How To Dress In Edo

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How to Dress in Edo: A Guide to Traditional Japanese Fashion

If you're planning a trip to Japan, particularly to the city of Edo, it's important to know how to dress appropriately. Edo, which is now Tokyo, was once the center of Japanese culture and fashion during the Edo period, which lasted from 1603 to 1868. The traditional dress of this era is still worn today by many Japanese people for special occasions and events. In this article, we'll explore the basics of Edo fashion and provide tips on how to dress in Edo.

Understanding Edo Fashion

Edo fashion is characterized by its intricate details and bright colors. The traditional dress for both men and women includes a kimono, which is a long, flowing robe with wide sleeves. The quality and design of the kimono can vary depending on the occasion and the wearer's status. For example, a bride may wear a more ornate kimono than a guest at a wedding.

Other important elements of Edo fashion include the obi, which is a wide sash that is tied around the waist, and the geta, which are wooden sandals with a thong that fits between the first two toes. The geta are worn with tabi, which are white socks that have a separation between the big toe and the other toes to allow for the thong of the geta.

Choosing a Kimono

When choosing a kimono, it's important to consider the occasion and your personal style. If you're attending a formal event, such as a wedding or tea ceremony, you'll want to choose a more ornate kimono with intricate details and vibrant colors. For a more casual occasion, a simpler kimono in a muted tone may be more appropriate.

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It's also important to choose a kimono that fits your body type. Kimonos are designed to fit loosely, but they should still fit well around the shoulders and hips. If you're petite or have a smaller frame, look for a kimono with a shorter length and narrower sleeves. If you're taller or have a larger frame, look for a longer kimono with wider sleeves.

Tying the Obi

Tying the obi can be a daunting task, but with a little practice, it can be done quickly and easily. The obi should be tied tightly around the waist to create a flattering silhouette. There are several different ways to tie the obi, but the most common method is the otaiko knot, which creates a bow-like shape on the back of the kimono.

To tie the otaiko knot, first wrap the obi around the waist and tie it in a knot at the back. Then, fold the excess fabric of the obi in half and tuck it under the knot. Finally, tie the ends of the obi in a bow shape and adjust the fabric so that the knot and bow are centered.

Choosing Footwear

The geta are an essential part of Edo fashion, but they can also be uncomfortable if you're not used to wearing them. When choosing geta, look for a pair that fits well and has a strap that can be adjusted to fit your foot securely. The height of the geta can also vary, with some styles being higher than others. If you're not used to wearing geta, start with a lower height and work your way up.

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If you're not comfortable wearing geta, you can also wear zori, which are flat sandals that are more comfortable for extended periods of walking. Zori are a more casual option than geta, but they can still be worn with a traditional kimono for a stylish look.

Accessorizing Your Kimono

Accessories are an important part of Edo fashion and can be used to add a personal touch to your outfit. Traditional accessories include a fan, which can be used to cool off in hot weather or as a prop during a dance or performance, and a purse or bag, which is used to carry personal items.

Other popular accessories include hair ornaments, such as kanzashi, which are decorative hairpins that can be worn with a traditional updo, and jewelry, such as necklaces and earrings. When choosing accessories, consider the colors and patterns of your kimono and choose items that complement your outfit.


Dressing in Edo fashion can be a fun and rewarding experience that allows you to embrace Japanese culture and tradition. By choosing a kimono that fits well, tying the obi correctly, and accessorizing with traditional items, you can create a stylish and authentic look that is perfect for any occasion.


Q: Can I wear Edo fashion for everyday wear?
A: While Edo fashion is traditionally worn for special occasions and events, you can wear a simplified version of the outfit for everyday wear.

Q: How do I care for my kimono?
A: Kimonos should be dry cleaned or hand washed with care. Avoid using bleach or harsh detergents.

Q: How do I walk in geta?
A: To walk in geta, take small steps and keep your weight centered over the wooden platform. It may take some practice to get used to walking in them.

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Q: Can I wear Western accessories with Edo fashion?
A: While it's possible to mix Western and traditional Japanese accessories, it's generally more authentic to stick to traditional items.

Q: Where can I buy a kimono?
A: Kimonos can be found at specialty stores or online retailers that specialize in Japanese fashion. It's important to choose a reputable seller and ensure that the kimono fits well before purchasing.