Kyoto: Zōri and Origami

While walking through Gion I noticed a few shops selling interesting looking footwear. Initially I thought that these are the typical shoes for Geishas, but then I did some research and found that Geishas wear two types of sandals.

The wooden sandals, which can be very high, are called Geta. They can be worn with the informal yukata. However, sandals that are flat and thonged, are associated with more formal kimono wear. These are called Zōri and are shown in the picture below.

Zori shoes

These flat and thonged Japanese sandals were traditionally made of rice straw or other plant fibers, cloth and leather. Nowadays they are often made out of rubber or synthetic materials. I don’t know what the sandals in the shop window were made out of, but they were quite expensive.

Origami in a shrine

Strolling past the shop I walked into a small shrine. It was nice, but nothing special. However, what caught my eye was this colorful structure made out of paper. Its Origami art, which is very traditional in Japan, and only involves folding a piece of paper without cutting or gluing it.


I can’t tell the exact folds in this picture – but it looks like an adapted version of the Japanese paper crane. It might be something different though, I have no clue. Any ideas what this shape could be and why the origami is decorating a small shrine in Gion? I’d be curious to learn more about this.


2 thoughts on “Kyoto: Zōri and Origami”

  1. They’re cranes ^^ In Japan it’s believed that if you fold a thousand paper cranes a loved one that is sick will get better ^^ You normally see strings like the ones in your picture hanging in hospitals, left by loved ones ^^

    1. Thanks so much for the insights, that’s good to know. I did not know what the paper cranes symbolise, but thanks to you, I know now!

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