Tabi, Traditional Japanese Socks
Tabi (足袋) is a term for traditional socks unique to Japan, which is indispensable for Kimono (着物) style. Dating back to the Nara period (the 15th century), socks like we wear today was introduced from China, and was developed into Tabi shape later. Generally, white tabi is widely used, and patterned ones for casual occasion are gaining popularity nowadays. Kyogenshi (狂言師, Noh commedians) wear yellow ones.
The major difference between socks and Tabi is that Tabi has a separation between the big toe and other toes. People from overseas and youngsters who has no experience of wearing Kimono sometimes find it uncomfortable. However, you’d better to get used to it, because separating toes are very good for your health.
Geiko (芸妓) and Maiko (舞妓) usually have custom-made tabi with their name engraved on Kohaze (こはぜ, metallic clasp). Everybody has different shape of feet, and perfectly fitted Tabi is very comfortable and makes your movement even more graceful.
Click here to see a Blog by a Former Maiko, “Do You Know?”