Yukata vs Kimono – What Are The Main Differences?

Yukata Summer Japan

Yukata vs Kimono – When traveling to foreign countries, one of the most exciting and enjoyable ways to immerse yourself into their culture would be to don their national garment. Nothing will make you feel quite as connected to the culture as glancing in the mirror and seeing yourself dressed in their traditional clothing that have likely spanned centuries over time.

At least, that’s the lifespan of the Japanese kimono.

Recognised as the national dress of Japan, the beautiful t-shaped kimono garment is instantly identifiable even amongst people who haven’t visited the country before. Characterised by an intricately patterned dress robe with a wide sash wrapped around the waist, the kimono hails from ancient Japan and its beauty and elegance is second to none.

Enter the yukata.

To the untrained eye (which, to be fair, encompasses most visitors to the country), the two garments are seemingly very alike. Both are stunning t-shaped robes that drape flawlessly over the body, depicting an ageless Japanese look that will surely turn heads. Both wrap their left panel over their right, always, as only those who have passed away drape their right over their left.

However, that’s where the basic similarities end.

The yukata, whilst still beautiful and important to Japanese history in its own right, is actually a by-product of the kimono. We will get into more detail later on, but these days, the kimono is the more formal of the two, being worn at formal events. The yukata, on the other hand, is a lighter, more casual dress that’s typically worn in summer months.

To understand the true differences between the two, we’ll first give you light and interesting insight into each garment and then describe the main differences so you can understand them better.

What is a Kimono?

<img src="https://cdn.statically.io/img/sugoii-japan.com/f=auto%2Cq=20/wp-content/uploads/2021/09/Kimono-Japan-Japanese-Girl.jpg" alt="Kimono Japan Japanese Girl" width="683" height="1024" srcset="https://cdn.statically.io/img/sugoii-japan.com/f=auto%2Cq=20/wp-content/uploads/2021/09/Kimono-Japan-Japanese-Girl.jpg 683w, https://cdn.statically.io/img/sugoii-japan.com/f=auto%2Cq=20/wp-content/uploads/2021/09/Kimono-Japan-Japanese-Girl-200×300.jpg 200w, …continue reading

    

Photographer shows why Nara’s deer are the “messengers of the gods” by finding most stylish deer ever

Source: grapee.jp

The free-roaming deer of Nara Park in Nara, Japan (said to contain at least 1,500 wild deer that sometimes wander into train stations and use crosswalks) have become somewhat of an emblem of the area. Visitors to Nara often purchase shika senbei (deer crackers) to feed the deer, who very much welcome the attention.

Another reason they’ve become the symbol of the area is Nara Park’s proximity to Todaiji Temple, where the world’s largest bronze Buddha statue and the UNESCO World Heritage Site is enshrined. Deer are sometimes said to be the messengers of Shinto deities, and so it’s a fitting spot for them to hang around.

A gorgeous shot captured by talented Japanese photographer Hisa (@Hisa0808) might just back up that claim. The photographer recently visited Nara Park and snapped a picture of what he is calling “the most stylish deer in history”, and that certainly seems to be true!

Source: @Hisa0808

自分史上最大級にオシャレな鹿撮れたの見て。 pic.twitter.com/7lHVJC8fuZ

— Hisa (@Hisa0808) September 23, 2021

The perfectly set up show captures the beautiful autumn scenery of Nara Park in full glory, and the cover of a the rest area in the background looks like a halo above the deer’s head. The photo has gotten a lot of deserved praise on Twitter, with some saying it’s like a scene out of Studio Ghibli’s Princess Mononoke, and that it has a divine quality.

Be sure to follow Hisa on Twitter and Instagram for more awesome photography from around Japan.

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Not just for burning: Innovative Japanese cord incense is great for all kinds of creative projects

Source: grapee.jp

You see what looks like a collection of fancy embroidery thread in various appealing colors.

© grape SHOP

But as you’re admiring them, you can detect a blend of fragrances wafting through the air. “Hmm, is that nice smell coming from the embroidery thread,” you wonder.

Actually, it’s not embroidery thread, it’s incense in cord form!

Check out the Aroma cord incense line at grape SHOP.

(We use WorldShopping Global. The grape SHOP page is in Japanese, but if you see the WorldShopping widget appear at the bottom of the page, that product can be shipped overseas)

Aroma Cord, colorful incense in cord form

Aroma Cord is an unusual, innovative type of corded incense that lets you enjoy authentic fragrances in a casual and creative way.

