Any first time visitor to Japan will be struck by that most beautiful symbol of its ancient culture: the kimono. This book contains a selection of the numerous encounters photographer Paul van Riel had with people wearing kimono all over Japan. Although the popularity of the kimono has dwindled somewhat the last twenty five years, the national garment of Japan is still deeply rooted in Japanese culture, as these photographs testify. In the introduction Liza Dalby describes the kimono's transformation from daily clothing to formal wear over the vourse of the 20th century. Her personal experiences give us a glimpse of the meanings the kimono has for the geisha.