Wearing Kimono at Miyajima

Miyajima at high tide

The kimono is a magnificently beautiful piece of clothing.  In fact, I view it as more of a piece of art over an article of clothes.  You cannot simply put a kimono on the same level as a pair of jeans. The culture behind the kimono is deep and rich.  And if the culture of the kimono itself were not enough, the art form of dressing one in a kimono is just as stunning.
As a child I had the opportunity to wear a kimono for the first time.  The whole process took an entire day; from hair to make up, then layering on the pieces of the kimono, adding all the accessories, then finally posing with my sister for just one picture (this was still during a time film cameras were widely used).
I'm the short one!

I always wanted that experience again.  A kimono is a beautiful experience, starting with the stunning fabrics, leading to the intricate steps of putting it on (or should I say having someone put it on your), and ending as a beautiful piece of art that you have the opportunity to display.  It also helps you have surprisingly fantastic posture (man they make the obi tight).
When I was looking into traveling to Miyajima in 2014 I stumbled across the Miyajima Komachi Rental Kimono shop online.  The first day I arrived at the hotel I asked the front desk to help me set up an appointment, and the rest is history!
The day started with a train ride from Hiroshima Station to Miyajima Station, and then a short walk to the Kimono shop. My mom helped me pick out the kimono I wore, and even helped me do my hair.
My mom helping me pick out a kimono to wear
My mom doing my hair
Even my friend wore a kimono
Noriko putting a kimono on my friend
Then we were sent on our way, and took the ferry over to Miyajima.  I recommend going early in the day so you have the opportunity to experience all the treasures of the area.  And the nice thing about renting kimono at Miyajima is the fact that there is not a terrible amount of walking in the traditional shoes...and the Momiji, it is delicious!   
You can take the ropeway  up to the top of Mt. Misen, which I highly recommend, you get a breathtaking view of the ocean and Honshu. The ropeway does close by early evening, so do that early in the day!
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At the top of Mt. Misen

It turned out I was the first American guest at the Miyajima Komachi Rental Kimono shop, and that is something I will never forget.
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Fast forward two years later, and I am travelling to Japan once again with a new friend (I have a habit of showing Japan to my friends for the first time, they need to see it!). And I get to go to Noriko's shop once again, and have the opportunity to wear kimono.
At Miyajima once again, my favorite place in Japan
It is fantastic the friendships you can make while travelling.  I now have a lifetime friend that I will be seeing on my next visit to Japan, and until then we can stay in touch through the amazing internet.
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Go out there and try something amazing, like wearing a kimono to Miyajima.  You never know where the amazing experience will lead!   
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If you can speak Japanese feel free to send an email to the email on the shops website, that is how I booked my rental the second time around.  You can also rent the kimono to wear to Iwakuni, or just around Hiroshima!  There are many different styles to choose from, and you can even rent a coat when it is chilly.
When you do decide to visit Miyajia, try the street food.  The momiji are to die for, especially the deep fried cheese one.  And the oysters are super fresh! 

Amanda Brennan