See Everything from Kyoto’s Traditional Umbrellas to Raingear Conveniences!
Japan is apparently number one in the world for most umbrellas per person. This is said to be not because of the heavy rainfall amount but as a result of our long tradition for umbrellas since the Edo period (1603-1868). Our important notes on traditional umbrellas will help you make your purchases.
1. Teruteru Bozu
Since ancient times, Japan has prayed for better weather tomorrow and hung dolls made from white cloths—called “teruteru bozu”—from the house eaves. They say it’ll rain if you draw a face but the implication of cuteness and art means nowadays there are many with faces.
2. Umbrella Conveniences
When you hang an umbrella by its handle, the balance is off and it’s likely to fall. But if you use this hanger, you’ll have excellent balance no matter where you are! This novelty item is flourishing for people who have a lot of luggage or are buying tickets from the station.
This umbrella closes on the outside. It might be unseemly but you won’t get you or the people around you wet. It’s a completely inverted idea. It’s extra convenient because it can even stand on its own without any support when it’s closed.
3. Japanese traditional umbrellas
There are many who feel Japanese traditional umbrellas are beautiful. Cheap traditional umbrellas won’t have oil added as a waterproof finish to use as actual raingear so you’ll get wet. Be sure to check thoroughly before you buy.
Also, the rule is you hold it by the uppermost tip when it’s closed (called the “ishizuki”). This is opposite to normal umbrellas. If you do it wrong, it’s bad form and the umbrella may open on its own.
Wearing a kimono when it’s hot is tough. Okibariyasu! (The Kyoto version of “ganbatte kudasai,” meaning “do your best!”)