Once worn by high-ranking women, uchikake are a type of richly embroidered outer kimono which are commonly used in Japan on formal occasions, such as weddings.
These highly decorated kimono are worn without an obi sash and are lined in silk with a wadded hem. They feature a wealth of patterns, images and motifs with auspicious meanings: for example, they are frequently decorated with floral imagery associated with longevity, happiness or success. The elaborate array of designs includes flowers and plants associated with particular seasons, like the ‘Seven Flowers of Autumn’ (aki no nanakusa), which can be found on a wide range of decorative textiles or lacquerware.
Using the illustrations on this downloadable Japan House London worksheet, which include a range of Japanese plants and flower patterns that are common in uchikake designs, you can colour in our uchikake layout or be inspired to create your own design.
We encourage all people who download the worksheet to share their finished cards on Instagram, Facebook or Twitter using #japanhouselondon and tag us using @japanhouseldn.
Illustrations in this worksheet are inspired by illustrations of flowers and plants found in the works Honzō Zufu (Illustrated Guide to Plants) by Iwasaki Kan’en (1786-1842), Sanjūrokkasen (Thirty-Six Selected Flowers) by Kisai Risshō (Utagawa Hiroshige II) (1826-1869) and Baien Sōmokuka-fu (Baien Atlas of Flowers and Plants) by Mōri Baien (1798–1851), all preserved in the Digital Collections of the National Diet Library of Japan.