Yanaka Ginza is one of the few areas in Tokyo that retains its old-fashioned, retro townscape amidst the large-scale redevelopment that has been taking place in recent years. It is also known as a town of stray cats, with many cats living there. One of the reasons for this is that historically there have been many shrines and temples in the area, and the cats that were kept there have taken up residence in the town.

As you can see from this, Yanaka Ginza is an area with a lot of nature. Nezu Shrine, Yanaka Cemetery, and Ueno Park are all just a short walk away, and they are all filled with lush trees and flowers. The old-fashioned townscape of Yanaka Ginza shopping street and the historic atmosphere of Nezu Shrine with its greenery are well suited to kimonos and yukatas, traditional Japanese clothing.

I also love kimonos, and among Japanese people, it is a popular activity to stroll around tourist spots and historic places wearing kimonos.

Let's take a stroll in a kimono through a town that retains traditional architecture and its own culture. In this article, I will introduce shops in Yanaka Ginza where travelers can easily rent kimonos and yukatas, as well as spots to visit while wearing them.

What is the difference between yukata and kimono?

Kimono is the general term for traditional Japanese ethnic clothing. Although the shape and way of wearing them have changed over time, the shape that is referred to as "kimono" in modern Japan was mostly established around the 17th to 19th centuries.

Unlike Western clothing, which uses many curves, the characteristic of kimono is that the fabric is cut and sewn in straight lines. The uses are finely divided according to the shape and way of wearing, ranging from formal wear to everyday wear.

Yukata, on the other hand, refers to a casual summer kimono. It is excellent for keeping cool and was originally worn as sleepwear or to cool off after a bath. Nowadays, it is worn as an outing dress for special summer events such as festivals and fireworks displays.

Shops in the Yanaka area where you can rent yukatas and kimonos

Itten Kimono So-an

Source: Official website

"Itten Kimono So-an" (so-an) is a shop in Yanaka that rents kimonos and provides kimono dressing services. The interior of the renovated old Japanese house is lined with many kimonos.

The location is excellent, close to Nezu Station on the Chiyoda Line and right next to Nezu Shrine, a historic shrine in the Yanaka area. It is the perfect location for sightseeing in Yanaka Ginza and Tokyo. You can get dressed in a kimono and go sightseeing right away.

The rentals include one-of-a-kind and original kimonos, and there is also a good selection of accessories such as beautiful obi sashes and Japanese-style umbrellas. From my personal experience, I can say that choosing the right accessories is very important for kimono fashion. Consult with the English-speaking staff to decide on a beautiful combination of kimono and accessories.

<Store Information>
- Address: 1-22-3 Nezu, Bunkyo-ku, Tokyo
- Closed: Weekdays (by appointment only on weekdays)
- Phone number: 03-5842-1568
- Business hours: 9:00-15:00 
- Website: https://original-so-an.com/


Source: Official website

The notable style at "Hinagiku" is "Taisho Roman". Taisho Roman refers to a cultural style that was popular in Japan in the early 20th century, combining Japanese tradition with romanticism. A freer style of wearing traditional kimonos with modern elements became popular. The "Taisho" era is also the setting for a very popular anime.

Hinagiku handles many kimonos in this Taisho Roman style. They also have a large selection of dreamy and playful kimonos that will satisfy anime and cosplay fans. Other popular lineups include stylish vintage kimonos. I also often wear vintage kimonos.

There are many colorful kimonos that are popular with the younger generation in Japan as they look great in photos. 

Kimonos that make you look just like popular anime characters are also very popular. If you are sensitive to SNS trends and want a fun kimono experience that is a little different from the orthodox kimono, this is the place for you.

<Store Information>
- Address: Morikawa Building 1F, 5-6-11 Yanaka, Taito-ku, Tokyo
- Closed: Irregularly
- Contact: hinagiku.yanesen@gmail.com
- Business hours: By appointment, irregular
- Website: https://hinagiku.official.ec/about

Botan Kimono Juku

Botan Kimono Juku
Source: Official website

"Botan Kimono Juku" (botan-kimono-juku) is also a well-known kimono rental shop in the Yanaka district. There is a proper way to wear a kimono and it takes some time to put on. However, at Botan Kimono Juku, the kind and friendly female staff will dress you in no time. It is recommended for those who do not want to waste time for sightseeing.

The undergarment called juban that is worn under the kimono, obi sash, kimono socks, etc. are all included at a reasonable price.

Especially with the "Yukata de Outing" course, you can rent a yukata for a day for less than 4,000 yen. How about taking a stroll through the town of Tokyo in a cool yukata in the summer? Taking a walk in a yukata on a summer evening is one of the traditional summer cultures in Japan called "yuusuzumi" (evening cool). Experience a traditional Japanese summer while feeling the atmosphere of the downtown area.

