Japan is a country of contrasts. Opposing the traditional side, there is a type of craziness that you will unlikely find somewhere else. Discover Japan’s wacky side with this list of 20 crazy things to do during your trip!
1. Discover vending machines selling crazy stuff
Japan is well known for its wacky vending machines. There are vending machines selling everything you can imagine. You can buy flower arrangements, Buddhist charms, underwear, fresh eggs, French fries, barbecued meat, toasted sandwiches, neckties, and much more. Search for the craziest ones!
2. Feed wild deer
Nara is a city in the Kansai area that is roamed by thousands of wild deer. It is said that deer were considered sacred and killing them was forbidden. This is why such a large number was reached. The deer are used to people and come extremely close. You can buy special snacks and feed them. But be careful though, they are still wild animals with unexpected reactions.
- Access: Nara Station
3. Go to a maid cafe
A maid café is a store where girls dressed as maids treat customers as masters or mistresses. The customer is always greeted with “welcome back home!” and then pampered with various types of cute food and drinks like pink smoothies and omelets with heart shapes. Other activities like singing and taking pictures are also included in the service. The first maid café appeared in Akihabara and was originally intended for male customers, but has become increasingly popular among females as well.
4. Go to a love hotel
Japan has hotels especially for…making love! Even if you are not traveling with your partner, going to a love hotel is still a crazy thing you could experience. There are all kinds of themed hotels and seeing the décor inside is extremely interesting. Among the craziest things you can find inside such an establishment there are carousels, car shaped beds, armors, roulette tables, etc.
5. Dine at the Moomin Cafe
Moomin Café is an anti-loneliness café where visitors can have a meal together with a stuffed toy. It was created because many people felt awkward when eating alone. The owners found a solution for this by letting you eat next to a stuffed friend! Moomin is a character for a popular book and comic series by Tove Jansson, a Finnish author. The big Moomin plushies are placed on a chair in front of you and you can enjoy your meal!
6. Explore weird fashion
Harajuku in Tokyo is the place to go if you want to see weird fashion. Harajuku is a gathering place for various fashion subcultures. You can see a lot of people with clothes that differ from the norm or people wearing costumes and accessories to represent anime or manga characters. Some people usually walk around to show their clothes and take pictures with tourist. Takeshita Doori, the street in front of Harajuku Station also has various shops with interesting clothes and jewelry related to the area’s fashion.
- Access: Harajuku Station
7. Go see the world’s shortest escalator
The world’s shortest escalator is located in Kawasaki City, Kanagwa. The height of the escalator is a mere 83 centimeters and has just five steps. It actually takes longer to ride the escalator that climbing the stairs next to it. If you are in the area, definitely check out this useless and crazy record holding escalator!
- Access: Odakyu More Departament Store, Kawasaki Station
8. Become a sushi chef for a day
Who doesn’t love sushi? In Japan, you can take sushi making classes and feel like a sushi chef for a day. The lessons start with a visit to Tsukiji Market to buy fresh fish. Then you are taught the secrets of sushi making and actually try preparing some delicious dishes! Not only the whole experience is delicious, but you will also leave with some interesting knowledge.
- Website: http://tokyotourswithtomomi.weebly.com/tour-descriptions.html
9. Visit a pet cafe
Pet cafes are very popular in Japan. Such cafes were created because most people live in small rooms where they can’t or are not allowed to own a pet. This way they can interact with animals without actually having to own one. There are pet cafes with several types of animals, from the usual cats and dogs to wackier ones such as llamas, reptiles, goats and owls. For a small fee you can enjoy some drinks and playing with the animals.
10. Shop at Don Quijote
Don Quijote is a large store chain that sells everything you can think of. The wackiest things you can find are: a perverted Boba Fett with pig trotters instead of legs, fish and almond snacks, Michael Jackson masks, butt or breast shaped pillows or cat ears that measure your brainwaves and start moving when you are happy. The store is packed with crazy stuff! Go and take a look!
11. Take purikura
Purikura is a fun booth where you can take pictures with your friends. Priced at around 400 yen per photo session, everything starts with taking a few pictures on a green background. Then you are told to move to a side room with a screen where you can decorate your pictures. Various decorations are available, from sparkling stars and hearts to makeup, glasses and hats. You can then choose the layout and of the final picture sheet and take your printed purikura.
12. Experience otaku culture
Otaku is the Japanese word for people who are obsessed with something, generally anime, manga, idols or video games. The otaku culture is widespread in Japan – and it will leave you speechless most of the time. Attend an AKB48 concert, the 48 girls idol group or go to Akihabara in Tokyo, the heaven of otaku with thousands of merchandise stores and weird cafes.
13. Go to a host/hostess club
Host and hostess club are part of the night Japanese entertainment industry. The customers pay for a male or female company and are given a list with pictures to choose the host from. The host then will entertain the customer with interesting conversations, drinks and karaoke. Hosts are chosen based on their looks and are ranked by popularity. You will often see hosts on the street trying to find customers. If you’re looking for interesting experiences, give it a try!
14. Eat weird food
If there would be a contest of weird food, Japan would win. With the difference that weird food in Japan can actually be delicious. You can try basashi (raw horse meat), shirako (fish sperm), natto (sticky and smelly beans), tamagogani (dried crunchy crabs), harumon (intestines or organs), nankotsu (fried chicken cartilage) or odori-don (dancing octopus over rice).
15. Try unusually flavored sweets
Japan is renowned for making all kinds of sweet products with unusual flavors like ice cream and Kit Kat wafers. The candy can taste like jellyfish, cherry blossoms, seaweed, crab, soy sauce, grilled potato, salty watermelon, apple vinegar, oyster, miso, curry, eel, chicken wing, eggs, octopus, beer and much more.
16. Have fun with…toilets
Japanese toilets can be very complicated. There are many buttons with different functions on the toilet seats. Pressing each of them can be a crazy thing to experience, but be careful – stay on the toilet while playing with the button, otherwise you might get a water splash in your face!
17. Stay at a capsule hotel
A capsule hotel is a type of hotel specific to Japan that features a large number of capsule-like rooms. The rooms consist of a bed without any place to stand up and were created for guests who require very cheap accommodation without the need of usual hotel amenities. The capsule rooms are stacked in rows next to each other, with steps provided for the upper rooms. They are primarily used by men, but establishments offering rooms for women also exist.
18. Attend a wacky festival
Besides traditional festivals, Japan has a lot of weird festivals such as the Hadaka Matsuri, where men wear just loincloths, Naki Sumo Matsuri, where sumo wrestlers make strange faces at babies to make them cry or the Bellybutton Festival, where people paint their bellybuttons into faces. But maybe the weirdest of all is Kanamra Matursi, the penis festival. People carry a giant “thing” while munching on penis shaped candy
19. Go to an ear cleaning cafe
Ever dreamed of staying on a girl’s lap while she cleans your ears? No? Well, it’s time to! Because Japan has ear cleaning cafes! Kimono dressed girls or cosplaying girls welcome you inside the café and serve you some tea. Then they place your head on their laps and using a special ear pick, proceeds to clean your ears. More tea drinking follows the “procedure”.
20. See a sumo match
Sumo is a Japanese type of wrestling where two fighters struggle to push each other out of a circular ring. Being Japan’s national sport, matches attract many watchers. Three sumo tournaments are held in Tokyo every year and each lasts for 15 days, with matches being held everyday. Tickets are sold for each match and can be purchased directly from the vendor, from the stadiums where the matches are held or from convenience stores. Besides attending a match, there is also the option of going to a sumo stable, a place where the wrestlers live and train.
Crazy enough? Have a good trip and travel!