Kimono & Costume

Fashion in the Edo period was extremely important for both women and men. The ladies of Edo had elaborate hair styles adorned with intricate hair combs, and wore exquisite kimonos in silks and brocades. Actors in Noh and Kabuki plays were attired in eye-catching costumes, lending drama to stories of Japanese legends and romance.

Kimono are comprised of many different layers and pieces, and beautifully made from gorgeous fabrics that are woven, dyed, painted, and embroidered. Often kimono are decorated with motifs for each of the four seasons, e.g. cherry blossoms for spring, maple leaves for fall.

For Edo fashion, here some places for kids to visit in Tokyo:

Honkan Japanese Art Museum (Tokyo National Art Museum) -
In the second floor galleries are spectacularly beautiful kimonos and elegant hair ornaments from the Edo period. Kimono are embroidered with flowers of the four seasons, water landscapes dotted with boats, chrysanthemums and clouds on white satin, autumn grasses on dark blue. Noh costumes are splashy with snowflakes or phoenix birds.
Bunka Gakuen Costume Museum (3-22-7 Yoyogi, Shibuya-ku) -
This is a small museum, but the kimono collection is exquisite, displayed so you can see both the front and back. Just a few examples - blue silk with painted white cranes on the bottom border, ceremonial robe of deep purple brocade with a flower pattern, Noh costumes of gauzy turquoise silk woven with gold, blue and white yukata. Our favorite, a girl's kimono in a dark blue and white dyed butterfly design, tied with a bright pink bow.
The museum also displays samples of clothing from all over Asia, including a gorgeous court robe from China.
Closed Sundays, the museum is just a short walk down Koshu-Kaido St. from Shinjuku Station, Exit 6 (Toei Shinjuku and Oedo Lines).
Edo-Tokyo Museum -
The "Beauty of Edo" exhibit has life-size mannequins attired in kabuki costumes. Also, check out different hairstyles with hairpins, combs, and ornaments (hairstyles signified social status - unmarried women, geisha, wives) and examples of lovely kimonos.
Yoshitoku Dolls (1-9-14, Asakusabashi, Taito-ku) -
Stop into this shop (founded in 1711), where kids can get a look at traditional kimono and costume. Dolls are outfitted in gorgeous kimono, wearing spectacular hairstyles with colorful hair ornaments or hats, holding fans and drums. Male figures are outfitted in Noh costumes, samurai armor, and check out the amazing miniature samurai helmets with crested ornaments. The details are exquisite, and prices suitable for collectors.
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