Memoirs of a Geisha

Hey everyone, hope you had an amazing weekend and Mother’s Day! Sorry it’s been a while since my last post. I’ve been crazy busy with leaving Japan and getting settled back in Canada and school!

Today’s post is a little special as I am wearing a traditional Japanese kimono. During my last weekend in Kyoto I got dressed up in this beautiful attire and walked the streets of Gion and Yasaka Jinja, a Shinto shrine. Gion is one of the most famous Geisha districts in all of Japan. If you are really lucky, you will see the Geisha, also called Geiko, at night going to work dressed elegantly with make up and hair done perfectly! There are so many things about kimonos I can talk about so I will just share with you a portion of what I know!

These gorgeous garments used to be everyday fashion in Japan. However, today they are mainly worn for just special occasions. Children at ages 3, 5, 7 wear kimonos for Shichigosan, on November 15th to celebrate good health and fortune. In Japan the coming-of-age is 20 years old, so girls celebrate Seijin Shiki by wearing the most glamorous kimonos!

At weddings, the bride, Hanayome, will wear an all white kimono while the guests will wear colourful kimonos depending on the season. The mother’s of the couple will wear a black kimono, Kurotomesode, embossed with the family emblem of a flower or plant. Other occasions include Girl’s Day, Hinamatsuri, celebrated on the 3rd of March, New Years and more!

There are thousands of prints of kimonos out there and the materials can be made of silk, rayon, polyester and other synthetics. Depending on the season the colours, designs, layers of the kimono and accessories change. Since it was Spring, I picked this white and light pink colour with a print of the Peony flower; a perfect choice!

Putting on a kimono is very complex, and there are so many layers to it! Of course, I had mine done for me, as putting it on by yourself is nearly impossible. There are many versions of the kimono, depending on how you tie the sash, Obi, in the back. My style is called the Taikomusubi, which is the most classic. Young girls typically wear other designs including Kainokuchi, Ichimonji, Katanagashi, Bunkomusubi. These ones look like a bow in the back. Kimono are worn with special sandals called Zori, and socks, Tabi.

When wearing a kimono, girls usually put their hair up. There are many different hairstyles, one of them being the Shimada, seen on Geisha. I had mine braided into this nice up-do, and I added the flower’s for that extra touch:)

There are 2 lengths of the sleeves for the kimono. Girls that are single will wear long sleeves, Furisode, that are floor length (over 40 inches). Once they are married they will switch to wearing short sleeves (like the one I am wearing). Although I am not married, I wanted to go for the mature classic look for this shoot!
During the summer, it is very hot and humid to wear a kimono in Japan. Instead, most prefer to wear Yukata, which is a more casual version of the kimono, that consists of only 1 layer of cotton. Girls can often be seen wearing colourful Yukata at summer festivals called Omatsuri.

Like I mentioned it would take me forever to explain everything about kimonos so this was just a taste! If you are ever in Japan I would recommend spending a day in kimono. You will feel so beautiful, I know I did:)

Photo Cred. Cecilia Li & Charly Favereau



  1. Cecilia Li brought me here… and I’ve been creeping around :) Love your blog! Keep it up d(^^)b

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