40+ Peculiar Things That One Will Only See In JapanBy Michelle Stone
To say that Japan is a fascinating country is an understatement, and we’re not just referring to what we mostly see in its capital, Tokyo. The entire nation is so much more than what can be found in its most famous city. To some, many of the things that can only be seen in Japan are strange, but others are simply fascinated by them.
Where else in the world could we see airplanes designed after animated characters or a ‘Lego’ tree but in the land of the rising sun? Although the sights and sounds in Japan are out of this world, we cannot deny that they are refreshing. So, for those wondering why many people are intrigued with Japanese culture, some reasons are right here on this list.
Walking Fidget Spinners
One look at fidget spinners, people would think they originated from Japan. Yet, that’s not the case because an American chemical engineer is the one credited for coming up with the spinning toy. Be that as it may, there’s something only the Japanese could think of, and it’s fidget spinner costumes.
Leave it to the Japanese to make already fun ideas much more so, like in this instance. These adorable humans could have chosen other costumes, those that are inspired by living creatures, and yet, they decided on a spinning metal toy. One thing’s for sure, just like fidget spinners, these guys help relieve people’s anxiety by looking so cute!
Oversized Sausage Baby
The supermarket is where we usually find sausages, so that’s where people go to buy them. In Japan, it turns out it’s also the place where one can discover walking sausages who look like babies! No matter how strange, we can’t deny the cuteness of this mascot.
Our guess is that the costume promotes a brand of food products; hence it’s walking around the grocery store. The company could have created a typical-looking giant sausage mascot, but no, they preferred it to have a baby’s face. They were undoubtedly aiming for adorable, though some might say it’s kind of bizarre.
Keep Calm & Wait On
People from other countries would think this sight is strange because there’s always a frenzy around subways and train stations. Apparently, it’s not the same in Japan, where people line up and wait for their turn to hop in public transportation.
What we see here is not actually strange, but rather a picture of disciplined people. Instead of seeing this as odd, people from other places should emulate these good Japanese citizens. If only this is how we did it worldwide, there would be no commotion, and no one could get hurt from all the pushing and shoving.
Oinks When It Honks
There is no limit to what people can do when decorating their motorcycles as long as they are still safe to ride in. We have seen different kinds of designs in the past, even one that looked like a hamburger. Still, that did not prepare us for this one-of-a-kind ride – a pig moped!
Our eyes aren’t fooling us, this bike indeed looks like a pig, and it’s found only in Japan. We don’t know why this guy chose this particular animal – maybe he just wanted to put a smile on people’s faces whenever he’s out riding it around town.
Sleeping On The Job
Sleeping on the job is a big no-no everywhere, that is, except for Japan. If employees get caught sleeping while at work in other countries, they would surely get a warning or perhaps even fired. In Japan, however, it’s not the case, especially for middle-aged employees who have been with the company for many years.
Japanese people are some of the most hardworking people on the planet, and companies in the country recognize that. So, if an employee is tired and has to sleep while at his desk, that’s totally acceptable; the practice is called “inemuri,” which literally translates to “being present while asleep.”
Guards Instead Of Signs
It’s never very pleasant whenever we are in a rush and get onto an escalator only to realize it’s not working. We could have ridden another one but instead went with the one that’s out of order because there was no sign to tell us about it beforehand.
In Japan, citizens are spared from making this mistake because they place security guards in front of non-working escalators instead of a sign. What a genius idea, because it saves people a lot of time. So, when people see someone’s guarding the moving stairs, that’s an indication to find a different way to go up or down.
Anime has a huge following worldwide, so it’s not surprising that people sometimes like to dress up as their most favorite characters. Of course, the most appropriate time to do that is during Halloween where people are expected to wear costumes and also when attending comic-con events.
With that said, it’s a whole different ball game in Japan because, in that country, people can dress up in such costumes any day they choose. It’s not surprising at all since it’s the birthplace of anime. Although the word got derived from the English word ‘animation,’ the drawing method is entirely Japanese.
