Here is a detailed post about the Traditional Japanese Winter Clothing. Suppose you are looking for types of female japanese clothing. Then reading this article may help. It also includes traditional japanese clothing names.
Most people have heard of the kimono, and beautiful though they are, you might not know that kimono are not the only traditional Japanese clothing that people are still wearing today. From warm winter hanten jackets to loose-fitting workwear, from martial arts outfits to elaborate festival gear, there are plenty of options to enjoy Japanese fashion. What all these garments have in common is the undeniably Japanese quality of considered beauty and innovative design.
Traditional Japanese Winter Clothing
types of female japanese clothing
If you don’t know your yukata from your happi, then don’t worry, this is a great place to begin. In celebration of traditional Japanese fashion, we’ve put together a crash course on 32 most popular types of traditional Japanese clothing you need to know!
SHOP THE LOOK | Vintage Silk Kimono
The most iconic and easily recognisable of all traditional Japanese wear, the kimono (着物) is still a staple piece for many Japanese people and is growing in international appeal too. Drawing influence from ancient Chinese style clothing, the kimono was worn initially with a hakama, a long skirt type piece that sometimes featured a divider down the middle. Over time, however, tastes changed and it became far more popular for the kimono to be worn without the skirt and instead held together with a sash known as an obi. Typically worn for special occasions, both traditional and contemporary, the kimono has stood the test of time, its flattering and body-hugging silhouette is a timeless representation of Japan’s great appreciation for carefully considered beauty.
SHOP THE LOOK | Camellia Floral Yukata
Simply put, the yukata (浴衣) is the lighter, summery version of the kimono. Made from soft, lightweight fabric like cotton, the garment’s name translates to bathing cloth, for which it was originally created. Worn by men and women the yukata is fastened by a sash (obi) and is very easy to wear. It is most popularly worn while onsen bathing, and this stylish and breezy robe is also the unofficial garb for vibrant summer matsuri events during the sweltering summer months.
SHOP THE LOOK | Hanten Padded Jacket
A hanten (半纏) is a winter coat and was typically worn by regular people during the Edo period. Its history may be far-reaching, however, thanks in large part to its simple, minimalistic design, the jacket is a very flexible piece of clothing that can very seamlessly fit into the modern-day wardrobe. The throw-over style coat-jacket is padded and tailored for a cozy, but flattering fit. If you’re interested in incorporating some Japanese flair into your wardrobe, this is an excellent place to begin, and even better we’ve already penned an entire guide on it in the Japan Objects magazine.
SHOP THE LOOK | Vintage Haori Jacket
A more formal incarnation of the hanten, a haori (羽織) is a medium-length jacket designed to be worn over the kimono. In previous times was only accessible to those of a higher social class, while in the Sengoku period, men would wear sleeveless variations of the haori over their armor like tabard was worn in Europe. Women also flirted with wearing the haori as a statement style piece, a movement spearheaded by geisha in the 1800s.
This haori kimono jacket is hand-dyed using the painstaking shibori technique. This involves tying up parts of the fabric before it is immersed into to create intricate patterns between the dyed sections and raw fabric. Each of the hundreds of tiny dots you see has been hand-tied to create this fascinating pattern. You can check out our vintage haori collection here
SHOP THE LOOK | Indigo Samue
Samue (作務衣) is an incredibly simple outfit originally worn by Japanese Zen Buddhist clergy, still even to this day when they are parking in physical, mindful work known as samu. Activities that fall under the samu umbrella include cooking, cleaning, outdoor labor, and they’re all said to be excellent ways to practice the art of mindfulness. Consisting of a simple pair of pants and a top, they’re typically crafted from linen or cotton and dyed indigo blue, or brown. Its understated simplicity, and carefully considered design is an excellent representation of the practice of Zen Buddhism. To find out more about Samue, check out these 10 Things to Know!
6. Kimono Robes
SHOP THE LOOK | Japanese Kimono Robe
A kimono robe is actually more similar to a yukata, the kimono’s more informal and relaxed counterpart. The history of kimono robes is intertwined with bathing culture and ryokans, or Japanese style inns, with onsen hot springs. Bathing culture in Japan dates back to about 12th century Kamakura period.
Nowadays, the yukata you will see at a ryokan have been simplified so that they can be worn very easily with a simple tie around the waist, just like a bath robe. They don’t require any special underwear, extra ties, or complicated folds.
