January 12

Coming-Of-Age in the New Age

On Tuesday this lovely maiden in traditional dress undoubtedly went back to looking like the girl in the beanie, but Monday was Coming-Of-Age Day here in Japan, and even though kimono wearing has pretty much disappeared at other times of year, the shrines were packed with 20-year-old girls in all the trimmings.

One of the reasons kimonos are going the way of the dodo is that wearing one is hugely expensive. Ones like this start at about $1500, plus the obi, shoes, and countless underpinnings necessary to hold everything together. Renting the whole outfit is how most girls go these days – the basics can be had for about $300, plus another couple hundred for hair, make-up,  accessories, and the services of a person who helps you put the whole thing on.

You can find out when Coming-Of-Age Day is by looking at the month of January on the Tokyo Cheapo website. If you’re in Tokyo then, you can see women dressed to impress at all the major shrines & temples, but my favorite place to see them is at the Meiji Shrine. A map is on my website, The Tokyo Guide I Wish I’d Had.

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