Movie fans are familiar with ‘Robocop,’ the cyborg law enforcer young kids loved to emulate after the film came out in the late ’80s. The futuristic plot appealed to many, not just to the younger generation. Fast forward to the future; we didn’t expect to see the movie hero joining a music band in Japan.
Indeed, only in the land of the rising sun can we see people dress up as ‘Robocop’ and playing guitars. That’s not all; unlike the typical cyborg costume, these ones have glitter and bling on them. We can’t wait to see the reaction of actor Petter Weller once he sees this photo.
The Teletubbies All Grown Up
For those wondering what Tinky Winky, Dipsy, Laa-Laa, and Po look like grown-ups, well, here they all are looking ripped—just kidding! This site is something that can only be seen in Japan, a country that is indeed full of fascinating surprises.
The ‘Teletubbies’ are characters that kids of the ’90s are very familiar with – they were cute and got named so because of the TV screens on their bellies. All four looked like toddlers and talked gibberish like them, making these ripped men dressing as them bizarre. Nonetheless, it’s Japan, and anything we see there is pretty acceptable.
The Highly Celebrated Hello Kitty
Two things we need to understand about the Japanese: One, they adore cats, and two, they value whatever originates in their country. So it’s no wonder that Hello Kitty, a fictional Japanese Bobtail cat character, is a big deal in this country.
Oh, we forgot to add; the Japanese never shy away from an opportunity to express their love for these brands. That includes incorporating them in their outfits. So when this man had the chance to play dress-up, guess what character he went for? Correct – Hello Kitty! Although with a touch of Darth Vader, another fictional character, the costume looks weird and creative at the same time.
We’ve been there before. We order something off a menu because it looks beautiful and delicious to eat, only to get the disappointment of our lives when the real deal arrives. Well, maybe we can’t complain too much because pictures often look better than the real thing.
However, Japan has us believing that our meal can look as good as it appears on the menu. Whatever we order is just precisely what we get. As we can see in this photo, the Starbucks American Cherry Pie is identical to how it looks on the board. We’d really appreciate it if other countries could emulate the Japanese in this regard.
A Different Kind Of Costco
As an international store, Costco is known for its consistency in the kinds of products they sell and their buildings’ design. Another consistent trait is customers’ hectic and disorderly movement in the store, especially during Costco’s more busy working hours.
This Japanese chain is strikingly different, though. It’s no longer news that Japan is one of the most organized countries in the world, and we can see that orderliness play out in a store that should otherwise be rowdy. The cafe is as tidy as it can be and even the shopping carts are neatly arranged.
Dine Like A King In A Hospital
Even though we appreciate our health care systems – they’re really doing a great job – one thing we’d like them to work on is the hospital food. Honestly, eating in a medical facility is not something we usually look forward to, which shouldn’t be the case.
Perhaps our clinics can take a page out of Japan’s book. Here is a picture of food served in a Japanese hospital, no jokes. This meal rivals the kind served in restaurants! Who wouldn’t pay to have such delicacies? Patients will definitely enjoy their stay and even recover faster when they have access to these kinds of gourmet meals.
The Japanese love a lot of peculiar things, some of which are fancy costumes, anime, and funny-looking vehicles. So whoever is visiting should get ready to see some of the very crazy and strange sights there are. It’s all part of Japan’s attractions.
As a heads up, we should remember that some of these surprising views will be seen from the rearview mirror. This photo is an example of one of the things we’ll encounter on the road. When this happens, don’t be frightened; it’s just another typical day in Japan. Nothing screams ‘Welcome to Japan’ louder than unexpected sights and objects.
Faith In Humanity Restored
More often than not, if we leave something at a public place such as a restaurant or food court, we know it’s as good as gone. We may rush back to the spot, but the chances of finding our stuff are close to zero.
In Japan, however, the case is entirely the opposite. If our distracted self leaves something out, not only will no one steal it, some wonderful soul would even move it to a more visible and safer location for us to find when we go looking. A great example is this person who relocated this lost bag near a tree with its contents untouched.
There is no better way to learn than to do something by oneself. A crucial lesson that Japanese kids learn from the beginning is cleaning after themselves and being responsible for their surroundings. They do this by having the children keep their schools tidy from a very young age.
