When in Kyoto, do what many others do: Rent a kimono or yukata and spend the day strolling the sights in it. As if that weren’t enough, think of the photo opportunities!
Sure, Kyoto is not the only place with kimono rentals; there are kimono rental shops in Tokyo, too, and in many other tourist destinations in Japan as well. But Kyoto is the most popular place to rent a kimono, and there are lots of options. Fortunately, many shops now offer convenient online booking, so you can plan ahead.
But how to choose the shop, and the package? This being Japan, no matter which shop you pick, you’re sure to get excellent service. But there are some things to consider. Which is why we’ve pulled together everything you need do know about renting a kimono in Kyoto, plus our recommendations for the best value rental shops and photo spots.
What to know before renting a kimono
There are a few things to keep in mind when renting a kimono or yukata in Kyoto, or anywhere else in Japan:
- Kimono rental should include a fitting and the necessary items like undergarments, belt, shoes, socks, and more. Hair accessories and hair-styling is often extra.
- During Kyoto’s hot and humid summers, you can rent a yukata (a colorful and lightweight, kimono-like cotton robe) instead.
- Package costs depend on a few things, such as the quality of the kimono (or yukata), the length of the rental period, and the inclusion of any extras like accessories, hair-styling, or photo shoots.
- Leaving your original clothes or belongings at the rental space is a sort of deposit guaranteeing that you’ll return. However, some places do also request an additional deposit against theft or damages (beyond a little reasonable wear and tear).
- Reservations offer not only a guaranteed slot but often discounts too, so we recommend you make one, and avoid being late.
- The first slot of the day (usually 9–10 a.m.) often costs extra, as this is the most popular slot (so you get maximum kimono time). The surcharge can range from ¥200 to ¥1,000, but is always clearly indicated.
Know your geta from your zōri? Familiarize yourself with the lingo, to be sure of what you’re getting.
Some of the different components of a kimono (or yukata) kit:
- Obi: The wide belt or sash worn around a kimono or yukata.
- Haori: Traditional kimono jacket, sort of like a hip- or thigh-length over-kimono.
- Tabi: White socks worn with a kimono, but not usually with a yukata.
- Geta: Raised wooden platform sandals/thongs/flip-flops, usually worn with yukata (and kind of like clogs).
- Zōri: More formal sandals worn with kimono, flatter and traditionally made from laquered wood or rice straw.
- Kanzashi: Decorative hair pin, often with ornamental flowers.
- Bangasa: Traditional rain umbrella, made of sturdy, oiled washi (traditional Japanese paper) and bamboo.
Best value Kyoto kimono rental shops
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.
1. Wakana: For the boutique experienceGion
Wakana, located in the heart of Gion — Kyoto’s largest hanamachi (geisha district) — has a beautiful selection of made-in-Kyoto kimono, including ones made of pure silk. The staff of professional dressers can help you pick out the perfect, coordinated look; only two groups are fitted per hour, so you’re sure to get a personal experience.
A casual kimono plan starts at ¥3,960, which includes the kimono, obi, socks, and geta. There is also a couple’s plan available for ¥6,980 and kid’s kimono rental for ¥3,960. You can choose from a range of optional extras including hairstyling for ¥1,980 or make-up for ¥3,080. Rentals must be returned by 6 p.m. on the same day, or the next day for an extra ¥1,210.
2. Yumeyakata: For the full packageNear Gojō Station
Yumeyakata is one of the more well-known names for kimono rental in Kyoto. They have English and Chinese-speaking staff on hand, so reservations and fittings are easy, especially if you have questions. There are over 500 kimono designs to choose from.
Basic kimono and yukata plans start at ¥4,180, or ¥6,600 with hair-styling included. But there are also some interesting premium packages if you want to take it up a notch. For example, they offer furisode — the kimono with the long, dramatic sleeves worn on Coming of Age Day. This costs ¥16,500 with hair-styling included.
