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A samurai warrior must not only be strong mentally and physically, but also look beautiful. That's why his clothes are a special outfit that was chosen carefully.

Samurai casual wear

The appearance of the samurai was different, based on the situation. For example, for daily wear, clothes were used, consisting of 3 main elements:

kimono: shoulder robe;

hakama: belt element;

haori: a cape that had the same straight cut as a kimono.

All these parts of clothing were made in dark or black.

Khakami were worn over the kimono. These are trousers of a special cut, which were very similar to wide trousers. At the same time, these pants were sewn in different lengths. The length of the product depended on the status of the samurai. For example, ordinary samurai wore short khakami pants, but upper-class warriors wore elongated khakami. The pants were so long that they dragged across the floor.

In military campaigns, so that long clothes do not interfere, they were tucked into the belt or greaves.

And the final touch - haori: put on a kimono and khakami on top. Haori were sewn from dark fabrics, and were decorated with a white bow in front. A distinctive feature of such clothes was a special cut: a small cut at the bottom of the back.

Thus, khaki, complete with haori, created the composition of the solemn attire of a samurai warrior.

Formal samurai costume

When a samurai attended an important event, his outfit had a different look. So over the “haori-hakama” a tight cape without sleeves was put on. An important feature of such a cape was well-starched shoulders of large sizes. Such a cape was referred to as a "kataginu". The hakama and katagina formed the samurai's formal dress for a special occasion.

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Samurai headdress

In many drawings, samurai are depicted without headdresses. However, when visiting the palace of the feudal lord, the samurai without fail put on a hat. In everyday life, many samurai wore cone-shaped straw hats. Such a hat completely covered the face of the samurai, and thus the warrior remained unrecognizable in public places.

The Twilight Samurai2

The samurai also used the amigaso straw hat, which had the appearance of a low wide cone and a small window in front. It was through this window that the samurai could see others.

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The original form was the headdress of the members of the so-called Komuso brotherhood. It was a closed fraternity of itinerant monks, where samurai were also accepted. The headdress of the members of this brotherhood resembled a beehive.

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The straw hat is not the only accessory that the samurai used in their daily lives. For example, an important accessory was a wide umbrella made of bamboo and oiled paper. The umbrella was used during bad weather or active sun.

Samurai shoes

What did the samurai wear? Classic shoes are straw sandals with leather soles. They were called - setta.

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In heavy rains, other shoes were used - geta: wooden sandals.

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Such shoes differed in the height of the socle supports. In addition to these shoes, shields with cords were attached, which served as protection for the toes from dirt.

A very important point: all types of shoes were equipped with special straps and combined with special cut-out socks.

Family crest on samurai clothes

Particular attention was paid to the family coat of arms - kamon. For every samurai, the family coat of arms was a very expensive and significant symbol. He emphasized the lineage of a warrior and was passed down from generation to generation along with the name. Many coats of arms had ancient origins: some of them went back to the beginning of the 2nd millennium BC.

Such a symbol was applied to the upper kimono, which was worn on the lower white. This element was applied in five places: on the chest and back (front and back), between the shoulders, and also on the sleeves. However, it is not uncommon for outerwear to be completely decorated with family coats of arms. For this decor, a special paint was used. In the future, the family coat of arms was applied to other accessories of the samurai.

Regarding the appearance of the coat of arms, it was based on different life stories. It could be celestial bodies or stars, representatives of flora and fauna, various geometric shapes, elements of culture. Each element was endowed with a special magical power. After all, the coat of arms was supposed not only to emphasize the status of the samurai, but also to be his kind of talisman.


See also

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    Ueda Castle in Nagano Prefecture once stood prominently on a cliff overlooking the Saigawa River. Also known as Amagafuchi-Jo, Isesaki-Jo, Matsuo-Jo, and Sanada-Jo, it was built around 1583 by its first master, Sanada Masayuki. This sturdy yet small fortress cleverly utilized the surrounding natural defenses, including the river, steep rocky cliffs, the layout of the town below, and the strategically designed waterways to hinder attackers. Ueda Castle was fortified with seven defensive yagura (watchtowers) atop robust stone walls and had two large gates with watchtowers above them.

