30 Aug 2016 in Have Fun
Learn more about this surprising show that plays every evening beside the Chuzenji lake and that highlights an obscure form of local craftsmanship: Nikko Geta!
Although they have a 400-year history, only 9 % of the inhabitants of Tochigi Prefecture, 100 km to the North of Tokyo, have heard of Nikko Geta – despite the fact that it is the birthplace of these traditional and innovative shoes, designed to meet the needs of the inhabitants of the mountainous area. While zori shoes – sandals made from rice straw or other plants – are traditionally worn for visits to Shinto or Buddhist temples, they are ill-adapted to the region and its steep, rocky paths which are often covered in snow during the winter months.
The story holds that Nikko Geta shoes were General Tokugawa’s idea, who suggested placing zori on top of geta shoes. Nikko Geta shoes are “zori” shoes layered on top of “geta” shoes – but not only. In order to improve stability, the sole is carved in the back, enabling wearers to walk around town even when there is snow on the ground without having the snow stick to the sole.
Better yet, Nikko Geta shoes are designed to warm the feet during winter and to be breathable in the summer. They can be worn year-round, traditionally with a kimono but also with “Western-style” clothing.
Hoshino Resorts KAI Nikko, located on the shores of Chuzenji lake, is proud to feature local heritage and craftsmanship by putting on a “Geta Tap Dance” show every evening at dinnertime featuring these local sandals.
This cheerful and lively dance not only invites guests to clap their hands to the rhythm – onlookers wear Nikko Geta shoes and must tap their feet as well, echoing the show. Next, after the first dance, the artists explain how they are made and the history of this unique object. This is a fun, pleasant way to discover local craftsmanship.