If you hear the word “kimono” you will probably already have some associations and pictures in your head. Of course, we are talking about the traditional garments worn in Japan, often associated with geisha, tea culture, period dramas etc. What you may not have known is that there is not one standard kimono, but that the word “kimono” literally translates to “a thing to wear” and is only the umbrella term for manifold versions of traditional Japanese clothing. Remarkable is that the kimono as we know it today developed it’s form already back in the Heian period (794-1192) and, for the most part, hasn’t changed ever since. One special type of kimono we want to introduce you to is the uchikake.
Uchikake is a festive garment usually worn at weddings (by the bride) or on stage only. It one of the most extravagant and beautiful kimono and used to be worn exclusively by the wives of samurai families or families at court. Uchikake are usually made out of silk brocade with symbols of luck like cranes woven in with silver and golden strings.
The uchikake resembles an overcoat worn over other garments. It has extensive, long sleeves that will almost touch the ground when extending the arms. Often it is worn in a bright red colour, but black, white and other colours are popular as well. In comparison to other Japanese wedding garments, the uchikake is not worn with a bridal headpiece but with extensive hair decoration and –jewellery.
You might wonder why we’ve picked this special type of traditional clothing out and have not just introduced you to the “standard version” of the kimono. The answer is that at the 8th. International Festival Miyazaki, you will have a rare chance to get a photo shooting with a professional hair and make-up artist and a kimono specialist from Irodori dressing you up in antique uchikake from the Taisho and Meiji period. Even if you are booking a traditional photo shooting in Japan, you will usually get dressed as a maiko, geisha or oiran, but rarely as an authentic Japanese bride would get dressed on her wedding. It is a wonderful experience with Cinderella-vibes guaranteed, and the pictures you take home are amazing! The best thing is that especially for the festival, the whole package for the shooting only costs 4000¥!! It is an experience I would not want to miss and can recommend with all of my heart.
I hope you’ll have an awesome week and that I will get the chance to talk to some of you directly at the festival:)