Japan Hotels and shoes

Old Feb 2nd, 2006, 11:12 PM
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Japan Hotels and shoes

I think I understand the shoe rules for temples, ryokan, dressing rooms, tatami mats and toilets but would someone please tell me if the no shoes procedure applies in big hotels (ie lobbies, resto bathrooms, hotel room etc) or elsewhere (trains)?

Thanks for your help and patience with this basic question!
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Old Feb 3rd, 2006, 12:07 AM
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Hotels...unless they are big Japanese hotels, shoes stay on.

Restaurants...if there is no tatami, shoes stay on. If you are seated in a tatami room, shoes come off outside of the room and they are usually put into a special cabinet just outside the door.

Rest rooms...in most places, shoes stay on. In places where you have removed your shoes, you will use slippers to move between the tatami room and the bathroom. Outside of the bathroom you will remove your slippers...they do not go in the bathroom. Right inside the bathroom door there will be special bathroom slippers. Your bare or stockinged feet should not touch the ground between slippers, and the bathroom slippers do not leave the bathroom and the regular slippers do not enter the bathroom.

Trains...shoes on.

Shops...with very few exceptions, shoes on.

You will know whether to take your shoes off or leave them on immediately when you enter a place. If you see a pile of shoes in the entryway, obviously yours should join them. If you see shoes arranged in small cabinets, yours should also go in one. If you see many sets of slippers, you should use them. If there is a step up out of the entryway into the main part of the building, in all likelihood you should remove your shoes.

It is never a problem if you ask if you should remove your shoes, while it could be a problem if you don't remove your shoes when you should have.

Slippers are never worn on tatami flooring, so you will sometimes wear slippers for only a few steps. You should arrange your shoes in the entryway (genkan) so that they are facing outward and easy to step into upon leaving...if you don't do it someone else will do it for you. Same thing with slippers outside of tatami rooms. It's easiest to stand at the doorway of the tatami room facing out and step out of your slippers backwards into the room, then turn frontways.
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Old Feb 3rd, 2006, 01:58 AM
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Kim, I found your no-nonsense and thorough instructions perfectly charming -- almost sublime.

In Indonesia shoes are not worn in homes. Bare feet are prefered. Consequently feet are kept very clean.

It's one of those cultural differences that never ceases to amaze. Our local friends and staff find us at best amusing and at worst barbarian because we wear our "street shoes" inside the house.
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Old Feb 3rd, 2006, 02:05 AM
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What's really, really weird is that I have become unable to wear shoes in the house. And I must wear bathroom slippers. I was never like this "before Japan."
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Old Feb 3rd, 2006, 08:31 PM
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After 30 years in Hawaii, I'm the smae way- can't stand to wear my shoes inside a home. Used to drive my parents in California crazy when the four of us would arrive and leave all our shoes outside the door!

I've noticed that many mainland US people are starting to pick up the custom too. It sure is a lot cleaner!
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Old Feb 4th, 2006, 03:03 AM
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Thanks again KimJapan!
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