Zori making
Zori Sandal Making

6,000 yen/person

Customer Satisfaction
Experience Type
Traditional Crafts, Culture
Activity Level
Group Size
Small to large groups (2-10 people)
Zori Sandal Making

Zori are traditional rice straw sandals that have been around since the Edo Period and are traditionally worn during Japanese festivals. While many Zori manufacturers today make their sandals out of vinyl and by machine, here in Yamagata, we prioritize sustainability and craftsmanship, which is why each Zori sandal is made by hand with rice straw left over from the rice harvest.


During this experience, you will learn first learn about the history of Zori sandals in Sagae City before you will then make your own Zori sandals that you can take home and keep. Participants will get to try their hand at weaving, stitching, and assembly and will get to customize their Zori with different colored ribbons known as “hanao.”


Historically, back during the Edo Period, jobs related to feet, such as Zori-making, were considered to be an occupation of low rank because feet were considered “unclean and impure” in Japanese culture.  As a result, many shoemakers suffered a great deal of persecution and faced many difficulties making carrying on the craft an arduous job.


Today, however, the Zori artisans of Sagae have persisted and their dedication to their craft has shown through. The Zori craftsmen that lead this experience are third-generation inheritors of their Zori workshop of which has been proudly in continuous operation for over 100 years since the Edo Period.


Due to the authenticity, craftsmanship, and quality of their sandals, their Zori have been frequently worn in historical TV dramas and films and are proudly worn by several prominent sumo wrestlers.


Come and make your own zori sandals and learn about the very heart and “sole” of Sagae with this incredible local experience! 

Zori making
Activity Details
Meeting Location
Karube zori
Seasonal Availability
Year round
Experience Duration
3 hours
Amount of Participants
2-10 people (Inquire separately for larger groups or singles)
Start Time
End Time
Not Included
Please book at least 3 days in advance
Sample Itinerary

10:00: Meet at Karube Zori

10:00 – 10:30: Introduction to Zori

10:30 – 11:30: Sew the Zori Sandals and assemble them with the sole

11:30 – 12:00: Practice weaving as you wait for the Zori sandals to dry

12:30: Finish up and try out wearing your new Zori sandals

Please note that this is a sample itinerary and actual times and itinerary flow may vary depending on the day.

Zori making
Meeting Location

Due to the remote nature of the region, it is highly recommended that you rent a car when you visit Yamagata Prefecture. However, that isn’t to say that visiting without a car is impossible in the slightest.

Guests who are still hoping to participate in the Zori Sandal Making experience without a car can take the train from  Yamagata Station, and take the Aterazawa Line to Nishi-Sagae Station. From there it is a 20-minute walk or a five-minute taxi ride. The train fair should be ¥330 and the entire journey should take roughly an hour and fifteen minutes.

Zori making
Zori vs Waraji

Thank you so much for such an amazing and local experience! Even though we didn't speak the same language, I was really able to connect with the craftspeople and was able to overcome the language barrier with ease! The shoes are really stylish and comfortable, and I wear them all the time now!