You’re all dressed up in a beautiful kimono, you’re in touch with the seasons and you are wearing everything correctly. Time to make your kimono debut.

Wait! Do you know how to act while wearing a kimono? If not, read this short guide on what to do and what not to do while wearing a kimono.

Kimono Etiquette 1: Good Posture

When standing, sitting or kneeling you need to keep good posture. But don’t worry, the obi will help you keep your back straight. Remember to make slow movements as to not displace any of the folds in the kimono. Depending on the type of knot in your obi, you also have to be careful with leaning back. The general rule is, don’t lean back! You will crush the knot you put so much effort into.

Kimono Etiquette 2: Watch your sleeves

Kimono sleeves should reach just above the wrist, but never too high. To keep your sleeve from sliding up, don’t raise your arms or make wild movements. This means no holding on onto the handles on the train or bus and no waiving your arms. Phonecalls with your cellphone are also a no, unless you hold your raised arm’s sleeve with your other hand to keep it from sliding down. But watch that the other arm’s sleeve doesn’t move too much! Be sure to take extra care of these things when wearing a long-sleeve Furisode.

As you might have noticed, all of this requires some practice.


Kimono Etiquette 3: Walk slowly

You will notice that when wearing a kimono, it is difficult to make big steps. This is good, because you need to avoid doing this anyway. If you would walk in big strides, your kimono would fly open and reveal your underkimono or even your bare legs. This may seem weird in a modern world where shorts skirts and shorts are an everyday thing. But in Old Japan showing your legs and wrists too much was very scandalous.


Kimono Etiquette 4: Be careful while eating

Kimono are difficult to wash, but easy to get dirty. Be careful while eating and place a napkin over your obi or put it on your collar like in a restaurant.

Be yourself!

Although a certain degree of standard etiquette is required when wearing a kimono, it is also important to be yourself. Nowadays there are many creative kimono with modern patterns and the hairstyles aren’t that stiff anymore. Basically, you can do what you want as long as you know the basics.

Careful with those sleeves!
Careful with those sleeves!

We hope you learned something new about kimonos, and that we inspired you to try one on yourself. The world of kimonos is wonderful and waiting for your creativity.

Ninja ID: KansaiKitsune


Ilse Montald
From popular culture to traditional culture, I’ve immersed myself in both. I love writing about tradition, history and sharing fun discoveries. If I’m not outside watching a festival parade I’m leisurely reading manga in kimono.