This is exactly what a kimono robe is, a simple yukata mostly worn at home instead of the ryokan. You can find out more about in 15 Things You Should Know About Japanese Kimono Robes!
SHOP THE LOOK | Diamond Weave Obi
The sash which keeps the kimono together, the obi (帯) is often easily overlooked, but when styled right it’s a standout piece of traditional Japanese wear. As simple or as extravagant as you like, there’s a type of obi for every occasion and every style. The patterns can be chosen to match the material of the kimono, or to provide a sharp contrast. For some outfits, the kimono becomes a mere canvas for the artistry of the obi. Mens’ obi are narrower than women’s, and play a more practical role in keeping the kimono tight. For women the obi’s primary function is to be decorative, while the actual piece of fabric keeping the garment together is hidden underneath.
SHOP THE LOOK | Mint Green Pure Silk Obijime
The obijime (帯締) is a decorative, braided cord that is tied around the obi, and knotted in the front of the kimono. Originally they were thought to have been gifts from a patron or lover, but today you can buy your own! Obijime can be found in most modern kimono ensembles in a huge variety of designs, colours, shapes, and fabrics. However the most popular obijime tend to made of silk.
SHOP THE LOOK | Cherry Blossom Obidome
Often found in paired with obijime, an obidome (帯留) is a small accessory threaded through the obijime, much like a bead or necklace pendant. Obidome can be almost anything: from simple wooden and clay beads to expensive ornamental brooches made from diamonds, pearl, and ivory. Some obidome made in the very early days were remade from decorated metal pieces originally used in Japanese swords. Obidome used to be a somewhat casual addition to kimono, but now many formal kimono incorporate them.
©Japan Objects Store, Obiage
The final item in the obi-trio is the obiage (帯揚). Similar in form to a silk scarf, the obiage is rolled and inserted between the kimono and obi belt, showing a little pop of color. It’s used to hide the strings of obimakura, or obi cushion, so that the kimono looks tidier and more beautiful. Obiage are usually made of silk, polyester, or cotton, and come in an almost limitless number of colors, chosen to complement the other colors of the kimono.
Men’s Satin Tabi, 1930s, Museum of Fine Arts, Boston
A shoe-sock hybrid, the tabi (足袋) is a traditional piece of footwear worn for many different purposes by both men and women. The tabi style is a separation between the big toe and and the others, like a mitten for the foot! The most common way you’ll see tabi worn is in its sock-form with a kimono. The split in the sock makes the garment easy to wear with traditional footwear like geta and zori. The traditional color was white, but these days you can get tabi in all sorts of colors and designs. Check out our collection here!
SHOP THE LOOK | Nagajuban
Hidden under a kimono is where you’ll find a nagajuban (長襦袢), a thin robe worn to keep the rest of the kimono clean. Typically made from cotton or silk, the garment separates the layers of the kimono away from the body. Kimono can be very difficult to clean, especially when made of silk, so the nagajuban is important to keep sweat away from the outer material. The nagajuban is usually only visible at the collar, where you see a thin strip of white.
SHOP THE LOOK | Bingata Indigo Geta
Geta (下駄) wooden clog-like shoes that are elevated from the ground on wooden teeth. You’ll probably be familar with them from any woodblock print, as in the past they were often worn as formalwear. However, these days, people are not so used to walking on this high-rise shoes, so you’ll more often see a version that is a lot lower to the ground. They tend to be a bit more casual than zori, and are usually paired with yukata and other summer outfits. If you are interested in knowing more about the shoe, where it came from, how it’s worn and how to wear it in a contemporary setting, check out our article on Japanese Geta.
SHOP THE LOOK | Setta Sandals
Did you know that all setta are a type of zori, but not all zori are setta? Setta (雪駄) are easier to wear than other traditional footwear being lightweight, softer, and having a flat heel. Unlike zori’s straw or wooden sole, setta sandals feature an additional leather sole, giving it both durability and water resistance. This makes it good for the rainy season and more durable against the humidity of Japanese summers. The heel setta often features a metal clasp, which makes a distinctive sound when you walk. If you want to try out setta for yourself, take a look at our collection!
SHOP THE LOOK | Tancho Kimono
Zori (草履) are the go-to footwear when it comes to formal Japanese fashion for both men and women! They have been made from a variety of different materials over the years. The characters literally mean straw, but these days they are very often made with synthetic materials. The simple flip-flop style design makes them an easy piece to incorporate into your wardrobe. Zori can be both casual or formal, usually decided by the color of the toe strap, or hanao, and are more often than not worn with tabi socks. Women’s zori feature a wedge-like design, whilst men’s zori have a flat profile. Find out more about the differences between Japanese traditional footwear at our article on Japanese Sandals.
