August 30, 2021 3 min read
Obi is the name given to the Japanese belt, used to close the kimono or yukata. As a true piece of jewelry, the kimono obi can be either plain colored or richly decorated with sumptuous Japanese motifs. This accessory is an integral part of the traditional Japanese outfit and is made of a long strip of fabric, more or less wide and without any fastening system. To keep the belt in place, there are different ways to tie the obi, ranging from the simplest to the most complex. In general, tying an obi is quite an art and very few people master this ancestral skill nowadays. However, the elegance and grace of a kimono is partly due to the complexity of the obi knot.
To learn more about how to tie an obi knot, here is a quick and easy tutorial.
The bunko bow is the most popular traditional form of tying a woman's obi belt. This knot can be used with both a kimono and a yukata. A simple and elegant knot with a bow tie shape. Traditionally, this knot is tied with a fukuro obi, a formal obi belt measuring about 4 m long and 30 cm wide.
Following is a quick and easy 20-step tutorial on how to tie a woman's obi:
Note: To simplify the process of tying the obi, we recommend closing your kimono or yukata previously by using a thin strip of fabric or a cord. The obi belt will then be placed over this first discreet belt which has for only purpose to maintain the garment closed.
2. Put the tesaki over the right shoulder (you can hold this part with a clip) and wrap the tare part around your body, over the kimono folded waist area.
3. While holding the tesaki-tare junction at the navel level, tie the tare around the waist.
4. Depending on the length of your obi, wrap it one or two times around your waist. In order to keep a sufficient length for tying the knot, the remaining tare part should touch the ground.
5. While holding the tesaki-tare junction firmly with your left hand at the navel level so that the obi stays in place, pull the tare horizontally with your right hand in order to tighten the obi around your waist.
6. Fold the tare over your stomach and fold it in front of you, following the dotted line.
7. Unhook the tesaki part and tie a simple knot with the tare part.
8. Tighten the knot.
9. Twist the two parts to the vertical to make sure the knot stays in place. The tesaki should always remain above the tare.
10. Take the tare part and measure one shoulder width (this width will correspond to the width of the final bow tie).
11. Roll up the remaining tare part on itself, keeping the length unchanged.
12. Pinch the rolled part in the center to form a bow.
13. Pass the tesaki over the center of the bow.
14. Wrap the tesaki twice around the center to form the bow.
15. Pull up to tighten.
16. Wrap the remaining tesaki part around itself.
17. Tuck this rolled part underneath the bow tie. You can slip it under the obi belt for a better hold.
18. Adjust the shape of the bow to make it look good and symmetrical.
19. Hold your breath and slide the obi belt around your waist so that the knot is placed in the back.
20. Here you are with a magnificent bunko obi knot. Great job!
Sometimes visuals work better than a thousand words, which is why we've selected a short video that will allow you to get another glimpse on how to tie the bunko knot.
For those who don't have the time or the patience to learn how to tie an obi for women, Japan Avenue offers you a simple and efficient alternative: the pre-tied obi belt.
Made of a wide strip of fabric and a bunko knot to be fixed on the back, this obi belt will simplify your life. From now on, you will be able to wear your kimono or your yukata according to the rules of art without wasting time with the realization of the knot. In Japan, the pre-knotted belt is called tsuke obi and is very popular among the new generation. Discover without further delay our wide selection of pre-knotted traditional obi belts.
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