The Japanese kimono jacket was designed to be worn over a kimono, both for added insulation and to protect the kimono from the elements. Originally, men wore the kimono jacket as part of a formal hakama ensemble, which includes multiple pieces. Gradually, women began adopting the kimono jacket. In the early 21st century, some types of kimono jackets are still worn by men, some are only worn by women, and some are worn by both. Although original kimono jackets could be expensive and elaborate, lighter, more informal coats are popular as contemporary Japanese robes and loungewear.
The haori is half the length of the kimono, averaging 30 inches (76.2 cm) long, with the most formal haori being the longest and the most formal style, known as the kuro montsuki haori, reserved for funerals or graduations. Like kimonos, they are often elaborately patterned. The haori has kimono-style sleeves and a similar shape, and can be worn one of two ways — open, or closed and fastened together by a type of braided inner belt called a himo, which is either tied or hooked. Himo are expensive, so many men and women own one himo that can be detached and used on multiple haori. In modern Japan, haori are popular as robes and loungewear, and are frequently seen worn over Western-style outfits.
Like the haori, the michiyuki is another short kimono jacket. It has a three-quarter length and a square neck, and is normally worn by women. It usually fastens down the front using press studs and, like the haori, does not use an outer sash. They tend to be made of silk, satin or crape and often lack the elaborate patterns of kimono, though they sometimes may have a subtle Japanese pattern of checks or stripes.
Both men and women wear various types of light cotton kimono jacket during the summer, choosing the style depending on the type of activity. Happi, worn by both genders, are lightweight cotton coats with bright designs; they are worn to outdoor summer festivals. Hanten are similar light cotton jackets worn as livery by tradesmen and often have more subtle patterns. Both frequently have Japanese text characters called kanji printed on them.
Other types of kimono jacket used as outerwear by women include the square-necked ama and the thick douchuugi, which is lined with cotton batting as insulation against the cold. There is also the kimono raincoat, which is water-resistant and used to protect the formal kimono underneath. These are often made of synthetic fabric in contemporary society. Women also wear capes and shawls over their kimono, in a tradition borrowed from Western society.