Yukata are HOT this year!
Yukata means summer!  And Tokyo summers are HOT!

The long stencil patterned cotton robes for summer have made a come back this summer and everyone was wearing them at Tokyo’s Azabu Juban Matsuri on the last weekend of August.  Thousands of people came for the two day summer festival and many were wearing Yukata in big, bold and surprising combinations.

And they weren’t just the cheap multi colored yukata that were popular a few years ago.  This year there were bold designs, brilliant colors, and fine quality weaves and dyes.  And above all, they were worn with pizazz, and Japanache !   A fan tucked in here or there, a chic obi tie, good looking geta on the feet.  Everyone was young !  The thinking was young.  (I was by FAR the oldest celebrant, though not in Yukata myself).  Everyone seemed at home in their “native dress”, as though they had come back home from long years of experimenting with western fashions.   Yukata came naturally to them and the taste was surprising and excellent.

As is the tradition in kimono and yukata, there is a sometimes subtle, sometimes not so subtle sense of fashion, of knowing what is good, how to put different parts together, of tapping into what is cool.  Look at me, the yukata said. What good taste I have! about the parade of people celebrating Juban Matsuri.  Juban means number 10 district in Azabu Ward, and this year they added a G to their banners and it became JUBANG. And rightly so !  It was a loud and exciting two days of music and fun.




There was a real bang in the crowd, people came to have a good time, eat well – food was more gourmet than the usual festival fare of tako yaki (grilled octopus) and yaki soba.  Apparently the restaurants in the neighborhood were providing the food.  I couldn’t stop taking pictures, though when I got back to the shop, the building’s security fellow scolded me for not asking permission when I took photos.  But that would have spoiled the spontaneity, I thought to myself as I tried to explain myself.  Many shots are from the back anyway, and I hereby apologize to those whose photos I snuck. Some gladly posed.

There are many ways of dressing for the festival. This woman was proud to pose with her dapper showpiece dog and gladly gave me permission to take their photo

I did not ask this woman, but modesty didn’t seem to be her stye!

Tatoos are all over the place this year.

Not everyone wore Yukata. There were other forms of chic as well, enjoying yourself, and other ways of getting attention!

But Yukata style clearly was the popular mode for the festival


IKI, Japanese word for simple sophistication, cool front and back, was in.


People by the thousands came to Jubang Matsuri to have a good time and relax in/show off their summer yukata.  It was a style show in good taste and enjoying life.  And reassuring to see that the Yukata is still with it and cool and a return to Japanese roots. Tadaima! I’m home, these fashions seemed to be saying, echoing the “MADE IN JAPAN” signs that are popping up on products in shops these days. There is a new pride in things Japanese, along with a realization – finally! – of the excellence of Japanese designs and craftsmanship.

People by the thousands came to Jubang Matsuri to have a good time and relax in/ show off their summer yukata.  It was a style show in good taste and enjoying life.  And reassuring to see that the Yukata is still with it and cool and ULTIMATE JAPAN.


AZABU JUBANG MATSURI was the place to be.
And Yukata was the way to dress!

Little customers posed in their recently bought jinbei from. The Matsuri spirit was shared by all and as happens at festivals, you chatted with the person next to you, complimented him on what he is wearing, asked where he got what he is eating. Instant friendship were formed. Drinks were  free flowing, but Yukata chic was what  gave the Matsuri its spark.

At the top of the escalator, the Blue & White landing gave a great view on the festivities below.  People came to have a look at the Matsuri below and at the peaceful shop filled with yukata derivatives and accessories.

They also came to check in and catch up.
Yukata naturals.  The woman on the right and left below are mother and daughter, 7th and 8th generations of Todaya Shoten, our oldest and most trusted dyer. Perfect models for living Yukata! Yakata in real life!

Inside Blue & White there was still more fashion.  People came to see what we had, and also to show us their sense of style, and just to say Hi!

Show us what they had.
Natural Yukata Style.
At home in yukata.

A beautiful shibori yukata.

Kimono came too, natural kimono.
This woman, seemed quite at home in kimono with beautifully orchestrated parts that play and communicate lifestyles.

So free and natural in her kimono, she found the perfect “Tsuno (horned) indigo shibori bag by Hiroyuki Shindo of Kyoto.  Her kimonoed friend wanted one too and ordered another.



Ultimate good taste.

The subtle combining of kimono and obi, under layers, and magical kibiso stole made of leftover silk cocoons is a lesson in kimono elegance by a woman who teaches Japanese to fortunate foreigners She is an ambassador of style and craftsmanship and their combining.

Without realizing it, Blue & White has become a destination for people who wear Yukata and Kimono.  They are happy to show us and know we appreciate their sharing of their great sense of style.  We encourage people to keep leading the way in the renaissance of this quintessential form of Japanese dress and style and carefully choosing all the critical pieces of craftsmanship that make up its totality.

Why do I continue to take photos from the rear? I am not sure why, but maybe it is because that is where the obi blooms in its pattern and weave and the way it is knotted. How it is tied and how it offsets the graceful shoulders and the slim figure and the graceful neck of the wearer.  And also maybe so I won’t get in trouble for not asking permission.  (Not the case here! I even wrote a letter to confirm her agreement to be used on this blog. She kindly consented.)


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3 Responses to YUKATA CHIC

  1. Just wonderful! thanks for taking so many photos and sharing them. My son recently purchased something for me in your shop. He won’t tell me what it is and I have to wait until his trip home at Christmas to receive it! Can’t wait! Will you ever have an online shop?

    • So glad you liked the blog. I simply couldn’t stop taking photos !
      And happy to hear your son has bought you something for Christmas at Blue & White and even told you about it. And that you are both old fashioned enough to wait til December 25 !
      The online shop is in the plans, but will take a bit longer.
      Thanks for writing, simplestewardship.
      Have you also had a look at our blue and white instagram ?
      More quirky photos !

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