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What are the Different Types of Kimono Jacket?

Kimono jackets, with their timeless elegance, come in various styles such as the Haori, Michiyuki, and Happi. Each type serves a different purpose, from formal wear to festival attire, and is rich in cultural significance. Intrigued by the blend of tradition and fashion? Discover how these garments can elevate your wardrobe as we delve deeper into their unique characteristics.
C.S. Lundgren
C.S. Lundgren

The Japanese kimono jacket was designed to be worn over a kimono, both for added insulation and to protect the kimono from the elements. Originally, men wore the kimono jacket as part of a formal hakama ensemble, which includes multiple pieces. Gradually, women began adopting the kimono jacket. In the early 21st century, some types of kimono jackets are still worn by men, some are only worn by women, and some are worn by both. Although original kimono jackets could be expensive and elaborate, lighter, more informal coats are popular as contemporary Japanese robes and loungewear.

The haori is half the length of the kimono, averaging 30 inches (76.2 cm) long, with the most formal haori being the longest and the most formal style, known as the kuro montsuki haori, reserved for funerals or graduations. Like kimonos, they are often elaborately patterned. The haori has kimono-style sleeves and a similar shape, and can be worn one of two ways — open, or closed and fastened together by a type of braided inner belt called a himo, which is either tied or hooked. Himo are expensive, so many men and women own one himo that can be detached and used on multiple haori. In modern Japan, haori are popular as robes and loungewear, and are frequently seen worn over Western-style outfits.

The traditional kimono is still worn in Japan, but is mostly saved for special occasions.
The traditional kimono is still worn in Japan, but is mostly saved for special occasions.

Like the haori, the michiyuki is another short kimono jacket. It has a three-quarter length and a square neck, and is normally worn by women. It usually fastens down the front using press studs and, like the haori, does not use an outer sash. They tend to be made of silk, satin or crape and often lack the elaborate patterns of kimono, though they sometimes may have a subtle Japanese pattern of checks or stripes.

Both men and women wear various types of light cotton kimono jacket during the summer, choosing the style depending on the type of activity. Happi, worn by both genders, are lightweight cotton coats with bright designs; they are worn to outdoor summer festivals. Hanten are similar light cotton jackets worn as livery by tradesmen and often have more subtle patterns. Both frequently have Japanese text characters called kanji printed on them.

Other types of kimono jacket used as outerwear by women include the square-necked ama and the thick douchuugi, which is lined with cotton batting as insulation against the cold. There is also the kimono raincoat, which is water-resistant and used to protect the formal kimono underneath. These are often made of synthetic fabric in contemporary society. Women also wear capes and shawls over their kimono, in a tradition borrowed from Western society.

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Discussion Comments


My mother is Japanese. She told me about a kimono jacket that Japanese women used to use when they need to travel with their baby or small child. It's called neneko and it's very large. It's worn over with the child attached to the mother in the back. I found this kind of interesting. Many people couldn't leave their child at home but had to run errands. So I guess the kimono jacket protected the child from bad weather while the mother could run errands or shop for dinner.


@discographer-- Yes, some kimono jackets are like coats in the traditional sense. They protect from cold weather, rain, snow, etc. But keep in mind that there are many different types of kimono jackets. The article described the different types. There is even a kimono jacket for the summertime, made of thin material with lots of ventilation. Some kimono jackets are worn indoors. So what type of kimono jacket is used is based on these various factors like gender, occasion and purpose.

All kimonos and kimono jackets are not expensive. It depends on the fabric used and the amount of work required. The ones made of fabrics like cotton are very affordable and this was what most people used in their day to day life in the past. Most people don't wear kimonos daily any longer but the kimono jacket, is surprisingly, still very common. Cotton and satin are popular affordable options for kimono jackets.


So is the kimono jacket like an outer jacket in the tradition sense, like we would wear a coat when going outside? Is it thick enough to protect from cold weather on its own or was something else also worn on top?

And it seems like whenever I read about kimonos or kimono accessories, they are all very expensive pieces made from silk and hand sewn. But what about middle-class, lower-class people. What did they wear? Not everyone can afford such elaborate ensembles I'm sure.

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    • The traditional kimono is still worn in Japan, but is mostly saved for special occasions.
      By: miya227
      The traditional kimono is still worn in Japan, but is mostly saved for special occasions.