I love my Jinbei. I’ve owned a lot of them over the years. In summer you can’t get me out of the thing. They are just so light and airy, with their open hatched seems and light cotton/hemp fabric.
For this page, I’ve gone through and looked a lot of the Japanese language pages about Jinbei, to gather information from the source. I’ll go through a bit of a background of the garment and then show you some of my favorites.
There is a long history of women wearing Kimonos as Japanese nightwear stretching back to the Japonism movement in Europe. Here’s a Klimt painting of a European woman in a kimono.
Jinbei are light cotton or hemp material top and bottom pairs that are made to be airy by including hatched gaps along the stitching. The great thing about Jinbei is that they pass both as pajamas and as casual wear that can be worn outside the house. In Japan, you sometimes see people wearing these at festivals, or around hot springs. A common pattern goes: relax in hot-bath, put Jinbei on for the evening, then wear them straight to bed.These garments are designed to be super cool for hot summer nights, loose fitting and comfy.
Another option to consider if you don’t want to go the whole top & bottom set is to get a Haori style kimono shirt or wrap around.
Are Jenbei worn by both men and women?
Cotton vs. Hemp
Traditionally Jinbei have tended to be worn mostly by men and children. Recently there are a lot of designs that have been made for women also, but the more robe-like Yukata (of which Jinbei are considered to be a sub genre of) are more common.
Many of the Jinbei are “unisex”. Indeed the only real difference between these Jinbei is the coloring and visual patterns.
Jinbei materials are roughly divided into cotton and hemp (linen), either of which may be 100% or mixed. The more cotton you have, the better it feels and the easier it is to clean. Hemp tends to wrinkle more than cotton, but will give you a breezier feel.
Some jinbei also use Japanese paper, “washi”, as a mixing material – especially in some of the more high end examples.
Types of Jinbei Fabric
A couple of fabrics you will see in Jinbei are Shijira and Waffle. Both are relatively crepe-like fabric that are not so much soft, as light on the skin and less likely to stick to the body.
Shijira features fine wrinkles created on the surface of a woven fabric by shrinking the vertical and horizontal thread.
When to wear Jinbei?
- In hot weather
- In bed as pajamas
- Going out to a festival
- Before and after a bath
What to wear with Jinbei?
Generally people wear open footwear with Jinbei in the form of Geta. Sandals will do the job just as well.
Jinbei vs. robe style Yukata
Jinbei are a bit closer to Western style clothing than a full blown robe-style Yukata. So they are a little bit less of an overt “statement”. They are also easier to slip on and off because you don’t have to worry about tying up your obi belt.
People often accessorize with tradional, such as a kinchakubukuro bag.
Now you’ve got all the info you need to embark on your quest for the perfect Jimbei. We’ve searched across the internet to find a selection across a range of outlets:
- Our top pick for women
- Quality materials and craftsmanship
- Distinctive Seigaha Pattern, at once classic and modern
- Soft, breathable cotton
- Aerated seams
- Seigaha pattern is one of the most traditional Japanese patterns around – so not a “statement” piece.
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- Classic, festive flower design
- 100% Cotton
- Comfortable fabric, elastic waist and relaxed fit
- 2 pockets on the both sides of the pants, a pocket on the left side of the top.
- No aerated seams
- May be too retro for some
- Highly unique “statement” Jinbei
- Features fox image on top. Foxes are frequently associated with shinto rituals in Japan.
- Highly aerated seems – great air flow
- Hard to find black Jimbei
- May be more appropriate for festivals and special occasions than everyday wear.
- Kawaii design
- 100% cotton
- No aerated seams
High quality cotton, all purpose Jinbei appropriate for outside use, bath wear or sleep wear.
- High quality materials and construction
- Classic traditional Japanese pattern
- Fully aerated seams
- elastic waste
- Patterning may be too “Loud” for some
Use Discount Code “japanoscope” for 15% discount from Foxtume
A light Jinbei appropriate for outside use, bath wear or sleep wear.
- Distinctive, reasonably priced jinbei
- Brown koi pattern is unusual
- very light material
- synthetic material easy to wash
- No aerated seems
- Non-natural materials don’t feel as nice
- No pocket
Quality traditional item with incorporating Japanese washi paper in materials.
- High-end, muted-tone Jinbei with 55% cotton and 45% Japanese Washi paper material!
- Aerated seams
- Made In Japan
- Relatively expensive
- Double stitched
- pockets on front, pant side and back
- Made in japan
- Rich color
A really stylish and refined Jinbei for people that want the “real deal”
- Several minimal color designs
- Outstanding aeration in seems
- Course-in-a-good-way “Jijiri Ori” Seersucker material
- Natural materials
- Not the cheapest option
- Cost effective
- 100% cotton
- Aerated seems
- Calligraphy meaning : 本気でやれば、何でもできる “Do your all and anything is possible”
- Aerated seems
- Reasonable Price
- High end item
- Cotton:55%, Japanese paper:45%
- Made in Japan
- Rich shijira black
- 2 piece
Overall, for women the Seigaha Ocean Wave Pattern Women’s Jinbei on Foxtume and for men the Foxtume Seigaha came out as our clear favorite.
If you’re looking for something a bit warmer, take a look at our Hanten page.
We’ve also got a page on male kimonos here.
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Look for more Jinbei options on Amazon
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Hi, I’m Peter. I lived in Japan for four years as a University student completing a Masters Degree in Musicology. I have succesfully completed the highest level of the Japanese Language Proficiency Test (N1). I have toured the country six times playing music and singing songs in Japanese and English.