Japanese Kimono vs Okinawan Ryuso??

When you think of traditional Japanese outfits, the colorful Kimono will most probably come to mind, but did you know that Okinawa has its own traditional and unique version?

Here at Ryukyu Wedding, we have 3 different kinds of formal wedding kimonos for you to wear for your photoshoot! Let’s take a look at all of them!

3 kinds of formal wedding kimonos

That’s right, we have 3 different kinds of formal Kimono here in our studio! We have the traditional Okinawan Ryuso, and two kinds of traditional Japanese Kimono: the pure white Shiromuku, and the colorful Iro-Uchikake.

Let’s take a look at the differences between them!

Okinawan Ryuso

The Okinawan Ryuso is colorful, vibrant, and as a result, so youthful ♡ A very traditional Okinawan outfit that dates back to the Ryukyu Kingdom, it was inspired by not only the Japanese Kimono, but also the Chinese Hanfu!

Formal women’s & men’s Ryuso

Ryuso is designed for Okinawa’s humid and warm climate — Usually made out of lightweight cloth and having wide, open sleeves to help with airflow.

The designs printed on women’s Ryuso are often traditional Bingata art, which feature various Okinawan flora and symbols. Bingata itself was probably inspired by the Indonesian art of Batik!

Ryuso with vibrant Bingata art

This makes the Ryuso such a wonderful and unique blend of cultures. It’s truly a wonderful representative of the vibrancy of the culture of the Ryukyu Kingdom and also modern Okinawan culture!

Japanese Kimono – Shiromuku

For women, formal wedding kimonos comes in two main styles: the pure white Shiromuku and the vibrant Iro-Uchikake. Let’s take a look at the Shiromuku first!

Pure white formal wedding kimono – Shiromuku

The Shiromuku is traditionally worn during wedding ceremonies in Shinto shrines, an extremely formal event, but many couples these days are also opting to wear it for their wedding photos!

Let me take care of you~

The Shiromuku is a symbol of not only purity of the soul, but also elegance, maturity, and class. It’s no wonder that it’s the favourite among our couples who have chosen Kimono for their photos!

Japanese Kimono – Iro-Uchikake

The vibrant sister of the Shiromuku, the Iro-Uchikake is another traditional formal wedding kimono worn by brides on their wedding day. Traditionally worn as a reception kimono after the Shinto shrine ceremony where the Shiromuku is worn, today many brides wear the Iro-Uchikake for both as well.

Two different styles of the Iro-Uchikake, the colorful wedding Kimono

Unlike the Shiromuku, the Iro-Uchikake comes in a variety of colors and designs. The most common color is red, as it is a symbol of a bride’s rebirth from a girl into a wife, the foundation of the household in Japanese culture.

Hand-in-hand, as husband and wife

Unlike white in the West, the vibrant red is often traditionally worn in many Asian cultures by brides to signify their passage from singlehood into marriage.

Men’s Ryuso & Kimono

Unlike bridal Ryuso and Kimono, the versions worn by grooms lean a little more simpler and have less variety. We’re so sorry, grooms! We didn’t create this! We’re just carriers and messengers of this culture! 😭

But what men’s Ryuso and Kimono lack in variety and complexity, they make up in timeless, classic elegance.

Men’s Ryuso & Haori

Ryukyuan emperors traditionally wear gold Ryuso, which is why the gold Ryuso is most popular among our grooms!

For Kimono, the version worn by grooms are often called the Haori (jacket). These are worn with Hakama (bottoms). Many of our non-Japanese grooms have commented on how comfortable the Haori and Hakama are!

Studio Photoshoot

All of our Kimono and Ryuso packages come with a Studio Photoshoot, as there are a lot of traditional poses to be done in them! Let’s take a look!

Sitting seiza on a red carpet in Ryuso

This is the main traditional pose done at the beginning of your photoshoot, right after the Ryuso or Kimono is put on! It is traditionally done by the bride and groom to greet their family and loved ones as a newly married couple.