© grape SHOP

Each set includes an incense clip and a non-flammable mat along with a length of Aroma Cord incense.

© grape SHOP

If you use an incense clip, you can burn the desired length without cutting the cord.

The approximate burning time is about 8 minutes for a 10 cm (4″) length, with a total of 2 meters (6’7″) per package.

© grape SHOP

Not just for burning: Unbind your creativity!

Of course, you can use Aroma Cord like traditional incense to burn and enjoy, but with a bit of imagination, you can come up with all kinds of other ways to put Aroma Cord to use!

For example, you can fashion it into a bracelet or anklet, tie it into a decorative element and wear it as a pendant…

© grape SHOP

…tie it into elegant mizuhiki ribbons for decoration…

© grape SHOP

…or use them to add a bit of color and pleasant fragrance as the finishing touch to your gift wrapping.

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Konbu Cha Pickled Vegetables

Hero shot of Konbu Cha Pickled Vegetables served in a bowl.

Today’s dish, Konbu Cha Pickled Vegetables is super easy and quick to make. You only need to pickle the vegetables for 30 minutes and the preparation takes just 5 minutes. It is lightly salted and full of umami.

I have already posted a recipe, Simple Pickled Celery, which is also a very easy recipe using just salt to pickle. Today’s recipe uses Konbu Cha as a pickling agent.

Konbu Cha vs Kombucha

These two words mean completely different things even if they sound exactly the same.

Konbu Cha refers to a kelp tea and Japanese people call it ‘konbucha‘ (昆布茶) – well, the same as the English sound. The word ‘konbu’ (昆布) means kelp and ‘cha‘ (茶) means tea. On the other hand, Kombucha is ‘kōcha kinoko‘ (紅茶キノコ) in Japanese, which translates to tea mushroom.

Konbu Cha (昆布茶)

Konbu Cha is a Japanese beverage, like green tea, which is made from powdered dried kelp. It often contains salt to give it more flavour and some of them might even contain tiny pieces of kelp or rice crackers. The delicious flavour of Konbu Cha comes from the umami and saltiness.

Konbucha pack, powder inside the sachet, and Konbu Cha (tea).

Konbu Cha already existed in the Edo period (1603-1863). At the time, it was made by adding boiling water to a tea cup with finely chopped konbu in it. After drinking the konbu-flavoured water, the konbu pieces were eaten.

The modern, powdered version of Konbu Cha has over 100 years of history. It appeared in 1918 during the Taisho period. The founder of the Japanese tea company, Gyokuroen, invented it. He looked at the traditional way of drinking Konbu Cha and thought that it could be consumed by more people (just like tea and …continue reading

    

What is Johnson Town in Saitama?


Sometimes, one of your most interesting experiences during a trip are finding places that are very unexpected in your destination. Johnson Town Saitama is a good example of such a place. Less than one hour by train from Ikebukuro in Tokyo, Johnson Town is a great destination for a half day trip if you’re interested in modern history and offbeat places in general. Let’s find out a bit more about this little piece of Americana in Japan! History of Johnson Town Saitama Back in 1936, Isono Farm bought an area of land from a silk factory, and in 1938, 50 rental houses were constructed here to be leased to army […] …continue reading

    

8 Delicious Japanese Mushrooms And Why You Should Eat Them More (Health Benefits)

Japanese Mushrooms - Shiitake 2

Japanese Mushrooms – The Japanese diet is synonymous around the world as being wholesome, healthy, and delicious. People are often trying to figure out what it is about the diet that allows the Japanese to eat such tasty foods and yet remain mostly trim.

Their secret? A wide variety of foods that make up a super balanced diet. You’ve probably heard of the phrase “everything in moderation”, but whilst most people may find it hard to stick by, it’s ingrained in the Japanese way of life from the day you are born.

The people of Japan have long praised the health benefits of such goods as matcha, tofu, and miso. What many people don’t realise is that the reason why they always seem to enjoy their foods is in large part because of the variety of mushrooms they incorporate into their diet!

Mushrooms have long been a global source of protein for vegans and vegetarians. Not only that, but the varying types of mushrooms that exist means that there’s literally a type of mushroom for every occasion.

The health benefits of mushrooms have proven that they are just as nutritional as they are delicious, possibly even more so!

Honestly, we don’t know anyone who doesn’t love mushrooms, and this article is just to make sure you know that there are way more varieties than you can imagine!

Read on as we detail 8 of the most delicious Japanese mushrooms and why you should eat them.

