The land of sushi and sumo is shrouded in wonder, a visitor’s paradise. Taking culture shock to all new heights, a holiday to Japan is sure to leave you with more questions than answers. But what’s the wackiest practices and cultural norms that you need to see for yourself? An itinerary of oddities is listed below, things are about to get really weird.
#1 Animal Cafes
A trend of animal interaction cafes has spawn a mass of wonderful establishments. For your patting pleasure. Cat Cafe, owl Cafe rabbit cafe, take your furry friend of choice and enjoy a meal and selfie. Like a zoo where you dine in the enclosure.
#2 Themed eateries
Cuisine is not enough for the whimsy Japanese, they love a good theme restaurant. In what would be considered kitsch back home is celebrated for all it’s quirks here. You can eat at the Kill Bill Restaurant, dine in an old mental institution at Alcatraz Restaurant – complete with rabid servers. Maybe the lights of the robot restaurant is more your tune where dinner and a show is taken to new electrifying heights. Or for those with simple tastes Mr Kanso is hugely popular with locals, serving only canned delights. Seriously.
#3 Sleep a little differently
Unless you ask for a Western room don’t expect to be plunging yourself onto a plush bed after a day exploring. A nation all about efficiency, they take their sleep very seriously. It’s not unusual to see Japanese businessman enjoying a well deserved nap on the subway home. For those of us visiting why not take to the tatami, the floor mat laid out for maximum comfort – it’s great for your spine. Or for the less claustrophobic a night in a capsule hotel, where guests are literally compartmentalised.
#4 Bathe like you mean it
Perhaps it’s the tranquility of a onesen that has you excited to visit this charming country, all steam and relaxation. You can dive into a spa with local snow monkeys as your hosts if you travel north, but that’s not all. Well for a country that love to bathe, we’d expect nothing less than Yunessun Spa Resort – a spa theme park. You can plunge into wine, ramen, coffee or broth and soak for hours. Merlot bath anyone?
#5 Pressing all the buttons
Convenience is key, which you’ll learn swiftly upon arriving at any Japanese 7/11, it’s a smorgasbord. From vending machines lining all streets, filling restaurants and arcades, you can get anything you want at a push of a button. Ramen, sushi, hot drinks, cold drinks, alcohol, fruit, utility items? Fret not, the vending machine holds it all for all hours collection. If you get a little trigger happy with the buttons, just make sure to work your way through the full range of bathroom options too, with a little console linked to every toilet. Life changing.
Image source: The Blade, The Marke World, Uniq Hotels, World of Wanderlust.