Most schools in Japan do not have cleaning staff or janitors. The students are slotted in shifts to clean their classes and school premises. The practice instills the admirable habit of maintaining public cleanliness and helps them express their gratitude towards the school and their teachers. Maybe we should also consider implementing this?
Turkey Vs. Chicken
When we think of Christmas, we think of Santa, snow, decorated trees, gifts, but most importantly, we think of the home-cooked dinner consisting of a delectably stuffed, slow-cooked turkey and all the trimmings that go along with it. That meal is what makes the holiday complete, isn’t it?
In Japan, however, it is entirely acceptable to have a bucket of KFC chicken for Xmas dinner! The KFC outlets in Japan come up with various holiday special meals to make sure that they contribute to the spirit of the holiday. Even the packaging is changed to make it more in tune with the festive season.
While using public transport during the rush hour, we have unwittingly gotten trained to understand that it is every man for himself out there. In the well-mannered nation of Japan, however, people look out for each other. They are considerate of fellow travelers and follow all rules at all times.
This picture here is a perfect example of how seriously people take subway etiquette. Despite the rush on the ‘up’ side of the stairs, not a single soul breaks out of line to use the empty ‘down’ side. People are eternally patient, which leads to peaceful commutes and boosts the happiness quotient of all the commuters.
Self-policing in Japan is so strong that no one needs to be watching for someone to act right and do the right thing. Someone accidentally knocked a bike over and broke the bell. They took the time to jot down a note of sincere apology explaining what happened and left the equivalent of $10 to cover the repair costs.
This is just one example of how Japanese people take responsibility for their actions. We would be hard-pressed to get such treatment. Probably that is the reason we have more CCTV cameras than swings in around our houses.
Tantalizing Train Rides
It’s been a long day, so much walking has been done, and the feet are tired. What better way to cap off an arduous day than by taking a train ride and letting one’s feet soak in a glorious footbath that promises complete and utter relaxation during the ride?
Whoever thought of this fantastic idea must have known that frequent travelers are looking for ways to unwind while in transit. The idea of putting one’s feet up when arriving at home seems irrelevant compared to this much better alternative. The Japanese know how to relax even while still en route.
Let’s Go To The Lego Tree
It’s not as if Japan has a shortage of beautiful trees. In fact, the country is well-known for its cherry blossoms that offer breathtaking views when they are in full bloom every year. Even the countryside is known for its picturesque landscapes dotted with foliage of all kinds.
Yet, we can leave it to the Japanese to take things a step further and combine trees with something that a lot of our childhoods were made of – Lego blocks. This giant tree may look like an average tree from a distance, but closer inspection reveals that it is actually thousands of Lego blocks – absolutely marvelous!
Not So Real Samples
Japanese restaurant owners and food vendors have figured out a way to reduce waste when displaying their menu items and keep the dishes looking fresh, juicy, and just plain appetizing. The secret? They don’t use real food. Allow us to explain.
It sounds ironic, but it’s true. Menu samples found on display in most Japanese restaurants and kiosks are actually just plastic models. Not that different from how television food commercials get produced, really. So be careful not to take a bite out of the samples when walking by, no matter how inviting they may look.
Color Coordination At The Conveyor
Now, this is just dedication to the job, if we may say so- Or a touch too obsessive, perhaps? Now, we all know how Japanese people are some of the most organized and coordinated people in the world, but arranging the passengers’ luggage according to color? We’re just way too impressed now.
These airport employees are dutifully grouping the suitcases according to similar color palettes and shades. Maybe this isn’t standard protocol? Perhaps it was a slow day at the airport, and they decided that this was better than just sitting around and getting bored. Either way, their devotion to putting together an orderly display is remarkable.
Keeping Kids Happy On The Train
Train rides are a major part of Japanese daily life. Parents of young children know full well how difficult it can be at times to keep their youngsters occupied during a long journey, even more so on a busy train with many other strangers around.
Then someone in Japan decided to think of this great idea to keep the children busy and entertained during the train ride, and it looks like their idea absolutely works. This little boy is thoroughly enjoying operating a toy mockup of the engine’s controls and feeling like he’s in charge of the whole operation- While his parents can sleep peacefully. Everyone’s happy!
