I’ve worn yukata a few times in Japan, but I never feel that confident in it, I wish I could put it on professionally.
At Gion matsuri about half the people are in yukata and they all look stunning, perfectly pressed and coiffed. I decided to get professional help and found the website for Yumeyakata.
They had a special Gion festival offer to have full yukata rental for ¥3500 and better yet you could keep the yukata afterwards. Seeing as an average yukata can cost this much anyway it’s a very good deal!
The shop also offers the option to have an up do for ¥1500 more, so I decided to get that too.
Reserving was easy, I just filled in the online form in English and got confirmation via email right away.
The store is just one subway stop (or 15min walk) from Kyoto JR station, and easy enough to find.
On the first floor I had to take my shoes off to enter and register at the counter. I got given a receipt and ushered up to the second floor. Here there were racks and racks of yukatas to choose from.
I took about 10 minutes choosing as there was so much choice! I wanted one with a type of stripe in it, and not too light. I couldn’t choose between two but one of the many staff members was on hand to give me advice. She also helped pick a contrasting yellow obi for it.
After that I took my selection to the till and paid (¥3500 + ¥1500 + tax) then went up to the next floor.
The third floor was the dressing floor, a smiley lady helped me with my bags, opened my yukata and gave me a slip to change into. Then started dressing me. It took about ten minutes from start to finish, and another lady came to tie the obi.
Onwards to the fourth floor to choose a matching purse or drawstring bag and check in my other bag and clothes.
After that I was directed to the 5th and final floor for hair!
Someone was available and started styling right away. You can choose between 6 styles for medium to long hair. I chose the middle left style as I can’t French braid to save my life.
Then all the way back down to retrieve my husband and choose some sandals from racks and racks of them.
My transformation took 40 minutes which I didn’t think was bad at all, including choosing, paying, getting dressed, transferring my belongings and having my hair styled. The husband thought it was too long though. Lol.
The staff were really friendly, efficient and the service great. I was the only westerner I saw but I didn’t feel uncomfortable and some of the staff spoke a little English, but I got by with my very basic Japanese.
The final result!
At Gion festival and walking around Kyoto.
About 8.30pm I returned to Yumeyakata to get changed into my normal clothes and return the obi, bag, under garments and sandals. A kind lady folded my yukata neatly and presented it to me. The yukata had an original price tag of ¥7500 and I got it for free!
Sorry there aren’t any pictures of inside, but of course people were getting changed and it was private. In any case I had my hands full choosing and getting ready! I had a positive experience renting a yukata in Kyoto and I highly recommend it, especially for a festival!