Japanese Summer Kimono Sales Up as Festival Season Nears; People Choosing to Also Wear Yukata at Concerts, on Daily Outings

The Yomiuri Shimbun
A variety of yukata are seen on the sales floor of Nihombashi Mitsukoshi Main Store in Chuo Ward, Tokyo, on Wednesday.

Stores selling yukata are competing for customers as the summer festival season nears, and demand for the traditional Japanese attire is increasing.

Yukata sales declined amid the pandemic, however, demand is recovering along with the return of summer events.

On Wednesday, when it was hot and humid, about 30 employees wore blue, yellow and pink yukata as they greeted customers at Nihombashi Mitsukoshi Main Store in Chuo Ward, Tokyo.

The store’s yukata sales between April and June were up 20% compared to the same period last year, and sales of yukata accessories about doubled.

One of the trends this year is muted colors. More people are wearing the summer kimono, not only at fireworks festivals and other summer festivals, but also to go to the theater, concerts and even on daily outings, according to the store.

“The customers who were ‘wait-and-see’ types last year are back this year to buy one,” said a Mitsukoshi store representative.

Nihombashi Takashimaya Shopping Center said elegant yukata in cool tones are popular at the store, and sales from March to June were up about 30% compared to the previous year.

Matsuya Ginza said it will set up a yukata section from July 24 for the first time in five years.

According to Yano Research Institute Ltd., the kimono retail market, which includes yukata, shrank from ¥260.5 billion in 2019 to ¥192.5 billion in 2020. In 2024, it is expected to reach ¥223 billion, almost unchanged from the previous year.