What’s obi?

A kimono obi is a traditional Japanese sash worn with a kimono. It plays a significant role in the overall aesthetic and functionality of the kimono ensemble.

Design and Appearance:

The obi is typically a long, wide strip of fabric that can range in length from about 3.5 to 4.2 meters (approx.. 11.5 to 13.8 feet) and in width from about 30 to 35 centimeters (approx.. 12 to 14 inches).

It comes in a variety of patterns, colors, and textures, often complementing the kimono's design. Common motifs include floral patterns, geometric designs, and traditional Japanese symbols.


Obis are made from various materials, including silk, brocade, and satin. The choice of material often depends on the formality of the occasion and the type of kimono worn.
Formal obis are usually made from luxurious fabrics with intricate weaves and embroidery, while casual obis may use simpler materials and designs.


The obi serves both decorative and functional purposes. It secures the kimono in place, accentuates the waist, and adds an elegant touch to the overall outfit.
Different occasions call for different obis, and the way it is tied can indicate the wearer's age, marital status, and the event's formality.

Historical Context:

The obi has evolved over centuries, with its current form becoming popular during the Edo period (1603-1868). Initially, obis were much narrower and simpler but became wider and more elaborate over time.

Overall, the kimono obi is an essential component of traditional Japanese attire, reflecting the wearer's taste, the occasion's formality, and the rich cultural heritage of Japan.

Stories of Japanese patterns


let us explore more about the meanings of each pattern, and the stories that follow each patterns.



Obico fabric gallery


Introducing a variety of obi fabrics available at obico