1. Shiitake Mushrooms

Japanese Mushrooms - Shiitake 1

Encompassing an abundance of flavour and nutritional value, the shiitake mushroom is without a doubt the most famous Japanese mushroom. Usually found in Japanese soups and hotpots, tempura batters, and grills, the …continue reading

    

Visit Kinosaki Onsen – Local Experience In Kansai

One of the favorite pastimes of many people in Japan is visiting onsen, the hot springs that are found all over the country. It is one of those local experiences that you can’t miss out on when you travel to Japan, and it will be difficult to choose where to go as there are so many options. One of the best places to enjoy a traditional hot spring experience is Kinosaki Onsen (城崎温泉) in Hyogo, an onsen town around 2.5 hours north from Kyoto by train. Let us show you why a stay at Kinosaki Onsen should feature on your Japan itinerary!

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Daruma Dolls – All You Need To Know About These Cute Japanese Traditional Dolls

Daruma Dolls For Sale Buy Online Shop

Daruma dolls are one of Japan’s most popular good luck talismans. You’ve most likely come across them before as they’re displayed wherever people wish for good luck. The symbol of the Daruma doll is also one for perseverance.

Because of this, you might have seen people get tattoos of these dolls on their bodies, or possibly seen the faces of the Daruma dolls on artworks and such.

What are Daruma Dolls?

The Daruma dolls are small rounded dolls that come in various sizes and thus are sold at various prices. They’re created with a slightly rounded bottom/stand which is designed to make it difficult for them to topple over.

This embodies its symbol of perseverance and the famous Japanese proverb: fall down seven times, stand up eight.

Aside from the usual keyrings, magnets and sweets, Daruma dolls make a great little souvenir to take home. It’s got centuries of Japanese history behind its design and shape and make for an interesting story if anyone were to ask you about them.

If you don’t plan to come to Japan soon and still want to get a Daruma, we have you covered! We just added beautiful Daruma dolls into our online shop. 3 colours are available at the moment:

Buy your Daruma online >>

Daruma Dolls – The History Behind The Legend

Bodhidharma Daruma Dolls Buddhist Monk

The full history behind the Daruma dolls is a slightly murky but super interesting one. The first recorded information of Daruma Dolls dates back many centuries ago, when the believed founder of Zen Buddhism, Bodhidharma, brought the religion to China.

He journeyed across the country until he found a suitable cave to …continue reading

    

Furin Japan – All You Need To Know About Japanese Wind Chimes 

Furin Japan Wind Chimes

Furin (or Fuurin) essentially translates to ‘wind bell’ and describes the Japanese wind chime. Just like how eating an ice cream cone may make you nostalgic for summertime, the sound of a furin sends a Japanese person to their happy place in summer.

Widely known and accepted as the symbol of summer in Japan, when anyone hears the gentle ringing sounds of the wind chime, they become immediately washed over with a refreshing feeling.

It may be a cultural thing, but many Japanese people insist that hearing and seeing the furin sway in the wind actually makes them feel cooler and more relaxed – a must for the balmy Japanese summer nights!

If you’ve visited Japan during the warm months, you may have seen and heard Japanese wind chimes hanging outside places of residences. These days, they’re normally quite cheerful and bright.

What’s A Furin?

Furin Fuurin Japanese Wind Chimes 6

So what exactly is a furin? To start, we’ll give you a basic description of what it looks like and consists of, however, note that there exist thousands of versions of wind chimes in Japan today.

A furin is a Japanese wind chime that is consists of three main parts: the ‘gaiken’ which is the bell- or bowl-shaped exterior, the ‘zetsu’ which is the clapper inside the gaiken, and the ‘tanzaku’ which are the colourful strips of paper that hang down and flutter in the wind.

When the breeze catches and moves the tanzaku, the zetsu will chime inside the gaiken, producing the gentle ringing sounds that everyone loves.

You will likely see these hanging outside of people’s homes, either near the windows or along the balcony.

The History …continue reading

    


The Best Cafes in Yokohama

Along with Tokyo, Yokohama is home to a great number of lovely cafes that offer a range of food options as well as a delicious drinks. Yokohama’s cafe culture is a fusion of international influences that came to the charming city because of the international port. When Japan opened up for international trade again, Yokohama became one of the main ports of entry for the international trade and one of the import is is coffee. When you walk around in Yokohama, you can feel the international vibe and spot trendy, cute cafe’s everywhere. Some of them are also conveniently located near famous tourist attractions like Yokohama Chinatown, Aka-renga, and Minato […] …continue reading