Kyoto is said to be the center of the geisha and with there comes the need to perfect the art of Kimono making. There are of course cheap fabric kimono that you can find in any of the stores but I was keen to see the exceptional hand painted and drawn kimono that is a dying trade.
I was in absolute awe watching these masters create masterpieces of cloth for kimono. The drawings are so beautiful and so detailed and every color is hand painted or hand weaved! A kimono of excellent quality easily costs more than USD$10000 and the whole get up would be USD$20000 or more! So these days, unless you are really wealthy, most Japanese do not own kimonos. Instead, they rent them for special occasions like weddings or graduations and generally stick to wearing yukatas or the lower quality kimonos for normal occasions.
We were treated to a mini kimono fashion show for us to see the various colors and types. Ladies who are unmarried would wear the kimonos with the long swinging sleeves and ladies who are married wear the short sleeves version. The type of designs, be it flowery or plain would also be dictated by the type of events it is meant to be worn to.
I was told that the beauty of a lady in kimono is actually located at the neck. It is meant to show of the delicacy and subtle beauty of a women.
There are day rental available for these kimonos and for a hundred or two, they would dress you up from head to toe so you could pretend to be a geisha for a day.