Weirdest Things In Japan: You Won’t Believe Until You See

22 weirdest things in Japan

Due to a long history of isolation, Japan has developed many cultural features that are completely unaffected by outside influences. Feudal samurai ideals along with cutting-edge technology, teenagers in Pokemon outfits – all of that appear to be extremely strange to Western eyes. Sure, Japanese are weird sometimes but those “weird Japan stuff” also create the fascination for Japan and make it one of the most worth visiting places on Earth. Prepare to raise your eyebrow as we list 22 weirdest things in Japan in 2021.

List of weird things in Japan

  1. Maid cafe

Since we are on the topic of weird Japanese stuff, let’s touch base on maid cafes.

So, what’s exactly a maid cafe? To put it simply, a maid cafe is cosplay themed restaurants in which drinks and sweets are served by innocent looking Japanese ladies. Here you can enjoy insanely energetic and fast-paced J-pop songs performed by waitresses and try some cute pancakes, teddy shaped ice cream and all sorts of colourful sundaes. You will find kids having birthday parties here as well. Akihabara – Tokyo’s buzzing electronics district, is the best place for these types of cafés. There are always girls dressed in lolita outfits stopping men on the streets and taking them to the cafés. Join in, sing-long, embrace the craziness and you’ll have a great time!

weirdest things in japan

It’s fine for foreigners and tourists, but Japanese men should not go there as it can be considered really creepy and inappropriate

  1. Vending machine

It can be said that the best thing about Japan is all the vending machines everywhere. At slightly over five million nationwide, Japan has the highest density of vending machines worldwide. In your hotel, at the subway station, next to the postal office, next to the restaurant, on the street, next to the bus stop, they are incredibly cheap and amazing. Here you can buy anything, absolutely anything you can think off, from hot and cold beverages to fruits, ramen, sushi socks, bottled flying fish, surgical masks, and canned carrots to used underwear. If you don’t have change, use your IC card.

weirdest things in japan

If you thought vending machines were just for snacks and drinks, think again

  1. Kitchen stuff

You love weird things, that’s why you decided to visit Japan. This is where you’ll find crazy and colourful kitchen stuff and a tone of shops, full of super cute fluffy and tiny things. Visiting Harajuku is one of the best 50 things to do in Tokyo.

werid japan stuff

You see, everything in Japan is a bit kawaii crazy

  1. Food wrapper

In Japan, plastic sample dishes on food wrapper are an excellent idea, you’ll know exactly what you are going to get. Do not feel weird if you are looking at a plastic plate of food and actually start to feel hungry because it looks delicious and 100% the same as the food inside.

  1. High-tech toilet

I may have to say that the Japanese seem to have a slight obsession with toilets. They create high-tech, sparkling clean toilets with super amazing features like self-cleaning, featuring warm seats and music for increased privacy. It’s surprising that Japanese toilets haven’t made it to the rest of the world.

weird japan stuff

Some of the newest ones have a crazy amount of buttons and functions to cater for everyone’s needs

At first, many foreigners are not pro enough to handle Japanese toilets. They have to press so many buttons to utilise the loo. But then they get to enjoy an array of awesome features once they understand how the toilet works. Make sure you try all those buttons out the next time you have a chance to visit Japan.

  1. Moomin cafe

Moomin cafe is the next thing that proves the Japanese can’t be beaten by their creativity. This type of coffee shop may seem weird and crazy but they are the perfect anti-loneliness café with a plush toy as your partner. In case you were wondering, this bizarre concept went so viral, that now many countries have Moomin cafes.

weridest things in japan

This kind of coffee shop has really made it easier to hang on to a relationship

  1. Funny signs

There were loads of hilarious signs in Japan.

The illustrations alone were very enough to make every foreigner laugh out loud

  1. Social events

Kanamara Matsuri

April is the time to be amazed in Japan. Among all the reasons is the craziest event on the planet: the Kanamara Matsuri. This is a Shinto fertility festival and probably not the time to spend a day out with your parents. You will be surrounded by a lot of penis-shaped things, including, of course, lollies. Imagine what can be weirder than walking around surrounded by giant pink phalluses?

weird things in japan

A whole festival dedicated to the male reproductive system

Baby crying contest 

Usually getting a baby to stop crying is the hardest part of any parents’ day, but during the Nai Sumo Baby Crying Festival, parents will hand over their little ones to sumo wrestlers in the very hope they’ll see tears.

