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Removing your shoes


Hi everyone,

My husband and I are traveling to Tokyo and Kyoto later this month. I’m trying to figure out what to pack as far as shoes. We do not have any friends there, so the chances of us going into a private home are low. We are staying at a western style hotel. I am wondering, will we still encounter situations where we will need to remove our shoes? If that’s the case, then boots seem out of the question.




Hi Amanda,

You’ll likely have to remove your shoes if you visit a fancy Japanese restaurant, an izakaya or if you visit a temple and want to look inside. Another situation where you might have to remove your shoes is when shopping for clothes. Most changing cubicles require you to remove your shoes.

You might find with looking around all the temples in Kyoto in particular, that you’ll end up taking off your shoes a lot.

On the flip side, whenever I host visitors they tell me that they never walk so much when as when they’re looking around here so you might want to bring a comfortable pair of shoes for the tens of kilometres that you’ll walk while you’re here :slight_smile:



Thank you for answering!! After I posted, I did some more research, and did learn about having to do it at temples and shrines if you go inside. I also saw some mention of bathrooms? It will be an interesting experience, for sure!

I will say, there are some blogs out there posting articles about what not to wear in Japan, and making it sound like you’re some kind of bum if you dare to wear sneakers and/or comfortable clothing. Which was why I was thinking of bringing my comfortable boots, but they are over the knee, and kind of a pain to take on and off. So, I guess I’ll be a bum and wear sneakers. I guess maybe I shouldn’t worry too much about fitting in, but some articles made it out like it was offensive to be too casual. Can you comment on this at all?

Thanks again,



Hi Amanda,

A lot of that is “things you shouldn’t do in Japan” articles by people who want to demonstrate how much more they know about Japanese culture than you. Just some basic respect and being observant is pretty much all you need - when in doubt, ask. Japanese people are often immaculately dressed, but people are still allowed to dress how they want. Besides, if you are not Japanese, people will not hold you to the same standards - if you make a few mistakes you won’t be attacked or anything :slight_smile:



Hi, Greg,

Ok, thank you so much! You have relieved my anxiety on this. Have a great week!



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