Translated by Mariko Satoh
Tips On When To Take Off Shoes In Japan
Written by MATCHA
Why do the Japanese people take their shoes off indoors? We introduce here situations when you should take your shoes off, as well as situations when that is not necessary.
Although Japan is not the only country in the world where people take off shoes indoors, this custom is still one of the cultural shocks that some foreign visitors experience.
In this article, we will explain why people take off shoes indoors in Japan. We will also introduce ways to distinguish situations in which you should or should not take off your shoes.
Why Take Off Shoes?
Japan has a climate with high temperatures and high humidity. There is also a lot of rain. Entering the house with one's shoes on becomes a problem since it gets the floor dirty, causing sanitary problems. This is why it became a custom to take off shoes at the entrance to keep the house clean. In this manner, people are able to sit on the tatami or on the floor directly, and to lay out the futon (traditional bedding) on the floor.
Now, we will show you some tips to know where to take off shoes and the specific situations in which Japanese people take off shoes in daily life.