This traditional costume takes to the schools

by Danielle Tate-Stratton

The kimono is the national costume or dress of Japan, and although it literally means ‘something worn’ and was traditionally the day-to-day dress of most people in Japan, these days, especially amongst younger people and in the bigger cities, kimonos are reserved for special occasions such as weddings, Coming Of Age Day, and for kids, shichi-go-san (7-5-3) day. This day for children is a fantastic chance for little ones to dress up in kimono; often made from elaborately patterned, colored silk. Officially, the holiday is for girls aged three and seven, and boys aged three and five, and it celebrates the idea of odd numbers being lucky in Japan—wishing good health and good growth upon children of these specific ages. Traditional aspects of the celebration include dressing up in kimono, visiting shrines, eating chitoseame (thousand-year candy), which is meant to bring good luck, and—to capture the kawaii factor—photography.

There’s nothing to stop foreign families from getting involved, and in fact, what better present to send to doting grandparents back home, or souvenir of your years abroad than a picture of your child in kimono? Even if they are slightly outside of the prescribed ages of 7-5-3 day, or don’t want to wait until the holiday to get dressed up, there is a great way to bring the dramatic and beautiful silken garb to both your children and their school.

Keyshots East West Photography ( offers kids kimono photography—at school! Their unique service is available for children between the ages of two and nine, and the package includes a kimono fitting, hair and make-up session, and professional photography. You can order photos in print packages or online, and there are special rates for families with multiple children. Keyshots also donates a percentage of the sales from the Kimono Photo Day back to your school, making this a great Japanese-themed fundraiser. Alternately, groups of ten or more children may be photographed on the weekends.

If you would like to enquire about their kimono photography services, please contact Kerry Raftis by phone at 090-7236-7178 or email: [email protected].