Sunday, June 17, 2012

Kimono and Obi Shopping in Tokyo: From Japan with Love

Vintage Kimono and Obi (belt) are the best things to buy in Japan. Kimono Underwear which is same shape with Kimono without lining is a lot cheaper and good for a robe. Obi can be displayed on your wall or table. You might not know the price range and how to choose so I will share some ideas for your shopping.

  1. Recently I went to Obi hunting with my sister. She came back from abroad and wanted to buy Obi to take back. There are many used Kimono shops in Tokyo. The price range varies but it starts as low as 1000 yen, or $12. If you cannot find that price in the shop, the target clients must be people actually wear Kimono so that the products are in super good condition to wear.
  2. Obi less than 1000 yen is a junk usually but if you want to cut it in pieces for recycling or upcycling, go for it. The length of Obi is 13 feet, and is silk! You can make something like bags or placement mats using a part. There are some Obi not made out of 100% silk so ask about the material to the shop owner.
  3. The shop we went is located in Nippori which is Tokyo's fabric town. In front of the famous Tomato , the largest fabric shop in the town, there are 2-3 used Kimono shops. I may write about Nippori in this blog in future. (I wrote! Please see the link at the bottom.)
  4. Some may have creases because the interfacing got shrunk in the long time. You can iron it over a cloth with low temperature with no steam but I can't fully guarantee the result as the inside of Obi, interfacing, may not stretch anymore.
  5. I recommend buy Fukuro Obi, not Nagoya Obi. Nagoya Obi is not flat shaped, sewn in the middle in order to wear it easier so it cannot be flatten on your wall or table.
  6. We budgeted 1000 yen to 3500 yen, $12 - $40, approximately. Oh, I just found a good English tutorial page of how to display Obi. Here is the page. One of their pictures is this. Beautiful!
Our result of Obi hunting is here.

My favorite is the middle one, midnight blue base with silver and gold flowers. I am always amazed by the free spirits and a great sense of design of our ancestors.

This Obi was 1000 yen or $12. Gold cranes facing each other, probably worn by a wedding guest as cranes are thought to live 1000 years thus good fortune is indicated. It would be gorgeous to hang on a wall.

If you have any questions, please ask me through the comment box.

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