All About Japan

Style Yourself in Tenpyo Clothing

Temples Fashion Temples & Shrines Nara

While kimono rental shops are quite common in Japan, it’s rare to find a place offering clothing characteristic of the Nara Period (710–794) of Japanese history, also known as Tenpyo clothing. The term Tenpyo denotes the specific years between 729 and 749 under the reign of Emperor Shomu-tenno.

At the newly opened Shozoku Sanpo 710, or Costume Walk 710, located on the first floor of Kiratto Nara Shopping Center just a few minutes’ walk from Kintetsu Nara Station, you can experience what it would have been like to dress as an aristocrat during those bygone days. The people running Shozoku Sanpo 710 have thoroughly researched ancient Japanese clothing and faithfully recreated authentic garb based on contemporary literature and art from the Nara Period.

This particular style of dress is very easy to move around in, unlike the 12-layered junihitoe kimono worn by court ladies of the subsequent Heian Period (794–1185). Furthermore, the shop offers a full line of choices for men, women and children, so you can enjoy the experience with friends, your significant other or your entire family to boot!

You can mix and match your costume from various pieces of clothing found within the shop. Take some time to choose the perfect colors that suit you from dozens of vivid hues. The staff at hand are also happy to assist you if you’re having trouble deciding on which colors will match you best.

The prices range depending on which services you want. If you’d like to simply dress up in the shop and take some pictures there, it’s ¥1,000 for men, women and children alike. If, however, you’d like to take a one-hour stroll around the city after dressing in your new-ancient garb, the cost is ¥2,500 for men and boys and ¥3,000 for women and girls. Compared to hourly kimono rentals that can run upwards of ¥8,000, renting Tenpyo clothing is quite the bargain!

Although putting on a modern kimono can take a painfully long time, it takes no more than a few minutes to finish putting on a Tenpyo-style dress. Even hair, fashioned using a clip accessory to mimic the style of the Nara Period, takes only a short time to prepare. The shop also lends out a sashiha, or a fan-shaped object, which was used to conceal the faces of nobles.

After you're done, just two minutes on foot from the shop is the Kofuku-ji Temple complex where you can take your portraits to get more of an ancient look.

On a final note, note that Shozoku Sanpo 710 does not lend shoes for you to wear, so please come prepared with some kind of footwear that would be fairly inconspicuous with your outfit.

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