What You Need to Know Before Going Out in a Yukata | Guidable - Your Guide to a Sustainable, Wellbeing-centred Life in Japan

What You Need to Know Before Going Out in a Yukata

By Tomoda Jul 31, 2018

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Summer, the perfect time to wear a yukata.

The yukata is a type of traditional Japanese clothing, more or less a summer version of the kimono, and it’s worn by both men and women. It’s obviously different from normal clothing, and it may seem a little strange at first, but I recommend trying one out.

In order to have a good experience wearing a yukata this summer, let’s take a look at what you need to know about this traditional garment.


Getting Used to Geta

The most troublesome thing about wearing a yukata is not the yukata itself but the shoes, called geta.

Geta are a traditional style of Japanese shoes which have ropes between the big toe and second toe. If you are going to wear geta for the first time, it’s best to practice by wearing them for a few hours the day before you wear the yukata. It’s easy to get tired of wearing geta if you don’t know how to walk with them, but if you hold the rope between your big toe and your second toe you can walk more comfortably.

Size is very important when it comes to geta. Shoes that are too small prevent you from walking naturally, while oversized geta can hurt your feet, so it’s important to be picky.


Light Makeup

When wearing a normal dress, people tend to do their makeup in a bold style: clear eye-lines, dark eye-shadow, deep lipstick colors, and so on. However, when wearing a yukata you should wear relatively light makeup. One reason for this is that the purpose of the yukata is to stay cool in the summer heat, and heavy makeup runs counter to that.


Try Pairing Japanese Accessories With Yukata

When you wear a yukata, it makes you look more natural if you use Japanese items. Instead of a western-style bag, a small Japanese bag is a good match for a yukata. Since the yukata is intended to be worn in the summer heat, it also goes well with items used for cooling off like the sensu, a Japanese-style fan.


Be Chivalrous Toward Women

While it’s popular for men to wear loose yukata, women usually wear them more tightly. This can make movement difficult.

On the train, for example, women wearing yukata may have trouble raising their arms to reach the handholds, so offer your arm to steady them.

When you’re walking together, you should adjust your speed so that your date can keep up without her yukata coming unraveled. There’s no need to hurry in a small country like Japan, so take your time and walk at a leisurely pace when you’re wearing a yukata.


Try To Find Western-Style Restrooms

It’s very weird that Japan still has Japanese-style restrooms, but yes — many train stations have only a few western-style toilets, while the rest tend to be Japanese-style squat-toilets. Naturally, it’s difficult to use a squat toilet when wearing a yukata. You might mess the yukata up. Also, it would be nice if the restroom was clean.

Huge shopping malls tend to have many clean, western-style bathrooms. If you find yourself near a western toilet, it’s best to take advantage of it while you can.


Drink Plenty of Water


If you’re wearing a yukata, it’s probably summer, and it’s probably hot. Don’t forget to stay hydrated! The heat and humidity of the Japanese summer can easily drain your body of the water it needs, and a lack of proper hydration is the most serious source of summer sickness. A good rule is to try to take a drink of water at least once every hour!


Yukata Can Give You Unforgettable Experiences

One of the most memorable things you can do during summer in Japan is wear a yukata. It really adds to the enjoyment of summer events like festivals, fireworks shows, and visits to traditional Japanese areas. The idea of wearing a yukata may be intimidating for some people, but I highly recommend that you make use of the above tips and give it a try this summer.