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  • Tsuyama Castle

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    Tsuyama Castle, located in Tsuyama City, Okayama Prefecture, is celebrated as one of Japan's top three major hilltop (Hirayama) castles, alongside Himeji and Matsuyama Castles. Originally, Tsuyama Castle comprised 77 structures, including the main keep, various yagura (watchtowers), gates, palaces, and living quarters. For comparison, Hiroshima Castle had 76 structures, and Himeji had 61. The first castle on this site was built in 1441 but was soon abandoned. The large-scale construction that we recognize today began in 1603 under the orders of Mori Tadamasa. The castle served as the administrative base for the Tsuyama Han daimyo, the Mori clan from 1603 to 1697, and the Matsudaira clan from 1698 to 1871.

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  • Tsu Castle

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    Tsu Castle, located in Tsu City, Mie Prefecture, was originally built by Hosono Fujiatsu in 1558 and was known as Anotsu Castle, named after the old region. The site was strategically chosen at the confluence of the Ano and Iwata Rivers, which naturally formed a moat around the castle, while the nearby port served as a vital trade route.

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  • Sasayama Castle

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    Tamba Sasayama Castle, also known as Sasayama or Kirigajo (Mist Castle), is a flatland castle (hira-jiro) situated on a gentle rise in the Tamba region of Hyogo Prefecture. It was constructed in 1608 as part of Tokugawa Ieyasu's strategy to prepare for an attack on Osaka, aiming to bring an end to the Toyotomi clan. Ieyasu ordered the castle's construction using the Tenka Bushin system, engaging 20 former enemy daimyo and their forces to complete the complex within six months. This system kept the former enemies close and preoccupied, financially straining them and limiting their capacity for further conflict. The stones used in Sasayama Castle feature engravings called kokumon, indicating who made each part of the walls and preventing theft by other lords' men.

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  • Sadowara Castle

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    Sadowara Castle in Miyazaki Prefecture was a mountaintop yamajiro castle, initially built by the Tajima clan during the Nanboku-Cho period (1334-1394). As was typical of castles from that era, Mt. Kakusho, the chosen mountain, was terraced to create various baileys, or kuruwa. While defensive structures were constructed at the top and around the mountain, the lord's main living quarters and administrative offices were situated at the mountain's base.

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  • Osaka Castle

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    Osaka Castle is a prominent symbol of Osaka City, originally constructed in 1583 by Toyotomi Hideyoshi on the site of the Ishiyama Hongan-ji temple-fortress, which had been the scene of a violent uprising by warrior monks and peasants in the late 16th century. Modeled on Oda Nobunaga’s Azuchi Castle, the original Osaka Castle tenshu (tower keep) featured five visible floors, six interior floors, and two underground basements. The exterior was lacquered black and adorned with gold decorations, including large peony flowers, tigers, birds, and various crests.

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  • Okazaki Castle

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    The Shogun, Tokugawa Ieyasu, was born in Okazaki Castle in 1542 during a period of significant civil unrest. At that time, the Tokugawa, then known as the Matsudaira, controlled the rice-rich Mikawa plains of what is now eastern Aichi Prefecture. This fertile region was highly coveted by surrounding warlords. Ieyasu, a shrewd leader and brilliant tactician, managed to maintain and expand his territories. Following in the footsteps of other national unifiers, Oda Nobunaga and Toyotomi Hideyoshi, Ieyasu emerged victorious at the decisive Battle of Sekigahara in 1600. In 1603, he was invested as Shogun, a title he made hereditary, enabling the Tokugawa family to rule Japan for the next 250 years.

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  • Ogaki Castle

    Ogaki-Castle.jpg

    Ogaki Castle, located in Ogaki City, Gifu Prefecture, was originally built around 1500 by Miyakawa Yasusada and named Ushiya Castle due to the Ushiya River serving as a natural moat. The castle was also known as Bi Castle and Kyoroku Castle. The Ogaki region held strategic importance as a transit point between Mino and Omi Provinces, a fact recognized by Saito Dosan, the Viper of Mino. When Oda Nobunaga captured Gifu Castle in 1567, Ogaki Castle came under Oda rule. Both Nobunaga and Toyotomi Hideyoshi understood the strategic significance of the castle. In 1595, Hideyoshi ordered Ito Sukemori to expand the castle and construct the Tenshu keep.

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