Kevin and I have traveled a lot. Yet, Japan was full of some really strange things unlike anywhere we’ve been. That’s when I decided to jot some of these odd moments down — and you know what? My list ended up going over 1 page! But I’ve narrowed it down to the top 12 weird and wonderful Japanese things… And no, the list doesn’t include wasabi ice cream (because I found even weirder foods!).
12. Melons That Cost Over $200
Musk melons can be found in any department store in the basement level and can cost anywhere from $100 to over $200! When purchasing one of these gift melons the store clerk will ask you on which day it will be eaten. They then select one in your price range that will be at its peak time for consumption on that day.
11. Pod Hotels
There is just something a little creepy about crawling inside a room that is the size of a coffin. But hey, it’s a cheap night!
10. No Garbage Cans Anywhere… Like Really!
Before going to Japan, I heard how clean it is. It’s true! But what’s really strange is the lack of garbage cans. We literally spent entire days carrying our trash with us until we got back to the hotel.
9. Sandals Only Used for the Bathrooms
I knew about the high-tech toilets. But sandals just for the bathroom? Many restaurants (and smaller hotels) request you to take off your shoes when entering and put on sandals. But you get a BONUS pair just for the bathroom. It’s a lot to keep track of and I’m pretty sure I swapped them a few times (don’t tell anyone!).
8. Coffee Culture is Huge, Along With Offbeat Themed Cafes
I’ve already wrote about the Owl Cafe – a place you’d probably not want to drink much coffee inside. But Japanese love coffee shops. Move over tea shops! We’ve never been to a country with more Starbucks in one place. And they’re all packed!
7. The Minimart 7-Eleven Is Pretty Awesome in Japan
I have to admit – I probably hit up the 7-Eleven in Japan at least 3 times a day. I’m lucky if I go to a 7-Eleven at all in the US. It not only had cheap and tasty sushi, but it is one of the only places where ATM machines worked for American cards. Plus, they always seemed to have garbage cans. I was in heaven…7-Eleven!
6. The Robot Restaurant in Tokyo
Anthony Bourdain ate at the Robot Restaurant for his show Parts Unknown. It’s definitely touristy, makes no sense and the food is overpriced (though you can just buy drinks). But it’s a lot of fun. And full of … well, dancing robots and other creatures!
5. Vending Are Everywhere And Used For Everything
Why have a human when you can interact with a machine? Vending machines sell everything from beer to ramen and everything in between. And you’ll find them just about everywhere.
4. Kit Kats Are An Obsession
Baked potato, soy sauce, apples just to name a few. Kit Kat translates into “good luck” in Japanese and incredibly popular as gifts. There are literally dozens of flavors that reflect flavors in Japan. So if you’re craving that hot chili or wasabi Kit Kat — you’ve found your place!
3. Bullet Trains Are Seriously Fast – And Leave on Time!
Hold on tight if you’re walking on a bullet train – these trains can run at speeds of up to 200 miles per hour. By comparison, Acela Express, the fastest train line in the US, runs at an average speed of 68 miles per hour and 150 mph in limited stretches.
2. A Town Overrun With Deer
The town of Nara, located just outside Osaka, is a place where deer roam free and pretty much do whatever they want. Vendors sell food to unknowing tourists. But be careful! If there is one thing that makes a deer angry in Nara, it is when you have no more food. Just remember to RUN!!!
1. Weird Food – Ice Cream Topped With Shrimp Anyone?
Need I say more?