Are all sandals called geta? Or are geta a subset of sandals. How about flip-flops? How are these types of footware distinguished in Japanese?

My dictionary says sandal is just せんだる.

2 Answers 2


Most traditional style footwears in Japan would fall under the definition of sandal in English (which is no wonder considering the climate), but we have different names for each. If I had to name an umbrella term, it'd be just はきもの "footwear".

げた is the name for traditional wooden platform sandals for town walk. Because of its typical usage, we still call shoebox げたばこ "geta box" as a custom, but it does not mean げた is the hypernym of shoes and sandals and that like.

サンダル is the general term for all non-Japanese (outdoor) sandals and almost identical to what you imagine from sandals in this extent. Flip-flops (plastic sandals with thongs) is usually called ビーチサンダル in Japan.


げた refer to traditional wooden sandals similar to how きもの refers specifically to traditional Japanese clothing. Sandals (サンダル)to me just mean open foot shoes and so Geta would be a type of sandals.

I think most flip-flops (slippers) would just be called スリッパ.

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