how to fold a hakama

How to Fold a Hakama

Hakama is a traditional Japanese garment worn by both men and women. It is a wide, pleated skirt-like garment typically worn as part of formal attire, such as during martial arts practices or traditional ceremonies. Folding a hakama properly is essential to maintain its shape, preserve its fabric, and ensure easy storage. In this article, we will guide you through the step-by-step process of how to fold a hakama.

Steps to Fold a Hakama

Before we delve into the folding process, let’s first understand what a hakama is and why it is crucial to fold it properly. A hakama is a garment consisting of a wide skirt-like portion and two long ties used to secure it around the waist. It is often made of a durable fabric and features pleats, giving it a distinct and elegant appearance.

Folding a hakama correctly is essential for several reasons. Firstly, it helps maintain the pleats and overall shape of the garment. Proper folding prevents the pleats from becoming misaligned or flattened, ensuring the hakama retains its traditional aesthetic appeal. Secondly, folding the hakama properly makes it easier to store and transport, as it takes up less space and minimizes the risk of wrinkles or damage.

Step 1: Preparation

Before folding your hakama, ensure you have a clear and spacious area to work in. This will allow you to unfold and lay out the hakama fully without obstructions. Ensure that the hakama is clean and dry before starting the folding process. If there are any wrinkles or creases, gently iron the hakama on a low heat setting to smoothen it out.

Step 2: Laying out the Hakama

Start by unfolding the hakama completely, laying it flat on a clean surface. Smooth any wrinkles or creases using your hands or gently patting. This step ensures the fabric is free from unwanted folds, making the folding process easier and more effective.

Step 3: Folding the Hakama Lengthwise

To begin the folding process, fold the hakama in half vertically. Fold one side of the hakama over the other, aligning the edges and corners as closely as possible. This step helps create a defined centerline and prepares the hakama for the subsequent folding steps.

Step 4: Folding the Hakama Horizontally

Next, fold the hakama in half horizontally. Take the bottom edge of the hakama and fold it upward, bringing it closer to the top edge. Ensure that the hakama pleats are on the inside during this folding process. Smooth out any wrinkles or unevenness as you go along.

Step 5: Creating the Zigzag Foldhow to fold a hakama

Now comes the intricate part of folding a hakama. Begin by folding the hakama in a zigzag pattern, starting from one side and moving towards the other. Take the left side of the hakama and fold it diagonally towards the centerline. Then, fold the right side similarly, crossing over the left fold. Continue alternating the folding direction until the entire hakama is folded in a neat zigzag pattern.

Step 6: Tying the Hakama

To secure the folded hakama, you can use a tie or string specifically designed for hakama folding. Take the tie or string and wrap it around the folded hakama, ensuring it is tight enough to securely hold the folds. Double-check that the folds remain intact and the hakama is securely fastened before proceeding to the next step.

Step 7: Storing the Hakama

Once you have tied the hakama, it is ready for storage. Place the folded hakama in a storage bag or drawer, preferably in a cool and dry area. Avoid exposing the hakama to direct sunlight or excessive moisture, as these can potentially damage the fabric over time. Storing the hakama properly ensures its longevity and keeps it in optimal condition for future use.

Troubleshooting Tips

If you encounter wrinkles or creases while folding the hakama, don’t panic. Gently unfold the affected area and smooth it out with your hands. Take time to readjust the folds and ensure the fabric is even and wrinkle-free before folding.

If some pleats are particularly stubborn and refuse to lay flat, lightly mist the area with water using a spray bottle. The moisture can help relax the fabric and make it more pliable, allowing you to adjust the gathers more easily. Remember not to soak the hakama or use excessive water, which can damage the fabric.


Folding a hakama properly is a skill that takes practice and patience. Following the step-by-step process outlined in this article, you can ensure that your hakama remains in excellent condition and retains its traditional elegance. Take your time during the folding process, paying attention to the details and ensuring that each fold is neat and secure. With practice, you will become proficient in folding your hakama effortlessly.

Remember, folding a hakama is not only about preserving the garment but also an opportunity to appreciate its beauty and craftsmanship. Embrace the tradition and take pride in the meticulous folding process. With proper care and attention, your hakama will continue to accompany you on your martial arts journey or any ceremonial occasion for years to come.

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