed in the quality of the fabric, which is most often a premium silk. They can have mons on them to increase their formality accordingly. These kinds of kimono are favored by students of Japanese Tea Ceremony and are an excellent addition to any kimono wardrobe for when you need a respectfully elegant and understated kimono. Mons may be present on them, and will be in the classic groupings of 1, 3, or 5 when present. The presence of mons raises the formality of this kind of kimono.

Gender Expressed: Feminine

See More Iromuji Examples


Tsukesage Kimono - Semi-Formal Japanese Kimono

Tsukesage kimono are semi-formal kimono attire and typically feature a scattered design around the kimono that is not an overall pattern. The Tsukesage pattern does not join up across the seams of the kimono.  Typically nagoya obi are worn with these kinds of kimono. There are kimono that are blended version of Tsukesage and Houmongi styles that are a semi-formal style that is between the two kinds of kimono. Juban are worn under this kimono, as with almost all kimono except yukata.

Gender Expressed: Feminine

See More Tsukesage Examples


Houmongi Kimono - Semi-Formal to Formal Kimono

Houmongi kimono are more formal that Tsukesage kimono. They feature a design that crosses over the seams. These kimono are semi-formal to formal depending on how they are accessories and to the kinds of places they are worn to. This kind of kimono is acceptable for a person to wear as an attendee to a wedding, to a formal dinner, and other important social functions as a guest. Typically nagoya obi and fukuro obi are worn with these kinds of kimono.

Gender Expressed: Feminine 

See More Houmongi Examples

Kinds Of Formal Japanese Kimono 

iro tomesode

Iro-Tomesode - Formal Japanese Kimono

Iro-Tomesode are formal kimono typically worn by married women. The iro part means color. These kinds of kimono commonly have mons on them, which can raise the formality of the Iro-Tomesode. IroTomesode are very formal, and are just one small step under the Kuro-Tomesode in terms of kimono formality for women. These kinds of kimono are ideal for formal weddings, political dinners, and highly formal functions.

Gender Expressed: Feminine, Married 

See More Iro-Tomesode Examples


Kuro-Tomesode - Formal Japanese Kimono

Kuro-Tomesode are a highly formal kimono worn typically by married women. The kuro part of the name means black. These are extremely formal kimono for a married woman and would be suitable to wear to the wedding of your children. These kinds of kimono commonly have mons on them, and the more mons mean the more formal. Think of Kuro-Tomesode as the black tux of the women's kimono world. Fukuro obi are worn with these kinds of kimono.

Gender Expressed: Feminine, Married 

See More Kuro-Tomesode Examples


Furisode - Formal Japanese Kimono

Furisode are the formal kimono worn by younger unmarried ladies. This kind of kimono is known for its long swinging sleeves and bright playful designs that are intended to attract attention to the young lady wearing it. These kinds of kimono have their own formal ranks within themselves. For example, a KoFurisode which can be worn with hakama is ideal for wearing to your school graduation ceremony. A HonFurisode is the single most formal kimono and would be ideal for wearing to the likes of highly important social functions. The number of mons on the kimono will also increase the formality and appear in groupings of 1, 3, and 5.

Gender Expressed: Feminine, Unmarried 

See More Furisode Examples

Special Japanese Kimono 

There are many kinds of Japanese kimono not typically worn in daily function, or most social settings. The list below is a review of various special kinds of kimono. These kinds of kimono should not be typically worn outside of their function. For example, in the case of mofuku style kimono, it has been made respectfully well known that such attire is reserved for mourning. Kimono for odori are very bright, and flashy, due to being associated with stage performances and thus needing to be visible even at a distance at the likes of festivals and public performances.

odori kimono

Odori Kimono

Odori kimono are the kimono produced for performers and dancers. They tend to be bold bright colors, and commonly are made of synthetic material and there are duplicates. An Odori Katamigawari is an odori kimono with a split in half design. These kinds of kimono are worn by dance groups, and their designs are bold so that audience viewers may see the kimono design even at a distance. These kinds of kimono are often paired with equally bright and bold obi.

Gender Expressed: Feminine & Masculine

Bridal Japanese Kimono

Kakeshita Kimono

A Kakeshita Kimono is bridal attire, and features a padded hem. This kind of kimono is not to be confused for an Uchikake. These kinds of kimono also feature the long sleeves in the style of the furisode. Some cosplayers will use these kinds of kimono for Maiko cosplay. The lining for these kinds of Japanese kimono is a solid red.

Gender Expressed: Feminine

Geisha Hikizuri Kimono

Hikizuri / Susihiki Kimono

These are the type of Japanese kimono most commonly worn by Geisha and Maiko. These kinds of kimono are also worn by various performers. These kinds of kimono are intended to trail on the ground and have a padded hem.  The padded hem helps give the dragging kimono structure and elegance. Unlike the Kakeshita kimono the lining of these kimono is decorative. These kinds of kimono are highly sought among collectors.

Gender Expressed: Feminine


Mofuku Kimono

These kinds of Japanese kimono are solid black, and usually have mons. These kimono are strictly intended to be worn as mourning attire while attending a funeral. It is considered by many disrespectful to wear such kimono outside of it's original funeral role. Some people will buy these kimono and add colorful designs to these kimono to make them acceptable to wear in other social situations. Due to the formal nature of mourning and funerals, these are most often paired with 5 mons.

Gender Expressed: Feminine

Uchikake Kimono

These large and bold Japanese kimono are worn as bridal attire, the very top most visible layer. They feature a padded hem typically in red, and are normally a heavy brocade or richly embroidered. A common theme for them is cranes.

Gender Expressed: Feminine

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