There is also an option to add on a two- or three-hour professional photo shoot at one of three iconic Kyoto locations: Higashiyama, Arashiyama, or the grounds of the temple Bishamon-dō. These packages start at ¥28,600 for up to four people.
You can return your kimono by 5:30 p.m. on the day of your rental, or by 5 p.m. the following day for ¥1,100 extra.
3. Wargo: For no extra feesMultiple locations
One of the largest kimono rental options in Japan, Wargo has seven stores just in Kyoto and a selection of around 4,000 kimono (plus 3,000 yukata) from which to choose. As well as affordable basic packages, which start from just ¥3,300, they have premium options, children’s options, and couples’ packages (from ¥5,760). Importantly, all sets include simple hairstyling and a hair accessory (for women), which is pretty unusual.
Walk-ins accepted. Return your kimono up to 30-minutes before the stop’s closing time (exact closing time varies between shops). Alternatively, you can extend your rental period until the following day for an additional ¥1,000.
4. Yume Kyoto: For easy returnsGion
Yume Kyoto is a small, personable shop with a great location: next to Yasaka Shrine in Gion. Plans run between ¥3,300 and ¥5,500; with the cheapest plan, you leave the kimono selection up to the staff — which might be the best way to go anyway! Staff speak fluent English, Chinese, and Taiwanese. Hair-styling from a professional stylist costs an extra ¥1,650.
There are no couples’ packages, or kids’ packages, but there is a men’s package for ¥5,500.
For extra convenience, there is an option to return your kimono to the front desk at your hotel (by 10 a.m. the following day) for an extra ¥1,650. This means wherever you end up for the day, you can just return to your accommodation and change — without having to make a trip back to the shop. Otherwise, rentals should be returned to the shop by 6 p.m. on the day (or by 4 p.m. the following day for an extra ¥1,100).
As an extra bonus, the first 20 interested customers can opt for a short photo shoot at nearby Yasaka Shrine for just ¥1,100.
5. Kyōetsu: For the cheapest basic planKawaramachi, Arashiyama
Kyōetsu has a wide variety of kimono plans, with the most basic coming it at just ¥3,190. The plans are priced according to the style of the kimono: the basic plan kimono have simple designs; an upgrade of ¥1,000 gets you more variety to choose from, including trendy ones and antique kimono. Middle and high-school students can get any of the packages for ¥3,190.
Couples’ plans cost ¥8,250, while kimono rentals for kids cost ¥4,290. Hair styling is an additional ¥1,100 for all plans. This shop also offers a BYO package for ¥3,190 and up, if you have your own kimono or yukata.
The rental return time is 5 p.m. for both stores. You can keep the items until 4 p.m. the following day for an additional ¥1,100. Cancelations are free until the day before your reservation, after which you may be charged a cancellation fee. Same-day reservations should be made by phone.
6. Okamoto: For the best selectionMultiple locations
Okamoto has been around since 1830 and claims to be the first to offer kimono rentals for sightseers. They’re a smoothly run operation with English-, Korean- and Chinese-language support.
But the big draw here is the selection: each shop has over 1,000 kimono and yukata to choose from. The most popular package is the mix-and-match “full outfit” one, which gives you access to all of the different kimono styles plus pretty embroidered under kimono (as well as extra long kimono for tall customers) and lots of accessories. That plan costs ¥5,478, but there are cheaper plans, too.
There are men’s package from ¥4,378 and children’s from ¥5,478. Hairstyling is also available, starting at ¥550.
Items must be returned by 5:30 p.m. on the same day, or you can pre-arrange to return them by 5 p.m. the following day for free (but it does require a ¥10,000 deposit).
Where to go for kimono photo shoots in Kyoto
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 side of the city, which covers Gion, and our guide to the west side — that’s the where you’ll find Arashiyama and its famous bamboo grove.
This post was first published in 2015. Last updated in March 2023 by Maria Danuco. Prices and other information subject to change. Hat tip to Tiffany for her contribution on Yumeyakata.