By Bonson Lam
One of the most memorable experiences for many visitors to Kyoto is having the chance to wear a kimono while sightseeing in the city's beautiful historic districts. Yumeyakata offers many kimono choices and several packages to choose from.
To reserve a time for kimono rental, visit the shop’s website and fill out the reservation information. The page is available in various languages to better accommodate non-Japanese speakers. Visitors choose their preferred date and time, as well as the option to include a special hair style, professional make-up, a studio photo shoot or a photo shoot on location. No money is due at the time of reservation. All payment is made on the day of the appointment. I personally chose the ¥3500 package, and added a hair styling session for an additional ¥1500.
Yumeyakata is very easy to find, situated quite close to Gojo Station in central Kyoto. From Kyoto Station, take the subway one stop to Gojo and use Exit 1. Yumeyakata is a two-minute walk from the station.
Upon arriving at Yumeyakata, I simply show the confirmation email to the staff and then fill out the official registration form. After that, I process to the second floor to choose my kimono.
The second floor has an astounding variety of kimono – over 500 are available to choose from! Visitors not only get to pick out their kimono, they also can select their preferred obi (belt) as well.
In addition to the kimono and obi, there is the option to add either a colorful collar (¥500) or a belt accessory (¥200). My travel companion and I decided to add these to our outfits. As a result, my total cost came to ¥6,156 (tax included).
After selecting our kimono, we proceeded to the third floor dressing area. The numerous staff on hand meant that we were fully dressed within only 15 minutes.
We then proceeded to the 5th floor, where hair stylists work with visitors who have chosen that additional perk. I was able to choose from eight different hairstyles, a handful of which were even good for short hair. The welcoming staff had us looking like professional models in no time. Once our hair was completed, we returned to the first floor to pick up shoes and then our outfit was complete!
Altogether, it took around one hour to both choose and be dressed in the kimono. As our rented outfit wasn’t due back until 7:30pm, we had nearly an entire day of costumed sightseeing ahead of us!
Wearing a kimono around a gorgeous Japanese city like Kyoto is a unique and rewarding experience. With so many visitors asking to take our picture, it was hard not to feel like a model!
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