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Top 5 unusual things you can find in Japan

Japan has a very unique culture, and  there are lots of things you would find only in Japan. If you have been to Japan what did you find the most surprising? Here are our picks of Top 5 Unusual Things You Find in Japan.

1. Vending machines that serve you HOT drinks and foods

Japan is famous for its number and variety of vending machines. In addition, Japan has the highest density of vending machines worldwide. According to the Japan Vending Machine Manufactures Association, there is approximately 1 vending machine per every 23 people.

The most common vending machines you will find everywhere in Japan are for drinks. Although much fewer in number than those of selling drinks, there are some vending machines which sell ice cream, bread, snacks, books, magazines, T-shirts, even cigarettes and alcoholic beverages.

Japan’s vending machines usually have COLD (blue) and HOT (red) drink sections. So you can have not only a bottle of cold drink, but also a can/bottle/cup of warm coffee, tea or soup. The hot drink section of the machines become popular during the cold season, and you can find even more varieties of them.

Hot foods such as hotdog, hamburger, hot chips, karaage, takoyaki, yakisoba can also be purchased straight from the machine. They are cooked inside the machine in just less than 2 minutes and ready to eat!

2. Japan’s High-tech Toilet

You will be incredibly surprised how many functions Japan’s toilets have!

Toilet seat automatically opens as you walk in and lock the door. The seat is heated, so you don’t feel cold when you sit down on a cold day. They even play music or make sounds to disguise your doing the “business”, and flush automatically when you finish and stand up.

Nowadays, it is harder to find traditional toilet or “plain toilet” at people’s homes and in public spaces, especially in Tokyo and other big cities. Public toilets can be found quite easily at train stations, parks and department stores, and they are exceptionally clean and free of charge.

You might also find interesting that Japan’s home toilet usually has a hand wash basin over the toilet water tank. You wash your hands in clean water before the water goes into the tank and next used to flush the toilet. How clever and environmentally conscious is that?

3. Umbrellas lockers and dryers

Have you ever seen lockers for an umbrella? Department stores, office buildings, theme parks or attractions often have them in Japan. Japan has lots of rainy days, not just during the rainy season around June. So, an umbrella is a common item that people carry. (By the way, Japanese weather forecasts are pretty accurate, so it is safe to take an umbrella only on the days that rain is forecast.) In addition, a lot of Japanese people use a sun umbrella called “Higasa” to avoid sunlight on a fine day as well. The lockers make your life easier, keeping your umbrella safe while you are shopping or attending to your business.

The image on the right is an umbrella dryer. It has special fabric which absorbs water and drys an umbrella. Plastic covers were commonly used for wet umbrellas, however nowadays they are being replaced for environmental reasons.

4. Nomunication culture

When you are out at night in Japan, you might see lots of business people in their suit at Izakaya pubs till late night. Wonder why?

A Japanese modified word, “Nomunication” is made up of a Japanese word “nomu” (means drinking) combined with an English word, “communication”.

Japanese business people (especially older men) love going for drinks at Izakaya pub with their co-workers after work. It was believed that socialising with co-workers or business partners over drinks achieved a closer relationship, understanding each other better and thus successful business. Therefore, they often go out for dinner or drinks with their co-workers, bosses or clients after their working hours.

5. Queueing

Queueing is a big part of Japanese culture, especially in big cities. In Japan, everyone follows many unspoken rules in their daily life which maintain the peaceful harmony among people. Queueing is one of them. You will often see long lines of many people at train station especially during the peak hour. Once the train arrives at the station, they even move perfectly in a line and make some room for people who are getting off the train. .

You will see the queues on streets, too. Japanese people queues for popular items that were introduced on TV programs or magazines. You will probably see a long line of people in front of popular restaurant, bakery, cake shops and so on.  A long queue in front of the shop make us very curious. Some people actually get into the line without knowing what they are waiting for because they think there is something special.

Jokingly, some say, if you sand still on the streets in Japan, soon you will have a queue behind you.

These are just examples, but there are a lot more unusual or unique things you would find only in Japan. Would you like to share what your thing is unique or unusual in Japan? We would love to hear from you, and share on our future blog.

On our Blog page, you will find more articles about Japanese culture, Japanese cooking recipes and useful travel tips. Please check them out!