These days, the Japanese only wear kimonos special occasions. But Kyoto is one of the few places where people regularly wear them. The local government encourages its residents (and tourists!) to wear kimonos by offering discounts and/or free entry at temples, museums, on public transportation and even restaurants.
Kyoto is the textile capitol of Japan and the ancient art of kimono painting is slowing dying away. You can visit the Kyoto Museum of Traditional Crafts to learn more about the origins of the kimono. You can buy beautiful pieces at shops in town (its an investment!) or visit the Marumasu Nishimuraya factory where you can make your own kimono-style product.
Kyoto is a wonderful place to people watch and appreciate the delicate beauty of the kimono.