In my own personal opinion the Uchikake is the most beautiful of all the types of kimonos. Until the Edo period the Uchikake was a kimono worn by ladies of warrior or noble families on formal occasions. Later it became the Japanese bridal costume.

It is made of wadded silk and has long flowing sleeves. It also has a padded hem. The cost of these is usually very high and they are often rented rather than purchased outright. The renting of the Uchikake began to be popular in the 1960's.

A variation on this is the Shiromuku which is a white bridal gown. The shiro stands for white, and the muku for pure. The basic idea was that the white indicated that the woman was sort of a blank canvas and that she was willing to learn the customs and ways of her husband's household and take them for herself.

These white-on-white gowns were worn on the first day of a three-day long wedding ceremony during the Edo period. A red gown was worn on the second day, serving as a shield against any misfortunes in the marriage. The final day there was a black formal kimono worn.

Below are some of the uchikake that I thing are particularly pretty and/or interesting.

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