The traditional festival takes place at the Sensoji Temple in Tokyo, where Sumo wrestlers take the stage and hold up the participating babies and try to get them to start bellowing.The origins of the bizarre practice date back hundreds of years and behind it is the belief that somehow the piercing wails work to drive off nearby demons that would otherwise bring you to harm.

weird things about japan

It’s believed that the best cry is ensuring a long, healthy life

  1. No tip

Overall, tipping in Japan is not customary. Whether you are served at a hotel, restaurant, hair salon, or anywhere else that might expect people to tip after the service, Japanese people don’t expect or require a tip. The Japanese culture is one that is firmly rooted in dignity, respect, and hard work. As such, good service is considered the standard and tips are viewed as unnecessary. Just be polite and thank your server for their service.


  1. Game shows

Japanese game shows are the next things that add themself to the list of weirdest things about Japan 2021. They can be totally bonkers and some are so off the hook. They wouldn’t even be allowed to be screened in any other country.

These game shows often put the participating contestants in staggeringly humiliating situations. They can be downright odd, like one game show in which one item in a room is replaced with a look-alike item made of chocolate and contestants have to try to find it by biting into objects. Or they can be downright disgusting, containing gore and explicit material. Japanese game shows embrace weirdness to the full extent.

  1. Cute food

A fact is even food can be a little strange in Japan. Japanese restaurants offer rainbow cotton candy, colourful ice cream and even animal-shaped doughnuts. They even created crazy pancakes which are literally a carb bomb that looks so appetising, it’s unreal.

What’s more, pretty much every delicious fruit in Japan comes with extra packaging, made to look like a present. These fruits are usually very expensive and wrapped like this to be given as a present.

Square watermelons, and this is where watermelons get interesting, odd, and super expensive

Square watermelons were first designed to fit more compactly in fridges and to be cut more easily, but they’ve since become decorative items that can cost as much as $160. And Japanese farmers didn’t stop at square shapes either. Other shapes include love hearts and triangles, which are grown in special containers or holds and take years of practice to get their shape right.

  1. Public baths

Nothing screams weirder than the idea of a public bath. Japan is the country where you’ll find public baths filled with naked people, looking for a perfect way to relax and socialise after a hard working day.

werid things about japan

Japan has a centuries-old tradition of traditional bathhouses

Public baths are separated by gender, and swimsuits are not to be worn. These are perfectly normal in Japan, and foreigners can use them too. However, please note that some public baths may refuse entry if you wear a body tattoo.

In some spa resorts, this tradition is even turned into a uniquely Japanese twist, in which people bathe in unthinkable types of water to better clean their bodies and nourish their skin. The most enjoyable types of bathing water are ramen broth, sake and green tea.

  1. Ice-cream

A kind of ice-cream that can hold its own without melting in a short time has been invented by Japanese food scientists in 2011. It happened while the scientists were doing experiments with the chemistry of strawberries to help farmers affected by the 2011 tsunami.  A chemical that solidifies cream almost instantly was accidentally discovered. Since then, ice cream bars made with this compound have been largely produced across Japan.

Best of all, your taste buds won’t even notice

  1. KFC on Christmas

It’s the go-to spot in Japan, where people typically eat KFC on Christmas Eve. The tradition apparently started in the 1970s and now it’s so popular. You might need to order your KFC Christmas dinner weeks in advance or risk spending hours waiting in line for it.

  1. Cuddle cafes

If you thought quirky festivals or maids cafés are out of ordinary, wait until you check this out. The cuddle cafés in Akihabara allow male customers to sleep right next to other women.

Strictly no funny business allowed, although men are allowed to purchase extras such as stroking the girls’ hair or looking deep into her eyes. admission alone will set you back about $25. Options start with a 20-minute nap and range up to 10 hours, or a very full night’s rest. Prices vary considerably, with the lowest option fetching about $40 and the highest commanding the hefty price of $400.

This is definitely a little creepy, but it seems to be working in Japan.

  1. Blue traffic light

Almost universally, we learned years ago that red means stop and green means go when driving on the street. But when traveling around Japan, you’ll notice the “green light” is not the same “green” as in other countries. That’s because of a linguistic quirk of Japanese. In Japanese, the word “ao” could mean green, teal, turquoise, and aqua lights. As a result, the government mandates that traffic lights use the bluest shade of green possible – still technically green, but noticeably blue enough to still be called ao.