<Store Information>
- Address: Legacy Sendagi 502, 2-32-6 Sendagi, Bunkyo-ku, Tokyo
- Closed: Irregularly 
- Phone number: 090-9002-9812
- Business hours: 10:00-20:00
- Website: http://www.botankimono.net/#shop

Tours that include yukata / kimono rental

Authentic Kimono Culture Experience Dress, Walk, and Capture

Authentic Kimono Culture Experience Dress, Walk, and Capture
Source: Viator

Authentic Kimono Culture Experience Dress, Walk, and Capture is a tour where you can rent a kimono, wear it while sightseeing in Yanaka Ginza, and have your photo taken. Experience the beautiful kimono culture and have your guide take photos of you.

You can freely choose from a variety of colors and patterns of kimonos. Once you have been dressed beautifully by a kimono professional, head out to the retro streets of Yanaka Ginza. There are plenty of photo spots, such as retro street corners, old shrines and temples, and old-fashioned shops.

This tour focuses on photo opportunities, and the guide can also give you advice on posing. The photos are taken with an iPhone 14 Pro. For an additional fee, you can also add a photo shoot by a professional photographer.

It is recommended for those who want to take a special photo that will be a memorable souvenir of their trip. Let's work together with the guide to take a photo that will look great on SNS, while getting advice.

Tour details >>  https://www.viator.com/tours/Tokyo/Photo-Shooting-with-Kimono/d334-363506P1

Places to go when you rent a yukata / kimono

Nezu Shrine

Nezu Shrine
Source: Official website

If you rent a yukata or kimono, be sure to visit Nezu Shrine, a historic shrine in Yanaka. With its abundant nature and traditional Japanese pond, it is the perfect place for a stroll in a kimono.

Nezu Shrine is known for its "Senbon Torii", a series of many torii gates, which create a very photogenic and mysterious sight. In spring, the cherry blossoms and azaleas are beautiful, and from late summer to fall, the autumn leaves are also beautiful, offering a rich variety of Japanese natural scenery.

For example, how about taking a photo with the beautiful kimono and elegant Japanese umbrella against the background of swirling cherry blossoms? Personally, I also recommend the azaleas that bloom in April, as they have an old-fashioned beauty. Regardless of the season, it is full of beautiful traditions, and the kimono or yukata will look great against the scenery, with endless ideas. If you are going to wear a kimono in Yanaka, this is the most important spot to visit first.

- Address: 1-28-9 Nezu, Bunkyo-ku, Tokyo
- Closed: None
- Phone number: 03‐3822-0753
- Business hours: 9:00-17:00
- Website: https://nedujinja.or.jp/

Kayaba Coffee

Kayaba Coffee
Source: Tabelog

Kayaba Coffee is a long-established cafe founded in 1938. The building, which was built in 1915 and renovated from an old Japanese house, is a landmark, and the retro atmosphere and menu are famous and very popular. It has long been loved by locals and tourists from overseas, but in recent years it has also become popular among the younger generation in Japan through social media.

The building is characterized by the use of traditional Japanese architecture, which has become rare in Tokyo. The historic exterior is so attractive that it catches the eye at a glance, making it the perfect place to visit in a kimono. Furthermore, the second floor of the store is unusually covered with tatami mats, which is rare for a cafe. You can experience the uniquely Japanese experience of sitting on tatami mats and drinking coffee while wearing a kimono.

Recommended items include Kayaba Coffee's signature menu item, the egg sandwich, and the visually delightful melon float. Be sure to wear a kimono and experience the classic Japanese cafe culture.

<Store Information>
- Address: 6-1-39 Yanaka, Taito-ku, Tokyo
- Closed: None
- Phone number: 03-3823-3545
- Business hours: Monday to Saturday 8:00-23:00 / Sunday 8:00-18:00
- Website: https://www.instagram.com/kayabacoffee/

Yanaka Ginza is an old-fashioned and retro downtown area. There are many shrines, temples, and charming shops, making it a fun town to walk around. Wearing a kimono will greatly enhance the beauty of the town when you take photos.

Since Yanaka is an old town, there are many narrow, winding streets and small shops, making it difficult to explore the town without knowing it well. In addition to kimono tours, the Yanaka Historical Walking Tour in Tokyo's Old Town has guides who will explain the highlights of the town of Yanaka in detail. Let's use the tour to efficiently discover famous shops and gourmet spots that we wouldn't be able to find on our own.

Tour details >>https://www.magical-trip.com/product/460ceb6f-0099-47a6-a447-2de274da7e9f

Of course, the tour also provides detailed explanations of the history and culture of Yanaka and the downtown areas of Tokyo. Take a peek at a deeper side of Tokyo that you won't see in other tourist spots.