Kimono, if you aren’t already familiar, is a traditional form of clothing originating in Japanese history. A dress of sorts with a front that wraps inward, square sleeves, and a straight, rectangular body. Traditionally, it’s tied close with a sash known as an obi. It also comes with a pair of straw sandals known as zori and white socks; tabi.
There are different forms of kimono for almost every situation one can imagine. From funeral kimonos to wedding kimonos, ceremonial ones, particular styles for the seasons, and even casual ones for daily wear Moreover, there are specific types for men, women, and children as well.
This most elegant wear has always been popular in Japan. But during the past decade or two, through the medium of anime and manga, Kimono have begun gaining traction the world over.
This is largely thanks to how spectacularly and elegantly they’re depicted in Japanese anime.
Cosplayers in particular often choose to play characters who wear kimonos. Thanks to how simple they are, it’s easy to obtain one in the right size and colors for oneself. It also helps that many beloved anime characters frequently wear this attire.
So in light of that, we’ve compiled for you our Top Kimono Picks from the medium of anime that you should definitely try cosplaying with.
#1 Nezuko Kamado
Nezuko Kamado. She is the younger sister of Tanjiro Kamado, the main protagonist of Demon Slayer. As one of the main characters of an anime and manga that have gained global popularity in recent years, it comes as no surprise that Nezuko herself is a very beloved character all over the world.
Best of all, for anyone wanting to cosplay her, she’s a fairly simple character to dress as.
She wears a very basic pink kimono. It has a geometrical floral pattern, better known as the Asanoha Hemp Leaf Pattern. It is held together with a white and red checkered obi, along with basic zori and tabi. Right above these, she wears a black binding on her shins. You may also need to find part of a bamboo shoot to mimic her iconic mouthpiece. But with how recognizable her kimono is despite its simplicity; you can easily get by without it.
The last thing tying together her look is a plain black overcoat she wears over her kimono.
Overall, she’s a very simple character to cosplay, as long as you can find a pink kimono with white lining. The floral pattern can be added to it by hand thanks to how simple it is. It is mostly just straight lines that come together in the shapes of geometric flowers. The black overcoat can be any plain black cloth with armholes cut into it. The only thing remaining are the black bindings she wears on her shins above her zori. These, too, can be made from any plain black cloth and tied to your legs with white rope or tape.
With the right Nezuko cosplay, you’ll surely be the center of attention at any convention you may wish to head to.
#2 Toshizou Hijikata
Toshizou Hijikata is one of the main characters of Hakuoki. He is one of many male anime characters often seen in a kimono. A Hakama style kimono that, in the olden days, was most prominent amongst warriors like samurai. A major identifying factor of the Hakama style kimono is its separate top and bottom.
Hijikata here sports a purple top half along with a lighter gray-blue shade of pants. His footwear is just normal, traditional zori and tabi.
He ties his outfit together with a plain white obi, which also acts as the holder for his two blades.
If you’re a young man with somewhat long hair, Toshizou is one of the easiest characters for you to cosplay as. Alongside his extremely basic kimono, you can tie your hair in a low ponytail. You’ll pretty much have your cosplay ready right there. The only thing that might be difficult to obtain are prop swords to act as his blades.
There’s a number of ways to get around that though. You can buy them online or simply make a sheath with materials at home with cardboard. You can just leave out the blade and make a handle that’s attached to your makeshift sheath…who’s gonna know?
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#3 Sakura Shinguji
Sakura Shinguji is the mascot for pretty much the entire Sakura Wars franchise. The franchise has multiple games, an anime, and even a popular movie.
A somewhat feminine version of the Hakama style Kimono, it’s a bit more complex than both our previous entries.
Much like Nezuko’s, her main color is pink, yet like Toshizou she also has separate top and bottom halves.
The top of her kimono is a light pink shade with darker flower symbols along the bottom of its sleeves.
For the bottom, she has a much darker pink, almost maroon, long-skirt. For her footwear, she wears the traditional tabi, but instead of zori, she has flat black shoes.
