Kanazawa has class—from the glittering gold to the long history of geisha. So strolling through its streets in your own kimono is the perfect way to enjoy it.
From beautiful tea districts to world-famous gardens, Kanazawa is a particularly great place to spend a day dressed in a kimono. Day rentals are surprisingly affordable and you’ll have an impressive choice of patterns and designs to choose from, including antique and contemporary options thanks to the city’s long tradition of geisha and the Kyoto-brands that have opened stores here.
Whether you’re a first-timer or have been kitted out countless times, we have the best shops, the perfect photo spots and a few tips on rental etiquette to get you started.
Tips for renting kimono
- Reservations get you a confirmed slot, discounts and a more relaxed experience. We recommend you make one where possible (especially during busy periods like cherry blossom season).
- Kimono walking plans include being dressed by staff—this can take anywhere between 20 and 60 minutes depending on the plan. Usually everything you will need is included in the price, but check in case you have to bring your own tabi (socks) or purchase them at the shop. Accessories such as hair pins are sometimes extra but can often be rented if you’re not keen to buy them outright.
- Leaving your belongings (not valuables) is great way to be hands-free for your day out, but it also acts as a deposit for your rental. Some places also request cash, so be sure to check ahead and bring enough with you if needed.
- In summer, you may only be able to rent yukata, a lighter summertime kimono. Don’t be disapointed, these are equally as beautiful and much more weather appropriate. Kimono are far too heavy for the humidity and with the seasonal yukata designs so you’ll look far more suited to the summer streets.
From bangasa to zori: Useful kimono terms
Yukata: A casual summer kimono usually made of light fabrics in bright colors.
Geta: Similar to clogs, they are open wooden shoes with a raised platform.
Zori: Traditionally more formal shoes, these look more similar to flat sandals.
Tabi: The white socks worn with a kimono, but not usually a yukata.
Obi: The belt or sash worn around a kimono or yukata.
Kanzashi: A decorative hair pin, often floral.
Haori: A traditional kimono jacket worn open, over a robe.
Bangasa: A traditional umbrella, part of the wagasa family.
Where to snap great kimono photos
Kanazawa is perfect for getting those Kyoto-style shots without having to brave the old-capital crowds. Long home to geisha, the tea districts have picturesque houses and gorgeous cafes. The Samurai district and castle offer even more options—you can find them all in our guide to Kanazawa’s best sights.
If you’ve opted for one of the more contemporary patterns and are looking for a suitable backdrop, then the 21st Century Art Museum has some brilliant installations (some of which you can see for free) to give your photos a more unique twist.
During spring, be sure to check out the best cherry blossom spots and for some year-round natural beauty head to the stunning Kenrokuen Gardens.
If you are looking at renting kimono in Kyoto—we have a guide on the best shops there too.
Best Kanazawa kimono rental options
While there may not be as many options as Kyoto, there are actually quite a few top kimono shops in Kanazawa too. This means you get good deals, a broad selection and stores that are very familiar with helping foreigners. These are the best spots in terms of price plans, international support and service, so see which suits you best!
1. Wargo: The lowest prices
Having just opened their second store in the city, Kyoto-based Wargo claim to have the biggest selection in Kanazawa. Their standard plans feature 8 items including a kanzashi (hair pin), which is a nice touch as they’re usually extra.
Simple plans start from ¥2,980, but you can upgrade to fancier designs for an extra thousand yen. For some more unique options you can try the modern prints of Mamechiyo or opt for an antique kimono instead (these plans cost ¥5,980).
You can reserve slots online and keep your kimono until 5:30 pm that day (or 30 minutes before the store closes). If you would rather keep it for an evening stroll or dinner, you can return it by 12 pm the next day an additional ¥1,000.
Couple’s plans start from ¥5,760 which is very affordable. And you can always upgrade to the high-end, modern or formal kimonos if you’re celebrating a special occasion.
Perks: Wide selection, includes hair pin and hair styling. You also get photos taken for free if they can be used on the store’s social media!
Prices: Starting from ¥2,980 with upgrades to high-end, modern, antique or special occasion.
Top tip: If you’re especially interested in the prominent Mamechiyo kimono, there’s a special offer through Voyagin which adds additional accessories.
2. Kokoyui: Add-on experiences
Going the extra mile, Kokoyui can help you combine your Kanazawa kimono rental with local experiences or provide a professional photographer or interpreter for you. They have over 800 kimono to choose from and are only a few minutes’ walk from Kanazawa Station, which is ideal if you’re on a tight schedule.
A simple kimono plan starts at ¥5,000 and includes all accessories, while a silk kimono with a full-width obi starts at ¥8,000. For a truly local experience, you can select from a range of locally dyed kaga-yuzen kimono, starting from ¥12,000.
In summer, yukata are ¥4,500 from Monday to Thursday and the same price as a kimono from Friday to Sunday and on holidays.
You can add a tea ceremony class in a traditional teahouse or learn the koto (Japanese harp) at one of the town’s long-standing koto shops for ¥2,750 per person. Photoshoots and guides get pricey, but if you’re celebrating something special or just feel fancy it can be a really memorable day!
Please note that Kokoyui don’t take walk-ins.
Perks: Close to the station, a pretty wide selection and lots of additional options to help out your sightseeing/Instagram needs.
Prices: Starting from ¥4,500 with upgrades, it’s a little more expensive but offers locally crafted examples too.
3. Vasara: Real variety
Their prices are in line with Wargo, with multiple stages of upgrade. A standard plan costs ¥2,900, a one-star plan costs ¥4,900, and from there it’s an additional thousand-yen per star.
Yukata plans are the same price but have slightly fewer upgrade levels. Couples can get a deal starting from ¥6,800. Men’s selections are more limited and have a single price point of ¥3,900.
A basic hairstyle is included, but there are options for more complicated stylings and the normal accessories are inlcuded too.
Perks: Lots of price levels so you can upgrade without going too crazy, plus lots of flexibility on which kimono you choose on the day.
Prices: Starting from ¥2,900 with three levels of upgrade available before you reach occasion-wear; there’s something for everyone.
Booking policy: While they do take walk-ins, reservations are always advised.
4. Akari: 90 years of experience
One of the longest running local stores, Akari is close to Omicho Market, making it a great central spot for sightseeing.
Their prices start at a very competitive ¥2,990 for the basic plan which includes a choice of 25 kimono, while standard is an additional ¥1,000 and premium is another ¥1,000 on top. Couples can save a few yen with their plans, which start at ¥7,480.
They offer locally made kimono if you’re after a unique regional style. Akira also offers to arrange a chartered taxi tour, rickshaw tour or photographer if you want to do something extra.
Perks: With a long history of fitting kimono, Akira have the practice perfected and offer a 10% discount for bookings made in advance.
Prices:They have three levels for normal kimono starting from ¥2,990.
Booking policy:While they do accept on-the-day slots (if you call ahead), those with reservations get a 10% discount.