The 20 Seconds Apology
Public transport is home to many unforeseen circumstances like lateness, hikes in prices, and overcrowding, but never did we think that leaving earlier than usual would be a problem. Well, as surprising as it sounds, this is what happened in the Tsukuba Express of the Tokyo Train Company.
They left 20 seconds earlier than planned and put out a public apology. Yet considering how much people prefer reaching their destination earlier, we doubt anyone was seriously affected. We appreciate the thoughtfulness of the company and how organized they are, though. A trait we could all learn and apply in our daily lives.
Noodles Spa Experience
Imagine loving ramen noodles so much that taking a bath in a giant helping is seen as a viable option. Ramen lovers, look no further because anyone can take a bath in a bowl of noodles for a small fee in Japan and even bring their friends and family along.
The entire experience simply came about to replicate being in a bowl of authentic ramen noodles soup. Japanese people believe it to be relaxing and good for the skin while also being a fun affair for the whole family. We don’t think we need to add that this experience is not recommended for people who do not like noodles.
Spoons Down, Bottoms Up
In this picture is a peculiar-looking building that is designed to look like it is falling. This architectural wonder is actually located in Japan, a restaurant built to look like it is about to tip over, and it is such a cool way to dine that the experience would have one telling anecdotes about it for years to come.
Eating here would definitely be a mental trip because the mind would be trying to make sense of the entire orientation of the structure. Even though we cannot see the inside of the restaurant, we are sure it would be just as whimsically attractive inside as it is outside.
Fast Food Face-Off
There is nothing to see here, just two Japanese locals dressed up as Colonel Sanders and Ronald McDonald. These characters are the founders of rival food companies KFC and McDonalds, and as we can see, they are having a showdown of sorts in the middle of the road.
We are not sure what prompted the dress-up cosplay showdown, but one thing is for sure, the entire scene looks like fun. Now, on to more essential questions behind the mind of everyone seeing this picture, who won this mock clash? Also, was there free food involved afterward?
Warning, Wildlife Could Be Wild
When living in an area full of animals, more often than not, the humans and the wildlife in that area would interact, and it is the job of the local authorities to make sure each side stays well-protected. Crossing paths is inevitable and could be potentially dangerous, so it is better to be safe than sorry.
This poster is doing just that, informing locals of the dangers of coming in contact with wild deers in Japan while also ensuring that the information gets conveyed lightly. This way, anyone can have a laugh while seeing the pictures but also taking the warnings seriously.
Safe To Leave Valuables Here
Pickpocket or valuable things getting snatched in public transport is a typical scenario one would find in the majority of the countries, but not in Japan. No wonder why Japanese are called such well-mannered people in the world. Have a look at this picture, and it will become clear!
No, we don’t mean to show a sleeping guy on the train; instead, it’s about the confidence to leave valuables for everyone to see. Of course, it’s a dangerous thing to do in a crowded area, but when someone is in a disciplined and honest country like Japan, they can take the liberty of being fearless.
Not The Road Signs We Want
Road signs are often confusing if someone is not aware of them. It becomes more challenging to understand them in foreign countries where the meaning of a common sign changes from what it meant in one’s home country. Take the example of these traffic markings from Japan. Can anyone guess what they meant?
By the looks of that image, it seems wiser to hire a taxi than drive ourselves around there. We are sure nobody would like to be penalized for not following the road signs in an unfamiliar land. Even if someone chooses to try their luck, it’s advisable to read on it first or befriend a local.
Band For Hair-Free Dining
No matter how delicious our food is, finding a piece of hair in it is a big turn-off and people who are phobic to it often end up vomiting. While most of us deal with the problem by using hairnets and scrunchies, the Japanese have a pretty unique solution.
We don’t know what the locals call it, but this nifty headband is a clever invention and works wonders to keep hairs out of the way when eating, especially for people with long hair. We think it’s time to import it in our country as well!
With hundreds of jaw-dropping infrastructures, Japan has proven that they have some of the greatest architectural minds in the world. When people do visit the country, they get to see such a creative marvel. We are not sure what others would call it, but for us, it seems like an intelligent marketing tactic to woo customers.
