Most people are familiar with the Japanese kimono, but they may not know that the traditional jacket worn over the kimono (in place of a sweater or a light jacket) is called a haori. The construction of a haori is slightly different from that of a kimono; on a haori, the banding around the collar and down the front is narrower than on a kimono, and the haori is not worn overlapped in the front, as is the kimono. The sleeves are very much like the kimono sleeves and are great as pockets. Traditionally, a haori is fastened with a small, removable tie (himo) which is often made with beads and is hand woven. These ties are made to be used on multiple haori, like a piece of jewelry.
Haori are custom-made for each individual so you won’t find a size anywhere. We have regular haori in stock and also carry a version that is remade from a double-breasted Japanese coat; these will fit larger ladies. They are made out of the same beautiful fabrics and have the same sleeves but do not have the banding around the neck and front.
So if you are looking for a unique gift you may want to consider a haori. A gentleman from out of town stopped in the other day to buy his second haori. He had purchased one last year for his aunt and his lady friend was so jealous that he had to come back for a second one!
Written by Jo Myers, Museum Shop
Edited by Dottie Macomber, Museum Library Volunteer