Japanese University Graduation Prep: Trying on Hakama!

It’s been a bit quiet here because I was away travelling for a little bit so I’ve got lots to write about (hopefully you’ll see it soon). But today I wanted to share about an experience I had trying on hakama and making my reservation to rent an outfit for my graduation ceremony next March!

Japanese University Graduation Ceremonies aren’t what we’re used to, where people don graduation gowns and a mortar board. Instead, they wear Hakama, Kimono, formal suits or dresses. In the case of my other international student senpai, they wore their ethnic attire so there were some in Korean hanbok or Ugandan traditional attire too!

It’s really a once in a lifetime experience so I decided I wanted to wear a Hakama!

It’s typically worn either with boots or zori! The hakama is actually the bottom part of the outfit, which is worn over the inner kimono. You’ll see people practicing kendo or kyudo wearing hakama as well but these are a bit more fancy.

The best part is that two companies came to my school to provide their rental services for hakama, and they have package deals for hair and make up, and even for some commemorative photographs. It would be much more convenient to rent it from them as on the day itself, I could just go to school, have them dress me up and then after the ceremony and photos, return it on the day itself! Of course renting it from elsewhere or online would be much cheaper but I really don’t trust myself to put it on properly or to survive the journey to school….

How do I look?  This is what I decided on after looking through the racks and trying some on! I wanted something with pinks or purples and was also eyeing the black based ones but those looked a bit too mature on me…

I feel like it matches my bubbly personality and of course I chose one covered with flowers! The two ladies who helped me put it on were ooh-ing and ahh-ing over how balanced the outfit was. Supposedly the blue complements my pinkish skin tone?  There really were so many ways to mix and match everything it was quite overwhelming!

The price was rather overwhelming too…because renting the kimono itself is 32,000yen! ($320) The hakama are 10,000yen ($100) each and that doesn’t include the fee to have them help you put it on, plus hair setting….I’ll also need to prepare the inner wear of a hadagi and petticoat as well. Ouch.

All for a once in a lifetime experience! I know friends who spent 100,000yen on their rental kimono for the coming of age ceremony (seijinshiki) so this isn’t too bad, I suppose.

It’s all my fault for choosing a kimono with such a lovely pattern on it. I’ll just have to take a ton of photos in March to make my money’s worth!

What do you think? Would you rent a hakama to wear for graduation?


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