What are Kimonos and Yukatas? I’m sure you know the short answer, but what is the long one? Let’s start with the history of the Kimono. The work Kimono originally meant clothing. It wasn’t until more recent times that the word took on the meaning for a specific type of clothing. It was between 794 – 1192, known as the Heian period in Japan, that the kimono was first worn. Today in Japan the Kimono is used for formal events. It is held closed by a hakama. The hakama is a type of Trouser first used by the Chinese.
The Yukata came into existence at the same time as the Kimono. The Yukata is made of lighter linen and is therefore only worn in the warmer periods. The Yukata is not worn with a shirt underneath it. It is also held closed differently than a kimono. Where the kimono requires a hakama; the yukata only requires an obi. The Obi is a sash that is worn around the waist. The way a yukata is worn is dependent on whether or not you are alive.
The Yukata is to be wrapped left side over the right side and secured with an obi. It is only wrapped right side over left side when preparing a body for funeral. Keep this in mind if you even have a chance to ware one. The yukata compared to the kimono is a much cheaper option. I have placed links for both below in case you are interested in buying one.