A Look Into Japanese Wedding Kimono

Many people are familiar with the Japanese kimono, but did you know there are a variety of different types for different occasions? Even for weddings, there are many different types of kimono that brides can wear. This article explores some of those varieties.

Many people are familiar with the Japanese kimono, but did you know there are a variety of different types for different occasions? Even for weddings, there are many different types of kimono that brides can wear. This article explores some of those varieties.


Bridal Kimono

Known for their intricate patterns and beautiful pigment, bridal kimonos range from casual to formal and come in many different styles. Majority of women opt for a more formal look for their wedding day and choose from three types of kimono - the Shiromuku, Uchikake, and the Furisode. Men will usually wear a kimono called a montsuki

Picture Perfect! — Photo by Professional Photography Nakao
Picture Perfect! — Photo by Professional Photography Nakao


Shiromuku (白無垢)

Made up of the Japanese characters for white (shiro), and pure (muku) this formal wear is completely white. Due to its strong image of purity, the Shiromuku is often worn for traditional weddings that take place in sacred places such as shrines. Shiromuku are said to be white to represent a bride's readiness to take on the "colors" of the groom's family. The Shiromuku is often paired with white accessories, a hat, and a bag. There are two types of hat that can be worn - wataboshi (綿帽子) and tsunokakushi (角隠し). The wataboshi is referred to as a "bridal hood", while the tsunokakushi is a headpiece. The tsunokakushi uses the two Japanese characters for horns (tsuno) and hiding (kakushi), and it can be translated as "hiding horns". This is because it was often believed that women grew horns when jealous. Another accessory, the bag, Hakoseko (筥迫) is also white when paired with the Shiromuku. 

— Photo by Professional Photography Nakao
The Shiromuku Kimono — Photo by Professional Photography Nakao


A Bride and her Groom — Photo by Discovery
A Bride and her Groom — Photo by Discovery


The Tsunokakushi — Photo by Atelier Casha
The Tsunokakushi — Photo by Atelier Casha


Some brides just opt for a white hair piece instead — Photo by ONESTYLE wedding photo
Some brides just opt for a white hair piece instead — Photo by ONESTYLE wedding photo


Waiting ... — Photo by ONESTYLE wedding photo
The pure white kimono. — Photo by ONESTYLE wedding photo     


Uchikake (打掛)

The uchikake is a very formal style of kimono, only worn by brides or for stage performances. Brides will usually wear this for their wedding ceremony and then change clothes for the reception. It is comprised of a wedding coat worn over the top of another kimono. The coat is decorated with symbols of congratulation like cranes, flowers, and pines. The uchikake does not use any obi (belt) and can be worn in many different colors, the most popular being red for good luck.

The Uchikake come in many different colors — Photo by dimension
The Uchikake come in many different colors — Photo by dimension  


Red is a very auspicious color! — Photo by Candy Decorations
Red is a very auspicious color! — Photo by Candy Decorations


Love & Luck — Photo by E-DETA FACTORY
Love & Luck — Photo by E-DETA FACTORY    


The kimono sometimes comes in black —  Photo by kyosenka
The kimono sometimes comes in black — Photo by kyosenka  


A traditional uchikake — Photo by C Photographic
A traditional uchikake — Photo by C Photographic  


by STUDIO KOHTEN smilehunter
Our favorite shot by STUDIO KOHTEN smilehunter  


Hiki Furisode (引き振袖)

The furisode is roughly translated into "swinging sleeves" in reference to the very long sleeves of the kimono. Other recognizable elements of the Hiki furisode are the long train of the kimono, and the use of the obi (belt). The furisode comes in both bridal and non-bridal styles, as well as a variety of different colors. 

The Furisode offers many colors — Photo by OrangestudioNAGOYA
The Hiki Furisode offers many colors — Photo by OrangestudioNAGOYA 


The Hiki-Furisode Kimono — Photo by Luce photo studio
The Hiki Furisode Kimono — Photo by Luce photo studio 


Also referred to as the hikifurisode — Photo by by Leaf wedding
Beautiful autumn hues — Photo by Leaf wedding  


Very colorful and intricate in design — Photo by U-CONCENT
Very colorful and intricate in design — Photo by U-CONCENT 


Full length furisode — Photo by OrangestudioNAGOYA
Full-length hiki furisode — Photo by OrangestudioNAGOYA


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