Ryokan Guide: Dress (Yukata)

A yukata set consisting of yukata, yukata coat, socks, and obi belts (folded into pentagons)

Yukata (literally "bathing clothes") are a traditional garment, similar in style to kimono, but lighter, much more casual, and made of cotton. Yukata function both as a bathrobe and loungewear, which can be worn at all times during your stay, including to the bath, to both dinner and breakfast, and to bed as sleepwear. In some onsen resort towns like Kinosaki, Dogo and Kusatsu, it is also common to see guests strolling around town in their yukata and geta (wooden sandals).

Upon checking in, your attendant will show you where to find your yukata set, which consists of a yukata, an obi (belt), a yukata jacket and sometimes socks. Some ryokan may only have one size of yukata available, although more often they offer a selection of sizes either in your room or provided by your attendant. If given a choice of sizes, choose one that rests just at the ankle.

How to dress in Yukata

Step 1: Put on your yukata over your underwear (undershirt and socks are optional). Slip your arms into the sleeves of the yukata and grasp it along its front hem, one side in each hand, at about waist level. Fold the right hand side underneath the left hand side, and hold it in place with your hand.

Step 2: Now fold the left hand over the right hand side and hold it in place with your hand while you get your obi (belt).

Step 1
Step 2

Step 3: Secure everything in place with the obi (belt) by wrapping it around your waist. Begin in the front and wrap it around your back. The obi are usually stored folded into little pentagons, so look for these if you are having trouble finding the obi.

Step 4: Cross the belt around your back and tie it in the front. For men, the belt should rest fairly low on the hips. For women, the belt is tied at the waist.

Step 3
Step 4

Step 5: Adjust the length of the belt ends so that they hang evenly from your right hip. Then adjust the knot so that it lies on your right hip.

Step 5 (men's belt)
Step 5 (women's belt)

Step 6 (Optional): In cooler weather, the outer jacket can be worn over the yukata like a coat. Yukata coats have ties at chest level with which they can be secured, and may have a pocket for carrying small items such as your room key. Alternatively, yukata coat sleeves are designed so that items can be carried inside.

Step 6 (men)
Step 6 (women)

Ryokan Guide

Last updated: March 14, 2010
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