A wide selection of vintage & antique Japanese kimonos
and collectables

wafuku - noun: traditional Japanese clothing


Wafuku's frequently asked questions

  1. What are main differences between women's and men's kimonos?
  2. What's the difference between mon and kamon?
  3. What's a good way to display a kimono?
  4. Does a haori need a sash?
  5. Are my credit/debit card details safe on your site?
  6. How do you clean a kimono?
  7. How do you tie a Nagoya obi with a taiko knot?
  8. What are good ways to display an obi?
  9. What are the different types of women's kimonos?
  10. How do you put on a woman's kimono?


  1. What are main differences between women's and men's kimonos?
    The main differences are that men's kimonos are shorter (though still long), as they are not worn with a big, length-shortening fold at the waist; women's are very long so that they can be shortened by folding the waist over. The sleeves on men's kimonos and haoris are attached to the garment's body all or almost all the way down their depth, whereas women's kimono and haori sleeves are only attached at the top and swing free from the body for most of their depth to allow a deep obi sash to go round the waist without the sleeves getting in the way. Men's obis are narrower than women's obis and worn a lower, so the sleeves don't get in the way, so men's sleeves can be attached to the body for their entire depth. Men's kimonos tend to be very subdued in colour and pattern (apart from stage ones or some yukata kimonos for festivals), whereas women's can be very colourful and decorative.
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  2. What's the difference between mon and kamon?
    A mon is a crest and a kamon is a family crest. One does not need to wear one's family's mon, any mon is acceptable, it is not like coats of arms, where you would only use the one associated with your family. Women do not have to wear their husband's kamon, they can wear their own family's, this wife's kamon is known as onnamon (onna=woman, mon=crest). So one can choose to wear a kamon or just any mon one likes. Nobles, Samurai, many families etc. do, of course, have own kamon. The Japanese royal family mon is kiku (chrysanthemum). Mon on clothing make it formal, instead of casual. A kimono or haori can have one, three or five mon on it; the more mon, the more formal the occasion it may be worn at.
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  3. What's a good way to display a kimono?
    There are special frames for displaying kimonos, called ikou. These are hard to find, very large and very, very expensive. You can display a kimono very nicely by threading a rod through the sleeves (a bamboo pole about 2.5cm diameter) and hanging it on the wall from a simple string loop in the centre. It looks good if you display the back of the kimono with the fronts pulled out and clipped to the outer edge of the sleeve. The rod should be long enough to go from sleeve end to sleeve end. If good at simple DIY, you can make a stand with a square wooden base, a slim post in the centre with a post across the top that threads through the sleeves to hold them out. Decide the height to suit your taste; you can have it tall enough to just keep the kimono off the floor or make it shorter so the hem of the kimono is slightly spread out on the floor. You can see a diagram of one in some of the ornat boy's kimono descriptions on this site. Some of the ornate girl's and boy's kimonos make great display items, as they are very beautiful and smaller than adult women's ones, so require less space, Haori ackets make lovely display items and some are great displayed inside out if they have ornate linings, especially the men's ones.
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  4. Does a haori need a sash?
    The Japanese do not wear haoris with a sash, they are worn on top of kimonos. However, worn with our Western world style clothes they look fabulous unbelted but also look great with a sash or a belt around them. You can see examples in the Kimono Info section of the site where there is a link to a page showing them being modelled with and without belts and sashes.
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  5. Are my credit/debit card details safe on your site?
    I leave all card payments to PayPal. I do not handle the credit or debit card transactions on my website; the shopping cart takes the customer to Paypal and the payments are handled by them, so none of a customers card details come to me because Paypal does not give any sellers the card details. When someone has bought online from my website there are none of their card transaction details on my site at all nor any in the site's database, so, even if my site got hacked into, which is exceedingly unlikely, there are no card details for a hacker to get. Because Paypal donít give me those details, my site can't put them at risk. Paypal is very, very secure when it comes to online payments, so an extremely safe way to pay online by card, however customers in UK can also pay by cheque or Postal Order if they prefer.
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  6. What is your returns policy?
    Most items may be returned in a maximum of 14 days from when the customer receives them. They must be returned unused and in exactly the same condition in which they were received. Returns will be rejected if the item appears to have been used or if it has picked up any smell (e.g. fragrance, smoke etc.) and the customer will have to pay postage to have the package returned. Note that postage of packages to and from the customer cannot be refunded. The price of the goods will be refunded after each returned item has been inspected. A very few items may not be returned. These are usually delicate antiques that may not be frequently handled or require great care. If an item may not be returned, it will say so in the Description section. Currently (January 2014) there is only one item on the site that may not be returned (an antique, embroidered kimno). Many items may say at the very bottom of their page, that they may not be returned but I have changed my return policy since those were added to the website. I am gradualy removing the test stating that I do not accept returns but some item pages may still show it at the bottom. The returns policy stated here replaces that information.
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  7. How do you clean a kimono?
    You have to be very careful when cleaning a silk kimono, just as you would be when cleaning anything made of silk; colours can run and a washing machine can rip off the sleeves. Sponging spots can also leave water marks. Some silk kimonos can be hand washed but you decide that at your own risk. I have ruined just as many silk ones as I have had success with. Synthetic textile kimonos can often be hand washed and have the excess water spun out in the washing machine but a few synthetic ones do have colours that run. Again, you decide at your own risk if you can wash it or if you should get it dry cleaned. The services of a good dry cleaner are advised; tell them it is silk and that it is hand tailored, as most vintage kimonos are. The traditional Japanese way to clean a kimono is called arhairi and is a technique of un-picking all the stitching in the kimono, washing the individual pieces, then re-tailoring it. Not surprisingly, this method is very expensive, so most Japanese people now have them dry cleaned.
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  8. How do you tie an Nagoya obi with a taiko knot?
    You will find excellent instructions here. The obi ita referred to in the first instruction is a board to stiffen the front of the obi sash, worn between the sash front and the kimono.
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  9. What are good ways to display an obi?
    You will find pictures giving examples of obi display here. They also look very good laid down the centre of a bed or along the top of a dining table or sideboard.
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  10. What are the different types of women's kimonos?
    There is a list of different type of women's kimonos here, with pictures to let you see them.
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  11. How do you put on a woman's kimono?
    You will find instructions showing how to put on a yukata kimono and obi here, in the form of video clips. Putting on the kimono ensemble is known as kitsuke. There are links on that page to other instructions too.
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Kimono Information Pages
1 About Kimonos
2 Japanese Womenswear
3 Japanese Menswear
4 Further Kimono Information
5 Wearing and Folding Women's Japanese Garments - Including Video
6 Types of Women's Kimono. Geisha & Maiko
7 Japanese Eras (Periods)
8 Uses for Japanese Kimono Fabrics
9 Shibori and Tsujigahana Patterning Techniques - Including Video
10 Lots of Great Links To How To Wear Kimonos & Tie Obis
11 Types of Obi
12 Types of Kimonos - Picture Reference
13 How to fold an Origami Kimono - Picture Reference
14 Haori Kimono Jackets - Japan's secret treasure

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Main Site Pages
Women's Kimonos & other clothes
Men's Kimonos & other clothes
Children's Kimonos & other clothes
Unisex Japanese Clothes
Obi & Belts
Japanese Hair Accessories
Japanese Textiles
Miscellaneous Japanese items
Bargain Box
Buddhist Items
Shinto Items
Japanese Dolls
Japanese Art
Samurai Items
Texts & Books
Japanese Glossary
Kimono Information Pages
wafuku.co.uk Site A-Z Index

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