I’ve been dying to post my kimono pictures from my trip to Japan on here and here they are, FINALLY!!
(That’s how excited I am)
Rented the kimono in Kyoto although you can rent one in Osaka too! Kyoto has more scenic and traditional landscapes so I decided to rent there instead!
I rented my kimono at Yumeyakata. I read tons of reviews about kimono rentals and did some research myself, and I decided on Yumeyakata because it was supposedly the cheapest i.e. most value for money. I read that you had to book at least once month in advance to secure your desired slot. I also paid an extra 100 yen per person for the 9.30 am slot (when they opened) because supposedly the prettiest fabrics get snatched up pretty fast and I wanted to have the best picks. The down side of booking early is that the weather forecast isn’t that reliable and what was a cloudy day a month ago turned into a cold, rainy day. The nerd told me there were a couple of girls who came in and changed their reservation to the next day (supposedly sunny af) but then we were already dressed so we just went ahead with it.
The advice to book early I think it only applies for sakura season and for popular kimono rental stores when the whole of Japan is flooded with tourists. I came just in time to catch some late bloomers so it was quite ok.
Honestly, I wouldn’t advise anyone to go for the earliest slot because I felt that there were simply too many fabrics and if it’s your first time wearing a kimono, you won’t really know what you want / what looks good. My strategy was to pick pink fabrics and then slowly eliminate the uglier ones LOL. So I’d pick up two fabrics and be like “ok this one is nicer” then I’d put the other one back in. After a while, you see the fabrics repeat themselves so the rows and rows of fabrics didn’t actually have that much variety in reality. So, if you aren’t that fussy about the colours and patterns, just go for the later slots like 10 or 10.30 will do! Because once you don the kimono, you look pretty fab no matter what – I was having serious kimono envy all day going “omg that looks so pretty I should have gotten that” whenever I see another kimono girl on the street. Not that I don’t love mine, just that EVERY FABRIC LOOKS SO PRETTY! Wish I could wear one every day. (ok no, it’s really hard to breathe and sit and walk in it so ya)
And I am sorry I didn’t get to take any pictures of the place because it was early and I didn’t have my brekkie yet so I wasn’t thinking straight. I had to wake up extra early as well in order to do my makeup beforehand as makeup service is not provided.
It was pretty near from my Airbnb apartment (which despite its proximity to the train station was pretty crappy overall) and we got there on time. By the time we were there, there were already a few Korean girls busy picking things off the shelf. What I liked about the place is that there are staff from different countries and language barrier isn’t much of an issue.
A Taiwanese lady ushered us through registration and a Korean lady helped me choose my belt. Guys and girls have to be separated. The girls prep area had like three or four stories?! One floor for picking fabrics, one for dressing, one for hairstyling. Oh ya before I forget remember to wear nice undies as you have to strip in front of other customers and all the ladies who are there to help dress you LOL. I usually wear safety shorts so only expose the top lah!! They allow safety shorts since it’s a white loose undergarment robe as the first layer! And they kind of tied the belt sash right in the middle of my chest so it feels like it’s being flattened a little? I think it’s to achieve the silhouette but it’s pretty uncomfortable and takes some getting used to definitely.
I actually bought the couple package with 1 studio shot provided in print. I paid extra for the hair, an extra collar, and an extra belt tie and the hair piece (bloody ex, like $12 sgd next time just bring your own ladies!! Then ask your friend/bf help you to stick it in your hair). Total about $175 sgd! Original package price I believe was 6500 yen pre-tax, but I went with more add-ons on the spot. I mean once in a lifetime kind of experience right hahaha.
I was too cheapskate to pay for an E-copy so here you go, my version of photo-ception. Advice to the ladies, contour the crap out of your face because the hairdo makes your face SO BIG in photos. I didn’t go for the half up-do as that one doesn’t look that authentic I feel! Woes of having round face…
I think it took like a little over one hour by the time everything was done. We needed to return the kimono before the shop closed otherwise we’d have to pay extra for overnight rental!
Overall, I’d say Yumeyakata was pretty good! I wouldn’t know if the others are better because I’ve never tried it, duh. But my experience was a pretty smooth one and the ladies seem to know what they were doing.
Our strategy was to maximise the fee and hit as many photo spots as possible – we hit 5! (Not showcasing some as some were really filled with people, and some were poor due to the rain sigh.) We were seriously lucky that day, every time we arrived at the bus stop, the bus would appear barely 5 minutes later. However, it was RAINING THE WHOLE DAY BOOOO. But the photos looked pretty good as the rain was the light drizzle type that was still alright for us to totter around in our impractical slippers all day. Ok seriously though, WHO INVENTED THE WHITE SOCKS. MY SOCKS WERE BLOODY BLACKENED BY RAINWATER AND DIRT AT THE END! The nerd was happily walking around in his deceivingly clean black socks. No fair.
I went to the toilet twice and surprisingly it was pretty easy to just lift all the layers up and go. LOL TMI MUCH. I think my kimono was a little messed up by the end, sorry kimono aunties who meticulously helped me get ready! AND OMG THE TERRIBLE SORENESS OF MY CALVES the next day. This slipper shit really makes your legs tired, let me tell you!
I actually thought it would be cold but surprisingly I felt quite warm! So I didn’t need the outer layer option at all (which I opted for initially as I’m the type that’s very easily cold but they oos in the end) despite the cold rain the entire day.Thank god cause the buses were stuffy af since they don’t use air conditioner at all.
Even though I looked nothing like a Japanese, some tourists would still take photos of me and request for photos with us. Usually only tourists walk around in kimonos, hah.
Ok lah, enough chatter! On to the nice nice photos that the nerd took for me! Here is a display of his much improved photography skills and my noob ass attempting lightroom for the first time ever:
Please don’t ask me where I went as uhm the nerd planned the whole trip this time around because I was honestly just swamped with work. So grateful to him for doing all the planning! Usually I’m in charge of attractions planning and he’s in charge of directions. Thanks for being so awesome *kisses*
Finding spots where you could take photos without getting caught in the rain was a challenge!
I regret not buying that earpick, btw
Many of the people we met those day were kind enough to offer to help us take a group shot! One of them saw us trying to balance our camera on our $1.25 Daiso tripod I guess we looked too pitiful LOL.
Hahahaha I love the nerd’s expression here.
We came mainly for the traditional interior, the food was so-so! Also sitting the traditional way was killing me, cross-legged all the way.
Walking in the Bamboo Forest. It was pretty crowded so we had to wait to take this shot!
The rain was actually pretty heavy but you can’t tell in any of the photos right!
At the golden shrine! It was closing in ten minutes by the time we got there, had to run to enter the place and get our tickets. Only managed to take a few photos before we were chased out.
Ending this post with a photo of us!
(Btw I had like 20 bobby pins in my hair that day and taking them out was a pain in the ass. But the pictures were worth it! Ok bye.)