Stories and pictures from my travels around Japan,
including hundreds of temples and a walk of over 500 km (300 miles)
(more about my travels in Japan)


When I decided to move to Japan, my dad was really pleased.

He had been there in 1945 (for less happy reasons) and kept telling me stuff like, "You'll see the old ladies in their kimonos, sweeping their porches with big brooms."

Sure, Dad, I thought. That was over 50 years ago.

Well, I didn't actually see old ladies sweeping porches in kimonos. But I did see kimonos. And big brooms.

I saw lots of traditional clothing. Kimonos I only saw for formal occasions (weddings) or on restaurant workers.

But other types of traditional clothes were not uncommon--jinbei, a sort of "shorty pajama"; and samue, the work-wear worn by monks (and kitchen hands, and anyone who wants to be comfortable--I walked from Tokyo to Kyoto and around Shikoku in samue).

My favorite, though, for men and women, is the yukata. Often mistaken for kimono, they're actually much simpler, barely a flimsy bathrobe. With the right accessories, though--an obi (belt), geta (sandals), a bag and hair ornaments for the ladies--they can be quite stylish. I've seen them on people going to picnics and fireworks displays, or even just shopping.

Here are some some girls in yukata, on a train in Tokyo. Nothing special, just casual wear Japanese style.

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