9 Weird Things about Japan You Probably Didn’t Know About

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We all know that Japan can be such an interesting place to visit, and along with that, you may even have encountered something out of the ordinary when you were there. And if you have not been to Japan, this article will highlight some of the strangest things found in the Land of the Rising Sun known as Japan.

Almost everyone that travels to Japan will land at one of three main entry cities which are Tokyo, Osaka or Sapporo, and you can probably find something weird in and around these cities or prefectures. Let’s begin this extraordinary experience and don’t say we didn’t warn you.


A visitors swarmed by rabbits on Okunoshima Island. Photo Reddit.

1. Rabbit Island (Okunoshima)

We have heard about the famous Japanese cat islands found in Japan, but there is one special island called Okunoshima which is home to thousands of rabbits. Yes, thousands of bunnies that are even friendly that won’t run away when you approach them.

Rabbit Island is located near Hiroshima and must be accessed by a ferry from the towns of Sunaminishi or Tadanoumi Nakamachi. The island is so small, you can explore it on foot as there are some interesting sights to see here, including a couple of nice beaches. Come prepared as a day trip can be done and if you love all things cute and cuddly, this place is not to be missed.

Rabbit Island

Tadanoumicho, Takehara, Hiroshima 729-2311, Japan


The very special and quirky Ramen Onsen. Photo Tokyo Treat.

2. Ramen Noodle Onsen

No Japanese onsen experience is complete without the Ramen Onsen Noodle and yes, you read that correctly. Over in the Odawara area, one-hour southwest of Tokyo, you can find this strange and quirky Japanese hot spring that not only offers ramen-flavoured hot spring, but also red wine, sake, coffee and chocolate hot spring.

This is hands-down the strangest Onsen in all of Japan and has been a novelty experience for many locals and foreigners. We have all heard about the beauty and healing properties of the traditional Onsen, but the Yunessun hot spring brings this to another level, and well worth the experience. Good for all kinds of travellers from singles to families.

Hakone Kowakien Yunessun

1297 Ninotaira, Hakone, Ashigarashimo-gun, Kanagawa 250-0407, Japan

Hours: 10.00 AM to 6.00 PM

Website: https://www.yunessun.com/


A scene at the cuddling cafe in Tokyo. Screengrab by Naver.

3. A Cuddling Cafe in Tokyo

This one is as strange as it can get, a cafe where you can go in, order food and drinks, and then snuggle up with one of the pretty girls to catch a quick nap. The out-of-this-world place is also branded as a co-sleeping speciality shop and charges a very expensive rate.

The objective of this concept lies in the overstressed working environment of Tokyo, where people are no longer attuned to work-leisure balance. And places like these have popped up around the metropolis. However, don’t get the wrong idea as there is no hanky-panky allowed here.

Customers pay to sleep next to one of the randomly selected pretty girls, and fork out extra money for stroking the girl’s hair for three minutes, or even to stare at the girls face for one whole minute. A 20-minute nap will cost ¥3000 while a 10-hour sleeping session will set you back ¥50,000. If this is not creepy and strange, then I honestly don’t know what is.

Soineya Cuddle Cafe

Japan, 〒160-0021 Tōkyō-to, Shinjuku City, Kabukichō, 1-chōme−2


The bluish-green traffic lights seen in Japan. Photo by Redoxkun on Flicker CC.

4. Blue Traffic Lights

Japan is the only country in the world where you will see blue traffic lights rather than the international standard green for ‘Go’. There has been much talk about this, but apparently, there has been confusion over the word ‘ao’ which is referred to many other things like apples or bamboo.

In the end, the government decided to replace the standard green with the bluest shade of green and thus resulting in the strange but unique blue traffic lights phenomenon. So, if you are anywhere in Japan, and happen to spot the blue lights, don’t be alarmed as it is normal here.


A vending machine for adult movies located away from commercial areas. Photo Wikipedia.

5. Strange Vending Machines

A common sight all over Japan, and around the world, most of us are used to seeing vending machines sell drinks, and occasionally some other items. But in Japan, you will be shocked to see what some of the vending machines sell, and often you will be speechless.

At times, you will come across machines that sell canned carrots, packets of raw rice, novelty socks, live crabs, fresh lettuce, bananas, draft beer, hot deep fried food items, and even adult DVDs. just to name a few. Can you imagine the confusion when you come across one of these machines? Well, simply walk around the towns or cities, especially around the back lanes and you may encounter one of them.


The selection of canned food at Mr Kanso. Photo Door Blog Japan.

6. Canned Food Cafe

Dining cannot get any weirder as in Japan there is a cafe that serves meals out of canned food. Yes, you read correctly, a canned food cafe! To be exact, there are about 30 of these kinds of cafes found all over Japan. The novelty is simple – you walk in, choose your can food, and the staff will cook it for you.

The canned food are all labelled through a coloured sticker system, where each colour determines the price of the canned food. And no, they do not serve it on plates, but in the same can that the food originates from. So, if you are up for something unique and odd, try visiting one of the can food cafes. There are some found in Osaka and also Tokyo, and Mr Kanso is one of the most popular ones, and yes, they also serve beer.

Mr Kanso

Address:Osaka Nishi ward Minamihorie 1-5-26 Canal terrace Horie 2F

Opening Hours:Weekdays 5.00 PM to 2.00 AM, Weekends, 5.00 PM to 5.00 AM

Website: http://www.cleanbrothers.net/kanso.html


The shortest escalator in the world. Photo Wikipedia.

7. Super Short Escalators

We have all been on escalators, namely in our own country, but do you know that in Japan, you can find escalators that are so short, they only have five steps! Can you imagine how short and how fast you get on and off?

So, where do you see this? For those heading to the Kawasaki region, there is a department store called More’s, and it is located here. The escalator Is so short, it is only 32.8 inches high, which is less than a meter.


A Godzilla stature seen in Tokyo. Photo Wikipedia.

8. Godzilla is an Actual Citizen of Japan

This is mind-blowing to know that an anime character has been officially granted citizenship by the Shinjuku Ward of Tokyo. As I write this, I’m still confused on how something like that can happen. And truth be told, the Shinjuku Ward made Godzilla an official tourism ambassador for this part of Tokyo. Now that you know this, I will leave it to your imagination.


The Hanshin Highway that goes through a building. Photo Wikipedia.

9. Highway Through A Building

Only in Japan as some say, and over in Osaka at the Gate Tower Building, a highway runs through the sixth and seventh floor of the building. How about that? And if you want to experience this, just rent a car or take a taxi and tell them you want to use the Hanshin Expressway and exit through the Umeda Exit, which takes you through the building here.


Conclusion

There you go, nine of the weird things that you can encounter or even experience in Japan. I am sure there are many more, but these nine are some of the really weird things that need to be shared here. If you are visiting Japan, do keep a look out for some of these weird things and have an enjoyable trip there.

 

David Hogan Jr
David Hogan Jr
A multiple award-winning travel writer, blogger and social media enthusiast. He has been traveling to Japan since 1990 and all over the world for his work. His work has been featured on CNN Travel, Yahoo Travel, Lonely Planet and many other publications. David writes at: http://malaysia-asia.my and is on social media platforms as @MalaysiaAsia

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