Woman with Tenugui, 1908, Museum of Fine Arts, Boston
Tenugui (手拭い) may be humble in design, but definitely not in use and importance. As we covered in great detail at Japan Objects magazine, it’s a handy piece of fabric, always in gorgeous Japanese patterns, with an almost infinite number of uses. Used both around the house and as a gift wrapping, it’s also worn as a headscarf of sorts, beloved by kendo fighters as a handy way to keep their hair out of their face. Check out our tenugui collection to get one of your own!
© Ennichi Shop, Maekake Apron
Maekake (前掛), literally translating to front-worn or front-hang, is a traditional style of Japanese apron, worn on the hips and tied at the front. Traditionally, maekake were worn by craftsmen and staff members of a variety of different stores including sake, rice or miso shops. The indigo-dyed thick cotton canvas is hard wearing, and many used the apron as shoulder padding when carrying heavy loads. These days maekake are still used by many vendors of rice and other produce, as well as worn by staff members in Japanese bars, or izakaya.
© Miyata Orimono, Jinbei
A little similar to a samue in style, jinbei (甚平) are often worn by regular everyday people, and therefore often feature more decorative flourishes than their Zen Buddhist cousin. Made from hardy but natural materials like hemp and cotton, the matching top and pants set, is a summery house outfit worn by men and women, and indeed children. They are most popular with boys, who might wear a jinbei to the same event that would see girls sporting yukata. Although it’s mainly worn at home, jinbei are also considered suitable for running errands, visiting matsuri festivals and relaxing at an onsen resort.
Boy’s Hakama, 19th Century, Museum of Fine Arts, Boston
Inspired by the trousers worn in the Chinese imperial court during the Sui and Tang dynasties, in many ways hakama (袴) was a predecessor to the kimono we know today. Hakama come in two varieties, the undivided andon bakama, which looks a little like a long pleated skirt, and the divided umanori, which translates to horse-riding hakama, and resembles loose-fitting pants. Over time the place of the hakama in Japanese society shifted. Today men are more likely to wear hakama under their kimono on formal and informal occasions, while women typically only wear the garment for graduation ceremonies and when performing traditional Japanese sports like aikido and kendo.
Most often seen in deep blue indigo or brown, if you see someone wearing a delightfully named happi (法被) it typically means one thing: they’re off to a festival. A comfortable, light jacket, with slightly shorter than full-length sleeves, the back of the happi is usually adorned with a crest. These crests were once family crests, as happi was worn by Japanese house servants. Today however they’re used mainly to identify members of the same group at a matsuri (Japanese festival), like a mikoshi (shrine carrying) team member.
© Miyata Orimono, Tanzen
The tanzen (丹前) is another form of kimono, this time worn predominantly by men in the cold winter months. It retains the same general shape as a kimono, but instead of the simple lining of the usual garment, it is thickly padded to ward off the cold. Befitting its winter utility it is made of thick cotton, rather than the more decorative silk, and is generally in darker colors and plainer patterns to appeal to men’s fashion tastes. Most commonly seen in the more northern parts of Japan, such as Tohoku and Hokkaido.
© Kururi, Michiyuki
Michiyuki (道行), whose characters translate literally as ‘travelling’, is a traditional coat, worn over the top of a kimono for both protection and warmth, much like a Western windbreaker. Michiyuki are similar to haori in that they’re worn over the kimono, but the former serves a more practical, protective function. Michiyuki tend to be pretty simple in design, often with no or very modest patterning. One of the trademarks of a michiyuki is its square-shaped neckline, fastened with buttons at the front. In fact, the name michiyuki refers to the shape of the collar of the coat, which is said to have evolved from the traveling kimono, or michiyuki kimono, worn by men on their travels a couple of centuries ago. Unlike haori, michiyuki are always worn closed and strictly an outside garment, never to be worn inside.
23. Tonbi Coat
© LACMA, Tonbi Coat
Inspired by the Victorian-era inverness capes worn by the likes of Sherlock Holmes, tonbi coats (鳶) are overcoats with short attached capes, worn over the top of kimono. Worn by men, the tonbi is sleeveless to fit a kimono outfit, but still retains a somewhat Western feel, often made from wool or cashmere fabric. Tonbi coats had a peak in popularity in the late 19th century into the early 20th century. Whilst a bit harder to come by in recent years, tonbi are the perfect outerwear for a walk around the park in the colder seasons.
