Happi coats originated as Japanese over coats traditionally worn by shop keepers. The family crest, shop name or emblem was printed on the back of the coat. Today, happi coats are still used by some shop keepers, however happi coats are widely used for Japanese festivals, parties and sushi restaurants.
In the past decade, the happi coat has also taken on a new use as a "robe". Manufacturers now make short versions of the traditional yukata and kimono solely for use as a short robe. The short robe is called a happi. Today, the term happi is used for any short or mid-length clothing. The happi has become very popular for use as beach robes, night attire and bath robes for they are very attractive. Happi coats and happi robes come in a variety of colors and designs from a simple single color fabric with a small embroidered symbol to an elaborate four color printed design.
Happi coats used mainly for Japanese festivals are called matsuri happi coats meaning "festival" coat. The happi coats come in a variety of styles and colors both imprinted or plain. Some have a kanji symbol on the back, others have an imprinted scenery or they are a solid print of one or two colors. Matsuri happi coats are traditionally worn over a t-shirt with shorts or pants.