While the paper umbrellas and fans are traditional for the Kimono, and the Hanagasa (traditional Okinawan hat) is traditional for the Ryuso, our couples also do like to add other props to this traditional pose!

After the studio shoot, our couples will head out to either the beach or a location of their choice!

Ryukyu Castle Ruins – UNESCO Heritage sites

When in Okinawa, why not wear a Ryuso or Kimono and have your wedding photos taken in one of Okinawa’s traditional castles? All of the Ryukyu Castle Ruins are UNESCO Heritage sites, the outer walls perfectly preserved ever since the 1400s.

Wearing Ryuso and holding a Hanagasa (traditional hat)

The castle ruins add so much originality to your wedding photos, as there’s nothing else quite like it in Okinawa, or even Japan! With its characteristic stone walls and wide, open walkways, it will look like you’ve traveled through time, especially while wearing a Ryuso or Kimono!

Sharing a kiss

Traditional Ryukyu Village

Another traditional location is the Murasaki Mura Village, which is modelled after a traditional Ryukyuan Village. With its vibrant red buildings and stone paths, it too will add so much uniqueness to your wedding photos!

Taking a break at a traditional Ryukyu house

If you come to Okinawa during the wintertime, you will also get to witness Murasaki Mura covered in traditional red lanterns! These lanterns are historically used to light up Okinawa’s dark winters, and are now prepared every year to preserve the culture!

Walking under the lanterns in Shiromuku & Haori

You can read more about the Ryukyu Lantern Festival on our blog here!

Tropical beach all year round

Even in the thick of winter, Okinawa still remains relatively warm! Snow won’t ever fall, and while cloudy days do outnumber sunny days, the weather remains pleasant enough to capture tropical beach vibes!

It’s no wonder than our couples choose the beach as a location for their Kimono and Ryuso pictures!

Vibrant Ryuso under the bright blue skies!

While it can be hard for brides to move around in the formal Kimonos – the Shiromuku and Iro-Uchikake, the Ryuso is perfect for having fun on the beach with your best friend!

Posing with their handmade Shisa!

But even so, lots of brides don’t let the weight and multiple layers of the Kimonos from stopping them from having a good time!

Welcome~ to our wedding!

Anyway, I’m not gonna bore you more by talking about the beach. It’s the beach! There’s sand and sea and blue skies! Take a look!

Ryuso & Kimono Packages

Package: Okinawa-Western Set Package

Photos: 300
Outfits: 1 set Ryuso + 1 set dress+tuxedo
Locations: Studio + 2 Outdoors
Also includes: 2 bridal hairstyles + bridal makeup, Ryuso fitting & styling, assistant on shoot, all props and accessories

Package: Japanese-Western Set Package

Photos: 300
Outfits: 1 set Kimono + 1 set dress+tuxedo
Locations: Studio + 2 Outdoors
Also includes: 2 bridal hairstyles + bridal makeup, Ryuso fitting & styling, assistant on shoot, all props and accessories

Package: Okinawa Ryuso Package

Photos: 100
Outfits: 1 set Ryuso (bride & groom)
Locations: Studio + 1 beach
Also includes: Bridal hairstyle + bridal makeup, Ryuso fitting & styling, assistant on shoot, all props and accessories

Package: Japanese Kimono Package

Photos: 100
Outfits: 1 set Kimono (bride & groom)
Locations: Studio + 1 beach
Also includes: Bridal hairstyle + bridal makeup, Kimono fitting & styling, assistant on shoot, all props and accessories

English Support Available

We have bilingual English-speaking staff available to help you from booking all the way to the day of your shoot! Be sure to book early so we can make sure that we’ll be able to support you on your special day ♡

Ryukyu Wedding also accepts free online consultations.
Since it's by appointment, please register on our official LINE-Official first and text us! OR, We have Whats App as well to accepts free online consultations.

We look forward to hearing from you!

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Author of this article

Hi! I'm Zarifah, Ryukyu Wedding's translator and graphic & album designer!

I'm fluent in English, Malay, and Japanese, and I'd be honored to help you create your perfect wedding memories 💌