What is the difference between a Kimono and a Yukata in traditional Japanese clothing?
Yukata is a summer kimono, traditionally worn as informal dress. It is generally thin cotton cloth that like a robe hangs from the shoulders without any sleeves. It normally of light colors, and has an open back for cooling or to show off the lining color if it is designed that way on both sides. The yukata can be used both day and night comfortably in most climates with just a pair slippers being needed to complete plain attire.
Kimono is an item that was historically used as informal or formal wear by aristocrats and ordained priests of Japan but now mainly worn as act of ceremonial Japanese clothing (like wedding kimono). Depending on the culture, it may also denote manliness among men and sacredness among priests. It is normally quite heavy and requires an obi to hold it in place. The Kimono has a number of layers so it has a lot of colors for lining and can have long or short sleeves. It is possible to have an open back depending on the kimono. Kimono in general is recognized as a formal dress for special occasions.
That being said, today you can see Yukata worn in both casual and formal situations such as summer festivals, fireworks festivals (hanabi taikai) many Japanese wear yukata to go shopping during the summer.