Even if someone is not into coffee, they can’t ignore such a mesmerizing building when they pass by it and are more likely to strike a pose or check the place out. Who wouldn’t like to sip on a hot beverage while sitting inside a cup and enjoy the city views, right?
Cute Kitty Cat Headbands
Japanese people are known for being extreme cat lovers, so we shouldn’t be surprised when we see many cat-themed products all over Japan when we visit there. This headband is one such example that if the whole nation is into something, there are no boundaries.
It’s hard to say whether these headbands would add any fashion value to an outfit, but it is undoubtedly helpful in catching everyone’s attention. So if someone’s crush is kitten crazy, it’s advisable to gift this product to them. Maybe this is how one could gain their trust!
Unexpected Culinary Delights
It’s almost effortless to develop an obsession with something we grew up with, and with ‘Pokémon,’ the craze has become a global phenomenon. Even today, people bond with each other instantly when they discover that both have been collecting ‘Pokémon’ cards since childhood.
Of course, the Japanese have taken celebrating their beloved creation to another level by making ‘Pokémon’ burgers. It is the perfect meal for anyone who happens to love both. Still, no matter how much we love burgers, we don’t think we would be able to bite into those cute faces, even though a few of them look very delicious indeed.
It’s Time To Get Snuggly
Coming home after a long and tiring day just makes us want to jump into our bed and snuggle with our partner until we fall asleep. However, things can get hopeless when we realize that we don’t have a partner.
Well, that’s nothing to worry about, because now we have a solution to that. All that we need to do is head to Japan, find a cuddling house, pay a few Yen, and voila! We have our partner to cuddle with. It may sound bizarre, but it’s actually true. Given the rising levels of isolation in the country, Cuddle Houses are becoming increasingly popular with time.
Never Seen Before Variety
Kit-Kat is such a classic bar of chocolate that almost everybody loves. While most of us might argue over the proper way we should eat it, for example, stick by stick or all at once, its rich flavor is the one thing that keeps us all on the same page.
It seems like Japan didn’t like this unity on the flavor and decided to stir up some rivalry by introducing a hoard of different varieties. Yes, it’s the only country where we can find countless options for Kit-Kat flavors; some of which we probably won’t eat. No one can blame us for not trying soy sauce-flavored chocolate.
Nothing can beat the frustration we feel when we step out of the house with an umbrella, and the pouring rain still manages to get us wet from one angle or the other. So while we were deciding how to remedy that, and just as we were about to throw our umbrellas away, we saw this picture.
It seems like we have found the answer to all our problems. An umbrella that can protect us from every angle and even make us look like cool people from the future! The only problem is that we’d have to go all the way to Japan to acquire one of these handy innovations.
Supermarket On The Go
Our hands immediately reach inside our pockets, and we start shuffling for money whenever we see a vending machine in front of us. It’s not our fault that we become hungry; all the snacks in there look so delicious and call us to come and get some.
However, we might want to keep some extra money if we’re headed to Japan because the vending machines over there are insane. Forget about the juice and soda bottles, chips, candies, and cookies because these vending machines offer so much more that we won’t be needing a visit to the supermarket.
The Cutest Construction Barriers
Most of us have seen the usual orange and yellow traffic cones on the road, but trust Japan to have adorable barriers to make commuters and drivers smile despite the inconvenience constructions cause. Who would dare get mad at these innocent and happy-looking roadblocks, right?
In a world where people are dealing with so much stress, especially during rush hours, we’re glad simple gestures such as these could warm up their hearts. Bravo to whoever came up with this brilliant idea! Can we also have these in our cities, please?
Blue Means Go In Japan
Over the years, Japan has proven that it would much rather stand out from the crowd. The country’s unique innovations and fascinating lifestyles can testify to that. So while everyone else uses green as the color that signifies ‘go’ on their traffic lights, the land of the rising sun opted for blue.
Driving in this country for the first time must be confusing for foreigners, just as it would be confusing for a Japanese to drive in another country for the first time. Thankfully, change is only difficult at the beginning, and people eventually get used to it.
