In my previous article of November 5, 2017, "Enjoy Kimono as You Like", I wrote that there were two different cultures in Kyoto associated with Kimonos. Today, I would like to introduce you the one of them, the Kimono culture in Hanamachi (花街, districts Maiko and Geiko reside and work for).
For Maiko and Geiko, Kimono is more like advertisements. Wearing beautiful and high quality Kimono is the minimum and indispensable requirement for them. I have heard that the Yakata (屋形), lodging houses where Maiko and Geiko live and work for during their career, offer expensive Kimono in the order of their popularity. At the same time, if you wear expensive Kimono, you will get more chances to be called to good Ozashikis (お座敷), a banquet with Maiko and Geiko in a traditional Japanese Tatami room, leading to greater business opportunities and increased sales.
Another topic here is Darari no Obi (だらりの帯) for Maiko. Obi is a general term for Kimono belts usually fasten at the back in knot or square style, whereas Darari no Obi, long and crested Obi the ends of which are hung at the back, are worn exclusively by Maiko.
Long time ago, when Japan still hadn't established its education system, most Maiko were merely children of only 10 or 12 years old, and they often got lost on their way back from Ozashiki. In cases like that, people could tell what Yakaya they belonged to from the crest of the Yakata on the Darari no Obi. There crests acted as identification tags in a sense. Interestingly, Hanamachi all had their own methods of crossing the two ends of Darari no Obi, making them as identifiable as the crests themselves.
Click here to see a Blog by a Former Maiko "Do You Know?".