Most Japanese customs rock. One of my favorites is the removing of your shoes prior to entering a house, a restaurant, or anywhere that’s designated with tatami mats. I don’t know why I like it so much. It might be the comfortable atmosphere it makes at a meal, when you can sit back and enjoy it without your shoes pinching. Or the feeling that you’re doing something naughty when you walk through Shuri Castle with naked feet.

Something I’ve noticed since we moved here is that my family’s shoes end up by the front door. This is not by conscious effort. As a matter of fact, I’d much prefer the shoes to be put away. I fought it for months – several long, agonizing months – before I gave up and opted for a better solution.

If you live in town in a traditional Japanese-style home, more than likely your house comes with a built in shoe cabinet by the front door. For the rest of us, we can purchase shoe cabinets to fix this shoe problem. I got a hot tip (thanks, Tara) that I could find a cabinet at Today O!K. They sell them next door at Maxplus as well – in different styles, so you may want to check out both stores before you decide.

The cabinet I purchased was 24700 Yen – not cheap, but totally worth it. They have less expensive versions available, as well as different configurations and styles.

Before the shoe cabinet:






  1. Any secrets for keeping your shoe cabinet from smelling like the inside of your shoes? Our house came with a built in without the nicely slatted doors and every time I open it I think… mmm feet. We keep a jar of moisture absorbing stuff in there and it sort of helps but nothing can combat the husbands work boots.

  2. Sorry, Rayven! I’ve been sick and haven’t been on the computer to answer this.

    The cabinets come in a box (much like Ikea). They’re put together yourself. HOWEVER — the instructions are in Japanese.

    My husband didn’t have too hard a time… They’re not that complicated. But I could imagine they’d be difficult if one wasn’t inclined to do that sort of thing.

    I think at the other places that the ladies listed in the comments, you might be able to find one that was put together.

  3. Do they come already put together, or in a box and you put it together at home? I’m just trying to figure out how we would transport it back to the base, and if I will need to brib my husband into putting it together. lol.

  4. Coming here from Alaska I so could have used this there as well, as with all the snow and dirt there you NEVER wear your shoes indoors. We have brought that same habit here and I have been waiting for the time off from work to be able to go pick one of these up. I think I will head over there this weekend and pick one up! Thanks!

  5. You can also find suitable cabinets at Jusco stores, MakeMan stores, Nitori etc. Real furniture stores will have nice but more expensive options, whilst something from Jusco or MakeMan will be cheaper and functional. Word of warning, measure the length of the biggest pair of shoes in the household – my husbands combat boots are too big for the shelves!