Traditional Japanese Wedding Dress


A traditional Japanese wedding features rich traditions in both the ceremony and dress. Japanese tradition dictates the styles, colors, fabrics and designs worn by a Japanese bride and groom. While the groom dons traditional Japanese formal attire, the bride transitions from an all-white kimono into a bold and beautiful kimono. When preparing for a traditional Japanese wedding, the bride and groom must pay particular attention to their style of dress.

Ceremony Dress

  • During the wedding ceremony, a Japanese bride wears a traditional white wedding kimono, the shiro-maku. As explained by, “shiro” means “white” and “maku” means “pure.” The shiro-maku is completely white in color, yet quite simple in design. It displays no embroidery, beading, adornments or intricate designs. However, the wedding kimono is very long and must be held up by the bride and one of her attendants while walking.

Reception Dress

  • After the wedding ceremony, the bride covers her shiro-maku with the uchikake, a colorful and elaborate silk kimono. Although uchikakes are available in a wide variety of bright colors, most Japanese brides choose the color red, which is considered lucky in Japan. Made of silk and silk brocade, this kimono features elaborate embroidered patterns of nature scenes. The kimono also features long, flowing sleeves. Since these intricate and bright kimonos are reserved only for young, unmarried women, the wedding reception is the last opportunity a Japanese woman has to wear it.


  • Japanese brides wear an elaborate hairstyle, known as the bunkin-takashimada. In most cases, the bride wears a wig that has been styled into the specific design. The elaborate style involves pulling all of the hair back into a large, full bun at the crown of the head. Golden accessories adorn the style. During the wedding ceremony, the Japanese bride covers her hair with a white hood, the tsuno kakushi. According to, “the wearing of this head piece shows the bride’s willingness to enter into marriage and take on her role as wife.”


  • During the wedding, the Japanese bride carries a small purse, known as the hakoseko. Inside this purse is a small sheathed sword, the kaiken, which is a symbol of luck. Her face is dusted with white powder, her eyes outlined darkly and her lips are colored bright red. For the Japanese wedding, the bride wears traditional Japanese footwear. This includes white toe socks and white clogs with thong toe straps.

Groom's Dress

  • For a Japanese wedding, the groom’s dress is much simpler than the bride’s. A Japanese groom wears a montsuki kimono, which prominently displays his family crest on the front and back. Although the kimono is long, the groom tucks it into his hakama pants. Typically made from cotton or a polyester blend, hakama pants are wide and pleated. A flowing haori overcoat is then placed over the entire ensemble. Traditionally, Japanese grooms wear a black kimono and haori overcoat with black, gray or white pinstripe hakama pants. However, a variety of other colors are also available.

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  • Photo Credit Japan doll image by Dmitry Sosenushkin from
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