The object : sandals at Tsurugata, Kurashiki, Japan

I should probably give this post some context and start by saying that my mother used to chase me around the house, slippers in hand, in the hope that I would finally keep them on my feet. I have no issue with the removal of shoes that is the norm around most of Japanese homes and indoor spaces. If anything I love it, being barefoot is quite a passion of mine. What I didn't expect was the ballet of slippers that goes with it. When you enter a ryokan like Tsurugata, you leave your shoes at the entrance and you're then given soft slippers that are used to walk through the halls. You remove them upon entering your room -no shoes on the tatami!- but, when you go to the restroom you'll find another pair, plastic ones, to be used only in this particular room. And what about the ones above? They're here to cross the few meters leading to the onsen. Be sure to remove them before setting foot on the wooden floor! I must confess this was sometimes too much to handle and I might have found myself sans-slippers or at the wrong place with the wrong ones.

1 Comment

  • Reply May 24, 2015


    I love this explanation of shoe etiquette in Japan! I’m living in Korea for a couple months, and it’s just the same! I can’t seem to get used to the ways: shoes at the entrance, slippers inside, plastic shoes for the restroom, and another pair for the veranda. My parents are always complaining about being barefoot!

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