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How to Tie a Drum Obi

This is a Nagoya Obi. The Nagoya Obi is partially narrowed and stitched in half. The narrow part goes around the waist, called the tare. The wider part of the obi forms the bow, called the otaiko. There are are hundreds of ways to tie an obi. Each can be individualized by the wearer for a distinctive and original design as the vintage kimono and the personal wearing them.

Throw the end of the tare, the thinner part of the obi, over the shoulder.

 Begin wrapping the obi around the waist.

The tare is wrapped around the waist twice. If the obi has a decoration on the tare, be sure the decoration is centered in front.

Tie the obi and pull the bow part out and smooth out the gathers from the knot.


Allow the tail section to drop down.

You pull up the wide part and fold it, making sure that the design is centered.

Insert the makura, or obi pad, under the top fold.

Fasten the makura around the waist.

You must tuck in the makura ties in the front so it is not noticeable.

This is what you have accomplished thus far.

Cover the makura with the obiage, wrap it around the waist to the front, and tie it in a nice knot.

Fold up and under, making the drum part of the bow and hold it in place. See the end of the tare hanging down?

Now you pass the end of the tare through the drum, being careful not to mash the drum all out of shape.

Pass the obijime through the drum.

Tie it in front.

Tie the obijume with a fancy knot.

Adjust the obi and bow so that they lay flat and neat. crisp.

Now it is time for some final adjustments. Adjust the knot, tuck the obiage down into the obi leaving a little showing, and finally loop the loose ends of the obijime back into the obijime.

Finished front

Finished back

Examples of Different Drum Designs