A word about shoes
Shoes are very important in Japan – considerable time is spent taking them off and putting them on each day as you enter and leave various premises.
This is especially prevalent in rural areas, where old customs and traditions are still heartily embraced and practiced.
Several of our tour stops asked us to remove our shoes and put on synthetic slippers provided to visitors – usually much too small for the larger foot sizes common in Europe and North America!
At the traditional country inn or ryokan where we spent the night, we had to remove our shoes before entering our hotel room and leave them lined up in a small entry area.
It is customary to remove the slippers you are wearing inside a home or building and wear special toilet slippers when you visit the rest room, and it is considered a major faux pas if you forget to remove the toilet slippers and wear them upon leaving the facilities.