Most of us are entitled to our limited knowledge of Japan that consists of mouth-watering hibachi and sushi being served at every Benihana around the world, the Geishas in kimonos, anime, Hello Kitty and Pokemon among other things. But to your surprise, Japan is the most natural and the most futuristic place in the world bursting with vibrant cultural values and superior technology embedded in its DNA.
Here are some of the best and the weirdest things in Japan that crowned itself as the most dramatic destination in the world.
1. Aokigahara Suicide Forest
Located on Honshu Island, Mount Fuji is the highest mountain in Japan elevated at the height of 12,389 ft. An active volcano, it last erupted in the year 864 and eventually gave birth to a lush forest over its dried lava, now called the ‘’sea of trees’’ or ‘’Aokigahara’’. In search of solitude, old members of the society would visit this dense forest to commit suicide because they couldn’t adapt to the norms of survival.
2. Harajuku Fashion Street
Harajuku is the focal point of Japanese culture and street-style fashion. On a daily basis, people explore their orthodox fashion sense that soon became a style statement for renowned designers everywhere. From Kawaii to Lolita, satiate your thirst for anime and cosplay.
3. Love hotels
Japanese are best known for being pioneers in esoteric traditions. Love hotels are one of them. Now that even the world recognizes this tradition of short-term stay in hotels exclusively available for sexual activities, it was originated in Osaka, Japan. This 50 billion dollar industry has over 37,000 love hotels in the country.
4. Capsule hotels
With the travel industry booming, people are now pitching their ideas and money in starting youth hostels that cater to the need of travelers with a tight budget. Japan, like always, has a different ball game set for people who don’t wish to indulge in a standard hotel service with amenities. World’s first capsule hotel was built in Osaka in 1979.
5. Vending machines
This is one element that is impossible to be missed in Japan. At every nook and cranny of the streets, overwhelming numbers of vending machines are located. From condoms, sushi socks and energy drinks to puppies, umbrellas and surgical masks, you’d get everything that’s downright unexpected and bizarre.
6. Robot restaurant
Beyond all the futuristic storytelling and dystopian world, there is a realm quite real in the Kabukicho district of Japan. World’s first fully enhanced robot restaurant where scantily clad women perform acts using uber robots.
Fugu is a Japanese word for pufferfish that is an exotic delicacy and one of the most expensive dishes to be served in the country. Due to its toxic inner parts, the dish requires a permit for any restaurant and the chef must have preparation license and years of practice to make it. Fugu is the food the Emperor of Japan is forbidden to eat.
8. Boyfriends for hire
Yes, in Japan, you get platonic rent-a-date service for the right price. Exclusively at host bars, you get to enjoy the company of a boy or a girl at a cost. These ‘’male players’’ get everything required to impress a lady such as cars, grooming, and money. Not only this, there’s also an extensive training procedure these hosts have to go through to expertise.
9. Schoolgirl culture
Akihabara is yet another busy district in Japan populated with migraine-inducing neon sign boards. But, amidst those signboards and busy crowd you’ll notice schoolgirls with pamphlets. In Japanese culture, this is known as the ‘’Joshi Kosei’’, which means high school female student. These girls charge money for various little pleasure like fortune telling, walk dating across the street, and sell cartoons, comic books. They even advertise restaurants.
10. Cat island
There are two types of people in the world; the cat lover versus the dog lovers. As cuddly and furry as it sounds, Japan has about a dozen cat islands where these feline residents outnumber humans by the ratio of six to one. Aoshima Island is one such island these cats call home.
11. Rabbit Island
On most gloomy days (read= Mondays), don’t we all wish to be smothered by the cuteness of nature. Rabbits in this scenario will do so if you travel to Okunoshima. This island in Japan was a production site for chemical weapons during the Second World War. But now this place inhabits thousands of rabbits roaming freely and spreading some furry love.
12. Black eggs of Owakudani
This volcanic valley aka the great boiling valley is known for its active sulphur vents and hot springs. The kuro-tamago or the black eggs turn black due to being boiled in the hot sulphur springs. It is believed that consuming these eggs will increase your lifespan by 7 years.
Have you been to Japan yet? Happy traveling and keep exploring!