To complete her outfit, she ties a purple obi with a teal blue lining going through its middle.
Cosplaying Sakura isn’t the hardest task in the world, but it’s definitely not the easiest either. If you’re a fan of the character or you want to stand out from the crowd of similar cosplayers, she’s certainly an incredible pick. Most of her outfit should be easy to acquire; white socks, black shoes, a red ribbon, a maroon long skirt, and brown gloves.
The only part that may be hard is getting a kimono top with the flower patterns she has. Fortunately, there aren’t many of the symbols on her kimono. So you can always just paint, stitch, or color these onto the cloth yourself.
#4 Tsukihi Araragi
When it comes to the younger sister of the Monogatari series’ protagonist Koyomi, Tsukihi Araragi has appeared in different kimonos, giving a cosplayer more than one look to choose from.
Both of her kimonos are versions of the traditional Yukata, except that their length varies somewhat from the normal one. The style of this one is that she has greatly exaggerated her ohshahori to shorten the kimono without needing to hem it. Making the yukata appear more like a party dress, without needing to tailor it.
Interestingly, yukata are considered the easiest kimono for anyone to wear. A hanhaba obi is most often worn with a yukata kimono.
One is a light grayish-blue kimono decorated with white flowers all over. This is tied together with a pale yellow-beige obi and stops around the middle of Tsukihi’s knees and calves.
The other option is a pink kimono that’s just as simple as the blue one. Tied together with a wide yellow obi, it stops slightly higher than the knees and is decorated with white circles, stars, and what seem to be fish.
The great thing about this cosplay option is that you can pick either one to cosplay the same character based on your own hair. If you’ve got longer hair, you can go for the blue kimono, and if yours is shorter, there’s the pink kimono. This is one of the few characters in anime that gives you multiple outfit options. You can simply choose from based on your own look and preference.
#5 Souma Ritsu
Lastly, one of the fanciest kimonos today is worn by Souma Ritsu, a minor character from the Fruit Basket series.
If you aren’t already familiar, this elegant green kimono is what’s known as a furisode. It is a formal kimono worn by an unmarried woman.
Souma’s kimono is a very pretty one, colored a light forest green. It’s decorated around the bottom of its very wide sleeves and below the knees with beautiful flower imagery and is held together by a bright yellow obi. Typically, a fukuro obi is worn with this kind of formal kimono, as well as an obijime and an obiage. Here we see she has on a pink obiage,and a green obijime.
She wears traditional tabi socks with a pair of zori, which are a formal kind of shoe, not to be confused with the informal geta. Geta are informal shoes, and most often a pronged platform wooden shoe meant for wearing outdoors.
While it may be a little difficult to find a kimono that has the exact flower design of Souma’s, you’re sure to be one of the most elegant looking cosplayers around if you can find anything that’s even close. No doubt this kind of style and formality is ideal for wearing to a cosplay masquerade.
And again, if you’re determined to make your cosplay as accurate as possible, it’s not too hard to just find the flower images separately and stitch them into a plain kimono of the right color.
When it comes to cosplaying with a Japanese kimono, one has a very wide range of options to choose from. And its simplicity makes it quite easy to mimic your favorite characters’ attire. If you’re a new cosplayer in particular, a kimono can make it much easier for you to get into the scene. Without having to work out too many clothing details for the character you want to play, you can focus on buying an authentic kimono and building your cosplay outfit around that.
All in all, kimonos are seen everywhere throughout anime, and they create a wonderful option for cosplay.
So if you’re thinking of getting into cosplay or building a kimono costume, whether for cosplaying or just general use, you should find a wide variety of characters to meet your needs. Lucky for you, ordering real Japanese kimonos online is easier than ever. A top–selling English-speaking store to consider is Ohio Kimono.
This USA-based kimono store prides itself on having a wide variety of authentic kimonos in a variety of styles for traditional wear and cosplaying your favorite characters. Every week, they update their selection of kimonos, and every product has measurements on it for fitting and dressing yourself in traditional attire.
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