There are plenty of oddities to be discovered, but what are the weirdest things in Japan? Most things will seem pretty odd at first, but after a few days, you'll start to absolutely adore them. From high tech toilets, capsule hotels, bizarre festivals, weird foods and odd amounts of kawaii, Japan will manage to provide you with the cultural shock of a lifetime. We spent 2 weeks in Japan trying to grasp its weirdest things.
Table of Contents
1. Cat Cafés
This is a brilliant invention for those who love cats but don't want the trouble of looking after them. Have your hot beverage and enjoy stroking cute furry kittens. This is a great way to distress after a long day at work. Wait, are you not a cat fan? Then go for hedgehogs and read about a visit to HARRY – Hedgehog Cafe in Tokyo.
2. Capsule Hotels
Creating space for real estate development in the centre of Tokyo can be a bit of a challenge. However, the Japanese cleverly found a way around it, by coming up with a great solution: the capsule hotel. Although initially created for businessmen, the capsules hotels have recently become more popular for low budget travellers and foreign tourists looking for a more daring experience. Usually, a single capsule measures 1.2 meters wide, 2 meters long and 1 meter high and most people swear they are more comfortable than they look. Don't forget to check where to stay in Tokyo.
3. Moomin Cafés
When it comes to creativity, the Japanese are definitely light years away from the rest of the world. With so many distractions happening, it's becoming harder and harder to hang on to a relationship. This, however, doesn't mean you need to have brunch on your own. Thanks to the Japanese, you can now dine in an anti-loneliness café with a plush toy as your partner. Always wanted to share some ice cream parfait with Moomin anyway...
4. High Tech Toilets
This is also the best thing I discovered in Japan. Self cleaning, featuring warm seats and music for increased privacy, I'm surprised Japanese toilets haven't made it to the rest of the world. Some of the newest ones have a crazy amount of buttons and functions to cater for everyone's needs.
Weirdest and most delicious food in the world, Takotamago is a small octopus served on a stick, with a cooked egg in its head. I found these in the markets in Kyoto and I fell in love with them.
6. Love Hotels
The title of these boutique or fashion hotels is quite self-explanatory. Love hotels offer double rooms for short periods of time. You can choose between a rest (one - three hours) or a stay (whole night starting at 10 pm). Most rooms are equipped with erotic programmes and also facilities to buy or rent costumes. Select your desired room from a board by pressing a button, then pay at the window where you won't be able to see the receptionist. Privacy is key here.
7. Penis Time at Kanamara Matsuri
April is time to be amazed in Japan. No, not because of the blooming sakura trees, but because of the craziest event on the planet: the penis festival. This is a Shinto fertility festival and probably not the time to spend a day out with your parents. You will be surrounded by a lot of penis-shaped things, including, of course, lollies.
8. Cuddles Cafés
If you thought cute cats or maids cafés are out of ordinary, wait until you check this out. The Soine-ya cafés in Akihabara allow male customers to sleep right next to girls. No funky business is permitted, although men are allowed to purchased extras such as stroking the girls' hair or looking deep into her eyes.
9. Maid Cafés
Here you can enjoy cute pancakes, teddy shaped ice cream and all sort of colourful sundaes. All these will be served to you by innocent looking girls dressed as maids. Akihabara is the best place for these types of cafés. There are always girls dressed in lolita outfits stopping men on the streets and taking them to the cafés.
10. Vending Machines
Japan has vending machines everywhere. You will find one in your hotel, at the subway station, next to the postal office, next to the restaurant, on the street, next to the bus stop ... EVERYWHERE. They are cheap and amazing. You can buy hot and cold beverages, bananas, milk, noodles, ramen and what not. If you don't have change, use your IC card.
Read about vending machines and IC cards here.
11. Tsukiji Market Tuna Auction
Most world's tuna comes from the mighty Tsukiji Market in Tokyo. You can access the tuna auction free of charge, but places are limited and allocated on a first come first served basis.
12. Pachinko parlours
Pachinko is an arcade game, a combination of slot machine and pinball. These places are bright, colourful, extremely loud and very smoky. We found several of them in Akihabara.
13. Kawaii Crazy
Harajuku is the perfect place if you like cute stuff. This is where you'll find crazy and colourful outfits and a tone of shops, full of super cute fluffy and tiny things. I love this place. Visiting Harajuku is one of the best 50 things to do in Tokyo.
14. Akihabara 18+
The electronic district of Tokyo doesn't shock enough with its maid cafés, pachinkois parlours and multi-story department stores, but it has yet another weird one up its sleeve. 18+ anime rentals. There are withdrawn areas where you can go in only if you are over the legal age and find the right erotic anime entertainment. Oh Sailor Moon ...
15. Animal Doughnuts
Who's up for the cutest, most delicious doughnut? Cat, frog, dog and bear shaped doughnuts are on the menu, only in Japan, of course.
16. Public Baths
Nothing scream weirder than the idea of a public bath. Well, in Japan this is a perfect way to relax and socialise after a hard day at work. Public baths are separated by gender, and swimsuits are not to be worn. I guess this is what you call conversation without boundaries.
17. Even the Melons are cute
How many times in this life time have you come across a melon with a bow? This is what I call added value.
What was the weirdest thing you came across in Japan? Let me know in the comment section below!