Traveler Essentials

Shoe Etiquette

Inside the house

Japanese do not wear their shoes inside their home. When entering someone’s home make sure to take your shoes off at the entrance. They will most likely then offer you slippers to wear. In terms of public spaces in Japan, some restaurants, stores, and accommodation also follow this norm. It will usually be clear if you are required to take your shoes-off as there will likely by a shoe box of shelving, other shoes, and slippers at the entrance.


When entering a Japanese house, you will usually be offered indoor slippers to use when walking indoors. However, when going to the toilet, there might be a separate pair of slippers just for the toilet that you should slip into and leave your indoor slippers outside the toilet. This way people will also know the toilet is in use.

Tatami rooms

Under no circumstances should you wear shoes when stepping onto tatami (straw-matting). If dirt gets into tatami it can be very hard to clean and, in the end, may need to be replaced. Because of this, hotels and businesses refrain from the tradition of using tatami, but it is still a very common floor element in Japanese homes. So, remember when entering to a tatami area to remove your shoes and even indoor slippers to be respectful.