TOKYO - In Japan during the summer time, we often see people wearing yukatas. Yukatas are a type of traditional Japanese clothing that are typically worn during seasonably warm temperatures. It is quite common to find both women and men wearing yukatas during neighborhood summer and fireworks festivals.
The history of the yukata can be traced back to the Heian period, which is about 900 years ago in Japanese history. During that time, the yukata was called yukatabira. People of the upper class usually wore it when they took a bath, because the bathing style in that period was different from etiquette nowadays and resembled more of a sauna. It wasn't until much later that people started to take baths without clothes and wore yukatas after bathing to soak up the moisture from their skin. As time passed, the fashion use of it also transitioned from a post-bath robe to summer wear.
In the Edo period, about 250 years ago, yukatas were no longer a luxury item of the wealthy classes in Japan. Merchants had slowly opened the market of yukatas to the rest of society.
In the Meiji period, about 130 years ago, yukatas were easily accessible to all social and economic classes and had become a quite common summer trend. People were wearing yukatas whenever they went shopping or visiting friends and family.
Nowadays, yukatas are much more popular amongst Japanese youth, but specifically women. The variety in textures and designs have every young girl striving to find ways to make themselves unique. Modern and colorful additions catered towards the youth keep the concept of wearing a yukata fresh. However despite all these options, the classic yukata remains popular for all age groups.
When you wear your favorite yukata during the summer, it is like dressing up for a party everyday. As summer comes close to an end, let's enjoy it with a yukata!