Wearing a Kimono in Japan for a Traditional Tea Ceremony
I’ve always wanted to try wearing a kimono and was very excited to have the opportunity to wear one in Kyoto. I felt like a real-life princess wearing it! I’m not going to lie, though, I don’t think wearing a kimono on a regular basis is something I would want to do. It wasn’t the most comfortable garment in the world (mainly because the obi was pretty tight around my midsection, I’ll blame that on all the green tea ice cream I ate over the weekend). But gosh, I felt so glamorous!
Wearing a Kimono for a Traditional Tea Ceremony in Kyoto
The reason my husband and I were wearing kimono was for a traditional tea ceremony we attended. (The kimonos were just for the tea ceremony, we didn’t get to keep them.) It was very interesting to learn how to behave at a tea ceremony and to actually have the opportunity to participate in one while wearing a kimono!
We learned various Japanese phrases to say to the person sitting next to us before we drank our tea and then after we drank our tea. We watched the tea preparation (powdered green tea is used) and had the chance to make it ourselves. We also learned that slurping the last sip of tea is a sign to your host that you enjoyed the tea. (I need to work on my slurping!) We also learned the proper way to bow. It was a very neat experience!
I, unfortunately, only have one photo from the ceremony (of some of the utensils used), as I didn’t want to be distracting while our lovely teacher was educating us.
My husband had a good idea to get a photo with our instructor, though, before we left! She was such a nice lady, and so patient as we tried to learn the various phases of the ritual.
Wak Japan (Wakwak-kan)
I had booked our tea ceremony through Wak Japan, and would highly recommend them for a tea ceremony and kimono experience in Kyoto. Again, our instructor was wonderful. And they let us pick out the kimono we would wear and one of the ladies even styled my hair with flowers. Which I REALLY appreciated, because it was previously a sweaty rats nest, as I was out and about in the Kyoto heat and had no hair straightener in Kyoto. (Scary stuff, haha.)
And I would never have been able to tie the obi on my own. Look how complicated that gets! Haha.
The tabi socks were fun to wear too! These are socks that have a split in between your big toe and the rest of your toes, so you can wear your sandals comfortably. (Check out my husband’s, below.)
I’m still debating buying myself a yukata, which is a casual summer kimono usually made out of cotton, before I leave Japan. I have a couple saris from my trip to India in storage (click here to see that post), and am looking forward to having them in a home of my own one day. A kimono (or yukata) would be a wonderful memento too, I think, but we’ll see what I find. 🙂
Has anyone else tried wearing a kimono? Let me know in the comments! And to see the tea ceremony I booked, click here.
Bracelet I am wearing c/o* WesternLeatherCo.
*Click here to read “My Top 10 Favorite Things I Did in Japan.”
*Click here to read “22 Things That Surprised Me About Japan (as an American).”
*Click here to read “How I Spent My Last Weekend in Tokyo: Ichiran Ramen + Shinjuku Gyoen.”
*Click here to read “DMM.Planets Art: Tokyo’s “Crystal Universe”.”
*Click here to read “Exploring Tokyo’s Magnificent Museums.”
*Click here to read “Adventures in Asakusa.”
*Click here to read “Fushimi Inari Shrine Photo Gallery.”
*Click here to read “Nijo Castle + The Gold Pavilion in Kyoto.”
*Click here to see all my posts from Japan.
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*c/o = courtesy of, meaning the company gave me the product to be used on my blog, and I did not pay for it. All opinions are my own, and I am not being compensated for a positive review.
This is such a lovely trip!!! Japan is definitely on my bucket list. (Largely for clothing. I’m short and can’t wait to shop somewhere that considers me “average,” haha!)
I just interviewed a Japanese woman about kimono on my blog, and she personally felt that as long as you know how to behave and wear a kimono properly, that it’s a wonderful way for non-Japanese to experience the culture. It looks like you did this so well and learned a lot! What a great trip!
