Updated: February 12, 2016
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3 Traditional Footwears Of Japan; Tabi, Zori, And Geta

Look, a Japanese lady in Kimono is coming to you. The Japanese style of formality impresses you so much that you can't take your eyes from her wearing... Wait, what is the footwear?

Special socks and sandals

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When you look at the feet of a person in Kimono style, you must see something like special socks that has two ends like "V". With the socks, she is wearing unfamiliar shoes as well; they are much more like sandals.

1. Tabi

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First, the special socks they are wearing are called "tabi", which are perfect to wear the special sandals I'm going to mention later. Some of tabi even allow you to walk outside by themselves with the thick base. You must have seen some Ninja or Samurai are wearing these in a movie or drama.

2. Zori (Zouri)

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The special sandals are called "zori". It resembles sandals in Western cultures, but the main difference is that they have a Y-shaped strap to hold your foot, which strap is called "hanao".
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Zori is originally formal footwear in the history, but it is now recognized as one of casual wearing. However, it has not lost the prestige; many people prefer to put on zori when they wear kimono.
Moreover, some people think that the function of hanao enhance the health of your feet. It means, walking well in zori requires some skills or muscles to hold hanao between your big toe and the next one. This improves the function of your foot to boost the health.

3. Geta

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There are other "sandals" with hanao: Geta. This footwear is very similar to zori, but it is historically much more casual.
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Many Japanese people in Yukata wear this for many enjoyable summer festivals.
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Maybe, a pair of geta is a good starter to enjoy historical Japanese footwear, for it does not necessarily require to wear tabi. In the next summer, what do you say to try geta when going to a firework festival and the like?
Akitsugu Domoto

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