When in Kyoto, do as many other tourists do – rent a kimono and spend an entire day strolling around in it. It’s probably the only area in Japan where kimono rental shops are a dime a dozen. Of course, Tokyo also has such shops, but Kyoto is more prominently associated with kimono rentals. But the next question is: which shop to choose from, when there are so many options? This being Japan, no matter which you choose, you’re sure to get excellent service, but if price is your consideration, you might want to choose Yumeyakata.
The average price range for a kimono rental in Kyoto is 3,700-4,300 yen, so, at 2,800 yen, Yumeyakata’s is pretty cheap. The regular walk-in price is 5,000 yen so be sure to make a reservation to get the discounted option. Considering how it’s a wise idea to book an appointment beforehand, anyway, – you wouldn’t want to walk in only to leave empty-handed because the shop is fully booked for the day, would you? – you might as well do so.
Another major advantage of Yumeyakata is that it has Chinese and English speaking staff to assist foreign tourists. Not all of the staff doing the dressing can speak English, but at least for the important parts like making the booking and transaction, the language barrier is not a problem. Yumeyakata is quite used to handling tourists.
For 2,800 yen (the price is similar for men, women, and children), the staff dress you in a kimono (no need to worry about not knowing how to wear one) and give you tabi socks (which you can keep), and you get to choose some appropriate footwear (you can choose from geta – clogs – or zori, which are sandals) and pouches to carry your valuables in. There is a couples option for 5,500 yen. You’re supposed to leave the rest of your belongings behind, not only for your own convenience, but also probably as a security deposit.
Yumeyakata also offers some add-ons to make your kimono experience even more worthwhile. You can get your hair fixed by a professional stylist for an additional 1,500 yen (with prior reservation) or 2,160 yen (if, upon arrival at your appointment, you suddenly decide to get your hair done).
When you’re done, you can enjoy an entire day’s worth of a cultural experience. As a courtesy, please make sure to take good care of your kimono! While you won’t be charged for little things that can’t be helped, like a little dirt and a few stains here and there, you wouldn’t want to neglectfully or, worse, intentionally damage something that was lent to you in good faith. Besides, you’ll get charged 5,400 yen for serious damages such as tearing or cigarette burns.
You’re supposed to return the kimono by 7:30 pm, but you can also return them by 5:00 pm the next day for an additional 1,080 yen (although this is waved in the summer promotions). If you can’t return the kimono by the same-day deadline, you have to properly inform the staff. Unfortunately, an extra day is the maximum amount of time you can rent a kimono.
During summer, when it’s too hot to wear a regular kimono, Yumeyakata offers a yukata rental plan for the same price as a Kimono and there are plenty of summer discount perks too. You can select the early slots (9am and 9.30am) without the extra 1,000 yen charge, return your Yukata the next day for free if you book after 1.30pm and try a Hanahabe Furisode for only 5,500 instead of 8,500. If you prefer to buy your yukata, you can get a set for 6,900 which includes a yukata, Obi (belt), and geta (shoes) and you get a Kinchaku (drawstring bag) for free! They will also dress you for your day out free of charge (usually 1,000 yen).
Having tried Yumeyakata twice, I’d say that it has never disappointed me. Its location is accessible, its kimono selection is vast, dressing and changing facilities are spacious, and staff are friendly, prompt in their responses, and easy to talk to. Of course, the affordable price also greatly helps.
Regarding reservations, though, Yumeyakata is quite popular, so to get your desired time slot, set an appointment well in advance. People want to wear their kimono for as long as possible, so mornings get fully booked quite easily. During peak season, – cherry blossom season in April and autumn leaves in October-November – they get a lot of customers, so booking 2 weeks ahead might already be late.
|Pricing info:||2700 yen~|
|Address:||Hosai Building, 353, Shiogama-cho, Nishiiru sakai-machi, Gojo-dori, Shimogyo-ku, Kyoto|
|Access:||Gojo Station (Karasuma Line), Gojo-Karasuma bus stop|
|Business hours:||10:00 am-8:00 pm|