(Here’s the interview, just in case you’d like to read more of her thoughts! – http://www.flashbacksummer.com/2016/10/interview-with-kimi-kimono-vintage.html )
Haha! That is awesome! The clothing is certainly in favor of petite frames. 🙂 And I will have to check out the interview! Thank you so much for sharing! 🙂
Finally my article about Kimonos it’s up here:
Thank You for letting me share your Experience & Beautiful Photographs.
Please let me know if you want to add or change something~
Thank you so much, jS! I’ll be linking to your article on my blog too! Cheers!
You look adorable in this kimono Lindsey! You look really beautiful in all kinds of outfits from around the globe. I’ve never been to a tea ceremony, but it sounds fun. Obi belts are so beautiful and I am a huge fan of kimono fabric and texture. It’s so neat that you were able to experience this there.
Oh gosh, thank you so much, Joanna! You would enjoy a tea ceremony! I hope you get to attend one! 🙂
Oh wow! So much fun! You look like a doll!!! So amazing and beautiful!
I would love to try a kimono! And I definitely think you should get one of your own.
Thanks again for letting us come on such exciting adventures!
Aw, thank you so much, Mona! I hope you get to try one on one day too! Much love to you too! 🙂
Oh what fun!! Love seeing your hubby in a kimono too! I adore tea so this would definitely be a stop for me if I ever visited Japan. Your kimono and hair look fabulous. The back does look quite complicated. Never would be able to do that myself haha. Glad you both had a great time!
Get the kimono. You’ll be glad to have it as a memento of your wonderful time spent together in Japan <3
Thank you so much, Amanda! And I’m thinking that will be my mission for next weekend…finding an affordable and pretty kimono to bring home. 🙂
That looks like such an interesting thing to do, and the kimono is so beautiful! 🙂
Thank you so much, Laurie! 🙂
That’s so crazy that kimonos aren’t comfortable!! I feel like sitcom plots have been dedicated to the comfort level of kimonos and wanting to wear them daily! You do look glamorous though, regardless of how you feel! Love all of these cultural posts, lady! XO
Haha, maybe kimonos aren’t so bad if it’s winter…and you don’t of curves. I actually have a bit of padding under the sash, to hide my, uh, girlish figure, I guess? So, definitely not comfy, haha. But it sure is pretty! 🙂 And thank you so much, Lauren! I’m so glad you’re enjoying the posts!
What an exciting, exotic adventure. You look great (as does hubby).
I’ve often wanted to try traditional female garb from other cultures (e.g., Indian sari) but have hesitated because I’ve seen white women criticized online for “cultural misappropriation” when they do it. Of course, I’d do it as an homage and experiment, not to “steal” or belittle anyone else’s culture, but I’m not sure intent is always clear. Here, you are in Japan so wearing local fashion is acceptable for many reasons. Do you ever worry about this? Has anyone ever mentioned it to you?
Thank you so much! And that is a wonderful question. And I guess, that is kind of tough to answer. Wearing a kimono in this situation I felt was acceptable (and appropriate). There were many white women wearing kimono in Kyoto, and no one seemed offended by this. (Many of the ladies at the tea house were actually talking about how happy they were that foreigners took an interest in the traditional clothes.)
And I wore saris in India for a wedding…and the locals could not have been happier to see foreigners embracing their culture. I still get messages from strangers from India who see my profile photos (where I’m wearing a sari) and the messages are always how happy they are to see me promoting their culture. I haven’t received one negative comment about this.
It is something I always keep in mind…but at the same time, if you are wearing it in a respectable manner, I don’t believe there is any harm in wearing traditional garments. The key is just to be respectful to the culture. That being said, I would be nervous about wearing these garments in America, unless I was at a specific event that was deemed appropriate to wear them. For Indians (living in India) and Japanese (living in Japan) it does not seem to be an issue (actually the exact opposite of an issue) to see foreigners wearing the garments in a respectable manner…but wearing these garments in America could be another story…I don’t know if I would, personally, wear them out and about just to wear in America. However, this is just my opinion, I have not actually worn either garment in America.
Thank you for the smart response. I agree — the heart of it is respect. Most observers can sense that.