One of my favourite and most memorable cultural experiences in Japan was the kimono dress-up during winter at Asakusa, Tokyo! I have always been so mesmerised by the beauty of Japanese traditional kimono and was looking forward to an extraordinary dress-up experience. Based on favourable reviews online and beautiful kimono outfits preview, I booked a package with Sakura Photo Studio via Veltra. It was a fuss free booking experience and confirmation was obtained within the day. However, I noticed that since then, they have increased the number of packages available for booking from their website directly. Examples: Standard Plan, Luxury Plan, Premium Plan, Couple Studio Photo Shoot Plan, Samurai Armour Photo Shoot Plan and Children Kimono Plan. As such, you may want to visit their website for more details.
The price range starts from as low as US48 for Standard Plan, which includes kimono dressing and rental, and returning of kimono by 5pm.
I decided to splurge and took a Luxury Plan, as well as paid additional for make-up service and outdoor photo shoot and guided tour at Asakusa. My package cost USD242.50 and included the following:
- Luxury Plan – Furisode kimono (with long dramatic sleeves), hair accessory, tabi socks, bag, zori sandals.
- Make-up Service (Add-on)
- Outdoor photo shoot and guided tour at Asakusa (Add-on)
- 2 hours free & easy at Asakusa in kimono.
- 50 high-resolution photos to be sent via email.
It was easy access to Sakura Studio from Asakusa Station. Walk to Kaminarimon of Sensoji Temple, cross the road to Starbucks and walk straight down the street. You will see Suzuki building on the opposite lane.
Take the lift to Level 4 and you will arrive at the kimono dressing studio directly.
You will be given a black bag to hold your belongings. The bag is tagged. Well, it is generally safe as the studio is manned at all times.
Next, you will be asked to select your preferred kimono based on your package (standard plan, luxury plan or premium plan). My luxury plan will allow me to select a furisode kimono (the most formal kimono for unmarried women, usually worn at weddings reception or coming-of-age ceremonies.) I had a hard time deciding on THE ONE as they all look gorgeous!
Once you have selected the kimono, a staff will assist you with part 1 of the kimono dressing before your make-up/hairdo.
Do rest assured the make-up/hair do section is very clean albeit a little messy.
My make-up artiste. I opted for a more natural make-up; no dramatic eyeliners or eye lashes.
Their extensive collection of hair accessories!
The second part of the kimono dressing in this area. Look at the massive accessories involved in the full dressing of a furisode kimono.
It is too complicated for me to explain the full kimono dressing process. I concluded that kimono dressing is indeed a skill and the whole process took more than 5 minutes just to get dressed. You may refer to the following YouTube video:
The patient and kind lady who dressed me up!
My hairdo! Love the accessories! (That’s my own earrings!)
Ta-da! All ready to go out! Selected a matching kimono bag!
Zori sandals of various colours and sizes.
It’s a pity that it started to rain the moment I was ready for my photoshoot. 🙁 As such, my outdoor photoshoot was cancelled and the studio replaced it with an indoor photo shoot. It was indeed a disappointment but I guess it now provides me with another excuse for a second kimono dressing next time! 🙂
No photo taking and videoing is allowed in the indoor photo studio. Nevertheless, it was a comfortable session with the photographer who speaks English and another lady staff who was there to assist and adjust my kimono for every pose. It was certainly not easy to kneel and stand in kimono!
After the short indoor photo shoot, I was allowed a 2-hour free and easy outdoor session in my kimono as part of my package. Of course, nothing is more appropriate than to stroll down Nakimise street and visit Sensoji Temple in my attire! Afterall, that’s the reason why I chose to do kimono dressing in Asakusa! 🙂
Posing at Kaminarimon. Actually, it was a little embarrassing as my colourful kimono clearly stood out among the crowd. haha
A surprised “celebrity moment” when I was approached by another tourist to take photo. She thought I was a Japanese! And after her, I was approached by another tour group as well. Haha…*shy shy*
Time for some random outdoor photo shoot. Coincidentally, I had a matching umbrella with my kimono!
mmm… I think it is a real tree?
These are definitely fake sakura! haha
Pitstop at Starbucks with matching sakura latte and sakura-chiffon cake. 🙂
Posing with my unofficial photographer.
In the same evening, I received approximate 20-25 images emailed by the photographer for me to select my favourite 5 shots for final editing. Here they are!
What do you think of the studio shots? I am absolutely pleased with them! Well, I guess the photographer should be quite satisfied too as I soon realized my photo was used in the recruitment page for the studio. It’s quite amusing that my first media exposure is in Japan! Hope my smile did help them to attract applicants! 🙂
No doubt there are many photo studios or kimono rental shops in Tokyo, I personally feels that Sakura Photo Studio Co Ltd stands out with their professionalism and extensive beautiful collection of kimonos. Their warm and hospitable service as well as photo shoot are always highly raved upon on social media. I’m so much looking forward to an opportunity of doing an outdoor photo shoot with them in future!
Sakura Photo Studio Co Ltd
Address: Suzuki Bld 4F 1-12-12 Kaminarimon Taito-ku, Tokyo Japan 111-0034
(2 minutes from No.1 Exit Asakusa Station Ginza line)
Telephone: 070-5365-1551 （Japanese/English) 070-5011-2785 (English/Korean/Chinese）
E-mail： firstname.lastname@example.org (Guaranteed reply within 24 hours)
Operating hours: 10:00～18:00 (Everyday; no OFF days)
JR Vacation says:
- Do not be put-off by the price I’m paying for my package as I have opted for the luxury package with additional paid services! They do have much cheaper packages from as low as US48.
- You may either book via Veltra.com (credit card payment in USD) or their website directly (credit card payment in Japanese yen).
- Do browse through their Facebook and website for latest plan and photoshoot done. Everyone look gorgeous in their kimonos!
- During my kimono dressing in winter, I wore my ultra-thin thermal wear underneath my kimono. During summer, you will wear the yukata instead. Do note that there is no way you can wear the kimono on your own. As such, there will be a lady staff who will assist you.
- In case of rain prior to you arriving at the studio, you can choose to postpone the session or cancel the session. This is in fact my third attempt on kimono dressing with the studio…but still, it rained after I’m fully dressed-up. Ah well…
- I realised they do have staff who speaks English, Mandarin and Korean as well.
- Their signature service is the outdoor photo shoot. Highly recommended and I hope to try it next time!
Enjoy the beautiful moment!