How to Walk Like a Pro in a Yukata or Kimono

There’s nothing like wearing a yukata to feel the full force of a summer festival, or a kimono when walking under a canopy of bright red autumn leaves. However, moving around can be a bit tricky when you’re not used to such restricted movement. We have a few top tips on how to walk easy breezy like a kimono-wearing local.

Wearing Yukata or Kimono Takes a Little Bit of Effort

Most Japanese women only wear kimono or yukata for special occasions and festivals, so walking in this slightly restrictive clothing doesn’t come naturally anymore. Although the firm hold of an obi helps improve your posture instantly, the way you walk can not only ruin that advantage but also cause your yukata to gradually loosen and become disheveled. At worst, the obi may even come undone. To keep your yukata looking stylish all day, follow these tips:

How to Walk in Geta

Wearing geta completes the summer yukata look, but these wooden clogs can take some time to get used to for the uninitiated. While they’re easy enough to walk in normally, the yukata prevents you from taking long, more natural strides and creates a clip-clop sound that is not the best way to make an entrance. Also, it can be tempting to tap the front tip of the geta on the ground if it feels like they’re slipping off. Avoid this as it causes damage to the geta as well as makes a jarring sound as you walk by. Instead, to avoid your foot slipping out of the geta, tense your foot a little bit as you walk so that the heel of your foot and the heel of the geta stay close together.

Take Smaller Steps to Showcase the Kimono

Walking for a long time and taking long strides can loosen your yukata as you walk. This makes the yukata look sloppy, not to mention increases the risk of things falling apart. So it’s important to walk in a way that doesn’t mess it up.

No doubt you’ve seen women dressed in kimono or yukata almost shuffle as they walk through the streets. There are two reasons for this: by taking smaller steps you avoid stretching the fabric (which could stretch it out of shape and make the yukata become disheveled), and you also keep the straight structure of the kimono, making it look more attractive. The best way to walk is to step 10 centimeters ahead at a time. Also, be mindful as you walk — the best tip is to walk with your legs close together, taking care to not pull at the edges of the yukata. Angle your feet inwards slightly almost as if you’re walking on a narrow line to keep from stretching the fabric.

It can definitely feel awkward at first, especially if you’re used to taking big strides or walking quickly, but this is the best way to keep your kimono in position without straining at it.

Advice courtesy of Hakubi School of Kimono

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Already have a kimono? Why not have your hair done in traditional nihongami style to complete your look?

Have Your Hair Styled in Traditional Japanese Fashion (Nihongami)

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