An obi is a kimono belt. It's style has changed over the years with the aim of making it easier to wear and put on.
Maru Obi- The maru obi is the most formal obi, it is the widest obi (approx 13 inches) and is very long with the pattern on both sides along it's length. In the middle of the 20th century it developed into the Fukuro obi, which is lighter in weight and more comfortable to wear. The pattern on it appears on the parts of the fabric that can be seen when the obi is worn. It can still be worn on ceremonial occasions but is also used for more casual wear.
Nagoya obi- the Nagoya obi became popular in the Taisho era (1912-1926). it has a narrow part for around the waist and a wide part for the decoration at the back of the wearer. Again it is easier to put on and more comfortable than the heavy Maru obi.
Hanhaba obi- the Hanhaba obi is half the width of the Maru obi and is worn for comfort with the casual kimono.
All obi make wonderful interior design statements. The textile collector will find all the Japanese Handicraft techniques used to decorate different obi, woven silk, embroidery and Yuzen dyeing to name a few.