Japanese High School Students from the 1930s
Outside of Japan, you will almost certainly have seen it in countless manga and anime series, the gakuran (学ラン) is the sleek, traditional boy’s high school uniform which consists of a long buttoned coat with an upstanding collar, full-length slacks, and typically worn with black dress shoes. Although we consider it part of the Japanese fashion landscape today, this uniform was modeled on the clothes worn by European navy personnel. It’s worth noting that there is a female version of the uniform also modeled on a similar style, known as the sailor fuku a sailor style uniform consisting of a navy blue skirt, white shirt, and colored neckerchief.
One of the more unforgettable pieces of Japanese traditional fashion, fundoshi (褌) are traditonal men’s undergarments. These cotton briefs were the Japanese precursor to the mainstream adoption of western style underpants, which happened following World War II. The fundoshi has several different styles, but the most known one these days is the variation with the loose apron-like front, often seen at Hadaka Matsuri, aka the country’s infamous naked festival held at in February in Okayama.
26. Tobi Pants
Most commonly seen on Japanese workmen, tobi (鳶) are ultra baggy pants, which at first glance look more like a 90s raver fashion throwback than serious heavy duty working man’s wear! The name means kite, as in the bird of prey, which comes from the slang terms for the high-rise construction workers who wear them. The loose fit not only allows for comfort and flexibility, but it is also said that by making them so loose, they act as an early warning system by making low-down objects before they have a chance to reach a workman’s legs. Tobi wearers can continue working without having to look down to figure out whether there are any obstacles in the way.
An accessory loved by sushi chefs across the nation, the hachimaki (鉢巻) is a bandana-like piece of fabric worn around the head. They’re handy for hot days to prevent sweat from dripping in the eyes. These days they’re worn typically for style, during competitions and tournaments, as many are brandished with slogans of encouragement. Their origins aren’t 100% clear, but theories attest that they were initially adopted by samurai to prevent their helmets from cutting their foreheads.
© Pakutaso, Judogi
Judogi (柔道着) are the traditional uniform used for Judo practice and competition, and is the basis for many other modern Japanese martial arts uniforms. Designed around the turn of the 20th century by Jigoro Kano, judogi was derived from the kimono and other Japanese garments, including heavy hemp hanten which were worn by traditional Japanese firefighters. A judogi set consists of a very heavy jacket (uwagi), lighter canvas pants (shitabaki or zubon), and a cotton belt (obi), usually in bleached white cotton. Although there have been a few adjustments over the years, the uniform is still very close to that used 100 years ago.
Karategi (空手着), the uniform for karate, is adapted from judogi. However, the material, smooth cotton or canvas, and cut of the karategi is generally much lighter and looser fitting, maximizing mobility and speed. Karate doesn’t involve the grappling of judo, so the extremely coarse and strong fabric of the judogi is unnecessary. Modern karategi also come in a wider variety of colors.
© Creative Commons, Jujutsugi
Jujutsugi (柔術着) are the training uniform for jujutsu, a Japanese martial art. It uses the same thick, heavy fabric as judogi, but features closer fitting, slimmer sleeves. In jujutsu it’s important to avoid being grabbed by your opponent, so the looseness of judogi would be a drawback.
The aikidogi (合気道着), used for aikido, was created and its present form defined in the 60s by a famous Japanese brand that originally specialized in Judo equipment. There are two main types of aikidogi: one that is almost identical to the classic judogi with jacket and trousers, and another that incorporates traditional hakama over the classic judogi. When wearing hakama, the jacket tends to have shorter sleeves with a longer body, making it easier to tuck into hakama. The lighter karategi jackets are also often used.
© S. Yama, kendoji
Kendogi (剣道着) is the uniform worn when doing kendo, the modern Japanese martial art, that uses bamboo swords as well as protective armor. Much like the sport itself, which is based upon traditional swordsmanship, the uniform is derived from the clothes of samurai. The basic uniform consists of hakama and a jacket, made from thick fabric to cushion the impact of an opponent’s blows. The hakama also supports good posture with its fastening bands under the belly button and its trapezoid-shaped back piece, which is essential in kendo. Much like the Western sport of fencing, kendo athletes also suit up in armour, consisting of a number of pieces to protect the head, shoulders, arms, throat and torso.