It’s probably the only area in Japan where kimono rental shops are a dime a dozen. Of course, Tokyo also has kimono rental shops, but Kyoto is more prominently associated with them. The big question is: which shop do you choose, when there are so many options? This being Japan, no matter which you pick, you’re sure to get excellent service, but if price is a consideration, you might want to go for one of the stores below.
1. What to know before renting a kimono
The price is mainly based around your accessories, outfit selection and length of rental—so once you know your priorities, you can find the best option. There are a few things to keep in mind when renting a kimono or yukata in Kyoto or anywhere else in Japan:
1. Kimono rental almost always comes with a fitting included in the price, and includes the necessary items like undergarments, belt, shoes, socks and more. Items like hair accessories or hair styling often require additional cash.
2. Leaving your original clothes or belongings is a sort of deposit guaranteeing that you’ll return, but some places do also request a cash deposit which can be used if you don’t return, or if your kimono is damaged (beyond a little reasonable wear and tear).
3. Reservations offer not only a guaranteed slot but often discounts too, so we recommend you make one, and avoid being late.
4. 9am-10am slots often come with an additional fee, as they are the most popular (so you get maximum kimono time). These prices can range from ¥200 to ¥1,000, but are always clearly indicated online.
2. Handy 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.
3. Where to go for your kimono shots
If you choose one of the walking plans from the shops below, you will want to make the most of your time and hit up all the best spots. To start with, here are the top places to visit in the city, including the famous Kiyomizudera Temple and Fushimi Inari Taisha. If you have a couple of days then be sure to check out our guide to the East of the city as well as our guide to the West – that’s the side with the Arashiyama bamboo forest.
4. Top otions for rental in Kyoto
Here are our recommendations for kimono rental stores that offer some serious bang for your buck. Looking to spot some genuine Geisha? Read up on our best tips to see them IRL.
One of the more well-known names for kimono rental in Kyoto, Yumeyakata is a place where booking in advance can save you some decent yen. They have English and Chinese-speaking staff on hand, so reservations and fittings are easy, especially if you have questions. There are seasonal discounts as well as plans for specific events in Kyoto—for example, you can extend your rental time for no extra charge if you’re attending a festival or fireworks event in the city.
Both kimono and yukata plans start from ¥3,024 if reserved in advance, with hair styling at an additional ¥1,500. Couple plans cost ¥5,500 with the discounts, and if you decide to buy a yukata, you can be dressed for free. Bookings can be made online or over the phone—they have an overseas phone number if you are planning ahead.
The rental plans include a full outfit, dressing, zori and kanzashi, and have a later return time than most—7.30pm. Extras are a little more than elsewhere though, e.g. hairstyles are ¥1,500 without accessories (although some are available to buy). You can return your kimono before 5pm the next day for ¥1,080 extra and it is possible to store your luggage at the shop for the day.
Location: They have a single shop close to Gojo Station.
A small, personal affair, Yume Kyoto have a few different price plans, great locations and staff fluent in English and Chinese. You can get the simplest plan for ¥3,850 which allows you to choose from over 300 kimono.
For an additional ¥1,000 you can return the outfit to a different store, but it must be returned by 5pm wherever you do so.
Location: They have a selection of stores to choose from—Gion, Kodaiji, Kiyomizudera, Arashiyama and Togetsukyo Bridge.
A traditional company that has been in the kimono business for over 120 years, Saganokan is definitely a safe pair of hands when it comes to selection and dressings. While the website is only available in Japanese, you can use Google Translate or ask your hotel/hostel staff for help. For a basic walking plan including the outfit and expert dressing, it’s just under ¥4,000, with upgrades for fancier outfits, accessories and hairstyles.
Location: The main store is a few minutes’ walk from Karasuma Station on Shijodori.
With over a thousand kimono and yukata to choose from, Akahime are a great option with prices starting from as little as ¥1,900 for a couple of hours outside, and going up to ¥3,000 and ¥3,400 for a full day of yukata and kimono wearing respectively. For something special, their hakama or Edo-style kimono are ¥5,800 for a full day. Their plans include dressing and accessories like the kinchaku, zori and tabi if required.
