Do you know why Japanese people take off their shoes before entering the house? Find out now

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You japanese they have the habit of removing their shoes before entering the house, and many people, despite knowing this custom, do not know why. However, this is one of the millenary habits of the Japanese that is often intriguing and curious for those in the West.

But no matter what the habit, it is always intriguing and full of meaning, based on the admirable wisdom of these people.

Well, taking off your shoes before entering the house is a good example of this, and even though it seems very strange at first, when we analyze its fundamentals, we realize that this habit makes perfect sense.

If you go to Japan and visit someone or some establishments, you will notice some slippers placed next to the door. For the Japanese, it is very important to leave your shoes there and opt for slippers.

You know why? The reasons are many and all of them plausible. With that in mind, in this article, we will present the reasons for this Japanese custom and what its benefits are.

If you go to Japan or are simply in love with this culture, read until the end because it's worth it.

Apartment in Japan - is it small or practical?

Why do the Japanese take off their shoes?

Before explaining the reasons, it is interesting to say that this custom is not restricted to the home itself. When it comes to visiting other people, it is also interesting to take off your shoes at the entrance to the house.

Most Japanese homes have a space known as “genkan”, specific to remove the shoes. This space is so important that it can even be present in companies, as in one of alignment machine.

And it's not enough to just remove your shoes and leave them anywhere, anyway. The front should face the entrance door, ie the street.

The genkan, usually, there is a step below the main entrance, and on the top step, slippers and slippers are exclusively arranged to circulate inside the rooms.

When there is a party or meeting, this space must be tidy, so as not to hinder the passage of guests. Public places also usually adopt this practice, such as:

  • Schools;
  • Clinics;
  • Temples;
  • Libraries;
  • Hospitals.

This is because they have a large flow of people and they all adhere to this custom. But even though we know how common this habit is, many people don't understand its reasons, and we'll explain them below. Are they:

negative energies

The Japanese value the spiritual hygiene of their environments. For them, removing their shoes at the entrance leaves out the impure energies that can unbalance the energy of the home.

Even for them, this is as important as using the best cleaning products and materials, as the house is a shrine and a sacred place in Japan.

Thus, the area where they take off their shoes acts as a barrier between the outer world and the inner space. Furthermore, this custom is a demonstration of respect, that we do not intend to dirty the environment and humility.


No genkan, there can also be the getabako, a kind of closet to put shoes. Afterwards, visitors or residents wear their surippas, which are the slippers or slippers.

The Japanese expect all visitors to have this habit too, including foreigners, so when you arrive, you already know what to do.

Bacteria and toxins

Maybe you never thought about it, but we carry a huge amount of bacteria in our shoes. To give you an idea, according to a study carried out by the University of Arizona, shoes can accumulate around 421,000 types of bacteria.

This means that even if you use the best wholesale cleaning products, it's not easy to get rid of them all. and most can cause intestinal problems, diarrhea and vomiting.

Furthermore, some bacteria can lead to pneumonia if not properly treated. These problems usually happen when they come in contact with the mouth or an open wound.

As a result, the Japanese avoid risks by taking off their shoes before entering the house. and in addition to bacteria, there are also toxins such as lead and mercury that can cause serious health problems.

And the simple habit of removing your shoes before entering the house can eliminate 85% of bacteria, toxins, dust and dirt in the home.

That's why, in Japan, in addition to residences, organizations, as a concierge company, also appreciate this custom so important for health.


This is an obvious reason that everyone in the world should pay attention. When we take our shoes off before entering the house, we collaborate a lot by helping to clean the environment.

The shoes bring all kinds of dirt from the street, such as animal feces, mud, rain, among others. In Japan, getting rid of this dirt is even more important as people sit on mats and mats to eat at low tables.

Now that you know why Japanese people have this habit, in the next topic, we'll show you its benefits for Japanese culture and the world.

Genkan - entrance hall where the Japanese take off their shoes

Benefits of taking off your shoes before entering the house

The custom of taking off your shoes in the genkan shaped the behavior of the Japanese people. It is a habit so strong in the culture that it is even adopted by companies, as a manufacturer of level transmitter.

In the West, walking into the house with your shoes does not arouse great reflections, but in the East, the issue completely changes the picture.

Taking off your shoes is such an ingrained habit that when tourists arrive at a hotel, they need to take off their shoes and slippers.

This behavior has been around since the Yayoi period, circa 300 BC to 250 AD. It is a secular concept known as “kekkai”, which represents the division between the world of purity and blemish.

Many ideas arise from the concept that indoors we are in a pure and clean environment, while the outside world is a dirty space. In the case of Buddhist temples, attendees and visitors can only enter if they are barefoot.

But far beyond philosophical and religious issues, this habit in Japan is very beneficial because the country is an island, so it is very humid.

So, if people were in the habit of walking around indoors with the shoes they wear on the street, they would need to remove the dirt with steel brush and other products.

So, the best thing is to keep the space clean and conserved, and taking off your shoes before entering the house is a practical and convenient habit.

Japan is an egalitarian society, and cleaning is quite costly, so people do their own cleaning. and when we remove the shoes, this task becomes simpler, as it keeps the house clean for longer.

More than preserving Japanese hygiene, this custom is also very beneficial throughout the world. When it comes to health and hygiene, this simple act makes all the difference.

Both at home and in business, as a manufacturer of synchronized belts, entering without shoes is a way to avoid microorganisms, keeping the environment clean.

For those with small children, who tend to walk barefoot or crawl, this habit is even more important.

According to the area of infectology at Unicamp, this custom should be widely adopted by people. On a daily basis, we circulate in public places, as well as on buses and subways, and these spaces are full of bacteria and toxins.

In addition, the street floor is full of insects, such as cockroaches, as well as puddles of water, dust and pollen, as if it were a real open sewer.

So, even if you have that doormat on your doorstep, which helps a lot, entering without your shoes is the most effective way of not bringing impurities into your home.

Genkan - entrance hall where the Japanese take off their shoes


Nowadays, we can count on many facilities for the care and cleaning of the house, such as a trash can with wheels, but the best way to preserve the purity and cleanliness of your home is to remove your shoes before entering.

The Japanese know this very well, which is why they have cultivated this habit for millennia. In this article, you learned a little more about the subject and understood its reasons.

Adopting it on a daily basis is a good idea to preserve your home, but it is crucial if you are thinking of visiting this country of wise people and strong culture.

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