For anyone living in a country where fruits and vegetables are affordable, be thankful because Japanese people don’t enjoy such privilege. Fresh fruits in this country are considered to be a luxury that only the rich can enjoy. Imagine that!
Here’s an even more interesting fact about fruits in Japan, particularly watermelons. They can be found in different unconventional shapes, such as a square or even a heart. How? They’re grown in shaped jars so that by the time they’re ready for harvest, they have taken up the form of the container. Aside from aesthetics, it’s also practical as square watermelons are easier to stack.
Planes With Style And Character
No wonder the Japanese are reported to live longer and healthier lives! Why wouldn’t they when entertainment is embedded in their culture? It must be delightful to be called to board a flight and then walk up to such an exciting sight as this plane.
Most of us are too caught up with life that we often forget to enjoy it. We wish every country would learn from the Japanese and adopt a way of living that promotes happiness. It doesn’t have to be colorful planes, but it could be as simple as colorfully painted street walls or taxis cabs.
Weird Game Shows
Japanese people work extremely hard and play even harder, which helps to ensure that there’s a healthy work-life balance. Based on the numerous innovations this country prides itself in, it’s not surprising that they also don’t hold back in the entertainment sector.
Some of the unconventional game show ideas that Japan prides itself in include the ‘Slippery Stairs’ where contestants walk through slimy steps on a slope aiming for a treasure at the peak and the ‘Wall Of Boxes,’ that has competitors stay in one allocated spot for as long as possible. These shows promise a good laugh for anyone who wants to give them a go.
We have already established that the Japanese are good at finding ways to have fun. Another impressive way these merry people have managed this is through ‘Kuji,’ a sure win kind of lottery found in stores across the country. All one needs to do is buy a ‘Kuji ticket,’ peel it open, and claim their prize!
As with any sweepstake, Kuji prices vary from minute to exciting items; one could win a toy, a collectible figure, or even utensils. Considering a draw costs anywhere from $5 to $10, this is definitely a fun thing to try; imagine the anticipation one feels while peeling that ticket, not knowing what awaits them!
The Chow Hall
For those who have always wondered what it feels like to dine behind bars, here’s a tip; a trip to Japan will take this off the bucket list. We don’t know if this was the original idea of an ex-inmate who missed the life or just someone who dreamt of being in one, but believe it or not, someone did open a lockup-themed restaurant that served patrons in cells and with hospital equipment!
Even after ‘Alcatraz ER’ closed down, another similar eating house named ‘The Lock Up’ came up to cater to this clientele segment. We will admit to having quirky desires of our own, but even we weren’t ready for this one.
Menu – Display Window
We imagine servers get tired of opening chafing dishes every time guests want to see if what is on offer looks good enough, So the Japanese, as we now expect, came up with a solution. For everything they serve, they have a plastic replica meant just for display.
Looking at this sumptuous display, one wouldn’t even guess that none of it is edible. Yet, it seems to tick all the boxes doubling as a menu and a picture-perfect presentation. We bet it would even have passersby with no intention of dining, walk straight into the restaurant. Great idea, Japan! This is worth borrowing.
Perfect Albeit Expensive Fruit
While Japan has proven to be fun in a lot of ways, a trip to a grocery store in the country is likely to give one a culture shock. This is especially true for people originating from countries where fruits and vegetables are readily available.
Because importing fruits from countries like Mexico would be very expensive, the farmers choose to grow their own, and in the quest for perfection, only a few presentable pieces make it to repositories. These fruits end up with insane prices, with peaches and grapes fetching $300 and $500, respectively. Clearly, healthy is expensive!
Chose Your Pet Time
Does anyone want to occasionally enjoy the comfort cats can give but don’t want to go through the hustle of keeping one? Worry not, this Cat Cafe has got it covered. All one needs to do is pay the entrance fee, and with it, they get a hot beverage and an hour of kitty love.
Surprised? we are not done yet, those with a different taste can choose to cuddle bunnies, and for those that like their pets spiky, they’ve got hedgehogs too! That, as the Japanese say, is only one of the ‘kawaii’ things to do. Who wants to sign up?