If you are planning to start your day in central Kyoto and end it in Arashiyama, you can return your items to a different store or even a hotel and pick your belongings up from there too, for an additional fee. If you would like to keep your rental overnight, then it will cost an additional ¥1,000. Plenty of extras are available, from simple to full hair styling (¥500–¥900 and items like bangasa (¥500). You can make reservations on the phone or online, including on the same day.
Location: Akahime have four locations in Kyoto: in Arashiyama and in central Kyoto, with their main store at Kiyomizu Gojo (close to Kiyomizudera).
Kyoto Kimono Wargo
One of the largest kimono rental options in Japan, Wargo have seven stores in the Kyoto area and a selection of around 4,000 kimono and 3,000 yukata to choose from. As well as affordable basic packages starting from ¥2,980 (online price, walk-ins are a few hundred yen extra), they have premium options and a designer kimono range by Mamechiyo which features contemporary designs you won’t see anywhere else.
The sets all include a hair decoration, simple hairstyle and kanzashi too, which is pretty unusual. If you don’t mind appearing on their social media, you can have some photos taken—which is a nice bonus. You can choose to return your items the following day or to a different store for an additional ¥1,000. Extras include full hair styling (¥900), as well as a parasol (¥500) or maiko umbrella (¥1,000). Reservations can be made over the phone or online and they offer discounts on all plans, as well as an additional ¥1,000 off for petit-store plans for students.
Location: There are six strategically placed stores in central Kyoto and two in Arashiyama. They have regular stores at Kyoto Tower, Gion Shijo, close to Kiyomizudera and near Togetsukyo Bridge and Arashiyama Station. Their petit stores can be found near Kyoto Station and Gion Shijo.
Another company with multiple stores, Kyoetsu has some of the best prices around if you’re able to reserve online at least a day in advance. Both kimono and yukata day plans cost ¥2,000 in advance or ¥3,000 on the day and allow you to choose your own outfit, including all the necessary pieces. If you don’t have time to go strolling, they have an in-store plan which allows you to be dressed and take as many photos as you like for ¥1,000.
Hair styling is an additional ¥1,000 for all plans, and items like bangasa are available to rent for ¥500. The rental return times differ depending on the store you use; the Kyoto Station one is the latest (8pm) and the others are either 6pm or 7pm. You can keep the items until 5pm the following day for an additional ¥1,000. If you cancel a reservation, be sure to do so a day or more in advance, as they have a ¥2,500 charge if you cancel too late. Couples can share a ¥500 discount, while groups can save ¥500 each on the advance price.
Location: They have five stores in central Kyoto: Gion, Kyoto Station, Kawaramachi, Shinyogoku, and Gionshinbashi, as well as one in Arashiyama.
Founded in 1830 and claiming to be the first store to offer sightseeing in a kimono, Okamoto‘s long-running traditions mean they have a great selection of unique fabrics and ornaments. With over 30,000 kimono and yukata to choose from, and a range of price plans to suit everyone, they’re a well-oiled machine and have English, Korean and Chinese support.
Six stores across Kyoto and some free perks—we’re talking free next-day return—make them a solid choice. The kimono plans start from ¥2,980 for a simple set chosen from 30 options, increasing by one or two thousand yen for wider choices and additional pieces like undershirts. They offer men’s sets from ¥3,980 and children’s from ¥4,980. Yukata rental is available from ¥3,980 and hairstyling is ¥500, plus it includes free ornament rental.
Items must be returned by 6.30pm on the same day, or you can pre-arrange to return them by 5pm the following day for free (but it does require a ¥10,000 deposit). The shop will also store not only your everyday clothes, but your large luggage all day for free—which very few places do (it usually costs around ¥500). Kimono reservations can be made online or over the phone at the store you would like to visit.
Location: Okamoto Kimono have six stores in Kyoto: the main Kiyomizudera store, an additional Kiyomizudera store, Yasakanotomae, Gion, Yasaka Jinja and Higashiyama.
This post was first published in 2015. Last updated in October, 2019. Prices and other information subject to change. Hat tip to Tiffany for her contribution on Yumeyakata.