This Sunday, 16 July, we will be holding our next Cultural Event, Waraji Workshop. If you have gotten tickets to the workshop, lucky you! The teachers will guide you in making waraji keychains, using the same technique as the sandal waraji.

So, what is a waraji?

About 300 years ago, waraji was the standard footwear of the common people in Japan. These sandals are traditionally made of rice straw that are weaved into ropes.

waraji1(Rice Straw. Image © Feedipedia)

waraji2(Rice Straw Ropes. Image © Wikiwand)

Long straw straps are attached to the front loop and the loops on the sides as well as the heel. It is then tied around the ankle to fasten the sole to the foot.

waraji12(Waraji Sandals. Image ©  Instructables)

Waraji is cheap to make, light and used for everything from walking to long-distance hiking. It is commonly worn with tabi socks. To ensure that they are comfortable for walking, it is advisable to soak your waraji in water for about 10 minutes, whenever they start to dry.

As humans constantly seek convenience and durability, waraji is not as popular as in the past and today are only worn during events, cosplay or school lessons.

There is a festival in Japan that celebrates waraji. It is held annually in Fukushima to mark the start of summer. Take a peek at the festival in the video below: