[Geometric patterns] Unveiling the Meanings behind Kimono Patterns!

Discover the captivating realm of kimono patterns, where traditions are woven into fabric, revealing stories of generations past. Selecting a kimono becomes an enchanting journey when we delve into the significance behind these patterns.

In this article, we will explain the meanings of 10 different kimono patterns, providing you with a comprehensive understanding. As you embark on your kimono selection process, let the cultural and symbolic depth of these patterns guide you, elevating your experience to a whole new level of enjoyment and meaning.

Geometric patterns, a category that holds a mesmerizing allure, are characterized by the rhythmic repetition of shapes such as lines, triangles, diamonds, squares, and circles. These patterns evoke the essence of nature, reminiscent of swaying hemp leaves or cobblestones. While their simplicity makes them easy to comprehend, their visual impact is anything but ordinary. Adorning a kimono with these geometric patterns not only adds a sense of neatness and orderliness but also creates a shimmering effect that exudes an undeniable sense of style. Prepare to unravel the secrets and elegance of these geometric motifs as we embark on a journey of discovery.

Meanings behind Kimono Patterns 1 : Blue ocean wave

【Wishes for long-lasting happiness and peace】

The pattern is made up of a series of triple semicircles, representing waves. It is an auspicious pattern with the wish that peaceful life will continue forever like the quiet waves. There are many variations, such as patterns combined with pine trees and seasonal flowers, or expressed in the silhouette of a snowflake. It is also used for formal kimonos and obis.

Meanings behind Kimono Patterns 2:Turtle Shell(亀甲)

【Long life】

The tortoiseshell pattern, characterized by interconnected hexagons resembling a tortoise shell, is a revered kimono motif symbolizing longevity. This geometric design offers intriguing variations, such as the 'child tortoiseshell' pattern with nested motifs and the 'Bishamon tortoiseshell' pattern combining three hexagons to form a mountain-like shape. Beyond their visual appeal, these intricate patterns hold deep symbolic meaning, reminding us of the importance of resilience and enduring life's challenges. When selecting a kimono, consider these captivating tortoiseshell patterns as symbols of strength and the pursuit of a fulfilling and lasting life.

Meanings behind Kimono Patterns 3:Shippō(しっぽう)

【Prosperity, happiness and harmony】

This pattern consists of four circles of the same size stacked on top of one wheel and joined together, and is also known as 'cloisonne connection' or 'circle difference'. Circles and rings have been prized since ancient times as perfect figures, as they have no beginning and no end. It is often used on ceremonial kimonos and obis as an auspicious design to wish for 'prosperity', 'happiness' and 'harmony', as it signifies an unbroken chain of eternity and expansion. The cloisonne hoganbishi design, in which a water chestnut is placed at the centre of the cloisonne, is also well-known.

Meanings behind Kimono Patterns 4:麻の葉(あさのは)

【Wishes for protection against evil and for the healthy growth of children】

A geometric pattern based on regular hexagons, the name derives from its resemblance to the leaves of the hemp plant. It became very popular in the late Edo period (Bunka-Bunsei era) when it was used for Kabuki costumes. The hemp leaf grows quickly and straight, so it is meant to ward off evil and to wish for the smooth growth of children.

Meanings behind Kimono Patterns 5:立涌(たてわく・たてわき)

【Increase in fortune】

A striped pattern of curves on waves arranged opposite each other. It is said to be a pattern of rising steam, which is considered a good omen, and means that luck is flourishing and there are signs of an upswing.

The pattern is contained in the bulging part of the wavy line, and typical examples include 'Kumo tachiwaku' with auspicious clouds, 'Kiri tachiwaku' with paulownia trees, and 'Namatachiwaku' with waves.

Meanings behind Kimono Patterns 6:鱗(うろこ)

【Repellent against evil and bad influence】

This pattern consists of triangles connected horizontally and diagonally and is derived from the fact that they look like scales. It is believed to have the meaning of repelling evil and was used on kimonos, lintels and armour.

It is especially customary for women to wear it as a protection against evil.

Meanings behind Kimono Patterns 7:Checked pattern(いちまつ)


The pattern consists of alternating squares of different colours. It is believed to mean 'prosperity', as the pattern continues uninterrupted.

Formerly called 'stone pavement' or 'hail', the name is said to have come from the Edo period kabuki actor Ichimatsu Sanogawa, who liked to wear it as a stage costume.

Meanings behind Kimono Patterns 8:籠目(かごめ)

【Repellent against evil and bad influence】

This pattern is derived from the netting of bamboo baskets. It is believed to have the meaning of warding off evil and evil spirits, as it looks like a series of six-pointed stars.

Associated with the 'snake basket', which was filled with stones and used as a sandbag, it is often combined with water animals and plants such as reeds, willows and water birds.

Meanings behind Kimono Patterns 9:紗綾形(さやがた)

【Prosperity and longevity】

This is a pattern in which the Sanskrit word for swastika is transformed into a diamond shape and intricately joined together. The name "Saaya-kata" derives from the fact that it was used on a silk fabric called Saaya, which came from the Ming Dynasty in the Muromachi to Momoyama periods, and is also known as Manjigakureshi, Manjizugi, Raimon Tsunagi and Hishimanji.

This pattern has the meaning of uninterrupted longevity and wishes for family prosperity and longevity. The 'honmon' pattern, which combines chrysanthemum and columns in a gauze shape, is often used as a pattern (jimon) for delaine kimonos.

Meanings behind Kimono Patterns 10:網代(あじろ)


Ajiro is a net of long, thin cypress boards, reeds and bamboo woven lengthwise, crosswise or diagonally and used as a device for catching fish in rivers. The Ajiro pattern is a design of this Ajiro, which is meant to ward off evil spirits.

This pattern has been widely used for indoor decorations such as ceilings and wallpaper since ancient times. In kimono, it is often used in komon dyed patterns and woven kasuri patterns.

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