  1. Rabbit Island

As islands that are occupied by wild animals go, Okunoshima, better known as Usaga Jima or Rabbit Island, is probably the cutest and attracts thousands of travellers every year. Located in the East Sea of Japan, Okunoshima is inhabited by hundreds of wild rabbits that roam the forests and paths, chase tourists, appear in viral videos and just generally lounge around.

The bunnies are so friendly they’ll even jump up into your lap

  1. Gorilla as a citizen

In 2015, Tokyo’s Shinjuku ward granted citizenship to its biggest resident namely Godzilla. What’s more, Godzilla became the tourism ambassador for the Shinjuku ward. The reason cited for Godzilla’s special residency is to promote the entertainment of and watching over the Kabukicho neighborhood and drawing visitors from around the globe.

  1. Japan’s Hikikomori hermits

Emerging as a new phenomenon in Japan over the last decade, “Hikikomori” is becoming more and more serious today. This term is used to describe more than half a million Japanese (80% are male) who withdraw from all social ties – work, school, friends, hobbies – and lock themselves in their bedrooms often whittling away their time on the internet, playing video games, or watching TV.

This mental illness occurs mostly in disaffected and twenty-somethings teenagers. They are being dubbed as “the missing million.” A downturn in Japan’s economy, compounded by the centuries-long sense of shame or failure embedded within Japan’s collectivist culture are considered as the cause.

  1. Capsule hotel

The capsule hotel comes up as a great solution when saving space for real estate development in the centre of Tokyo is a serious challenge. Mainly targeting a male clientele in need of nothing but a bed, capsule hotels accommodate their guests in non-smoking small capsules. Only with $30 – 40, you can have a clean and modern capsule including a TV, coin lockers, pajamas and necessary bathroom amenities. Usually you can reserve a room with no upfront payment and free cancellation. Pay when you check out.

Capsule hotels may sound very weird at first, but it’s sure they are super comfortable

This new lodging option offers various types of guestrooms, from capsule-style bedding to bunk-bed dormitories to twin-bed economy rooms. It is considered the best for those who are looking for a budget option but want to avoid the stereotypical older-style hostel choices.

  1. Akihabara 18+

The electronic district of Tokyo doesn’t shock enough with its maid cafés, pachinko parlours and multi-story department stores, but it has yet another weird one up its sleeve. 18+ anime rentals. There are withdrawn areas where you can go in only if you are over the legal age and find the right erotic anime entertainment.

  1. Robot cafe

This list of weird things in Japan wouldn’t be complete without mentioning Japanese robot cafes. A robot cafe is where you can find 10-foot tall robots, sexy queens of the galaxy, explosions, space gorillas, 40-foot-long robotic snakes, and a ridiculous amount of laser beams. Tickets admittedly don’t come cheap. Depending on days and times, prices vary between £40 and £70. Step it up with a visit to a Robot Café, you’ll find it way weirder than you can ever imagine!

This could be the craziest bar/restaurant you’ll ever visit, but also very impressive



What things are considered rude in Japan?

  1. Eating on the go

  2. Skipping the line when waiting for trains

  3. Sticking your chopsticks vertically into a bowl of rice

  4. Leaving a tip

  5. Wearing shoes indoors when visiting Japanese homes

What things are banned in Japan?

  1. Buy a live turtle at the market

  2. Smoke in restaurants

  3. Brew alcohol stronger than one percent at home

  4. Make clones

  5. Buy cigarettes from vending machines

What is Japan most known for?

Japan is on the list of the safest countries in the world. Japan has exceptionally low crime rates, with ranking last in the number of victims of crime per capita. You must be surprised to know that in Japan, the felony rate has been kept under 5% and robbery 0.0% for years. It is generally safe to walk alone at night and to travel on public transport.

Japan has gained a reputation for being a strongly organized society, especially about the orderliness and cleanliness. Things are kept spic-and-span everywhere and trash is barely seen on any street though there are hardly any garbage bins and street cleaners.

What’s the most popular thing in Japan?

  1. Mt Fuji

  2. Cherry blossom

  3. Green tea

  4. Samurai

  5. Kimino

  6. Anime and manga

  7. Vending machine

  8. Cool toilet

  9. Capsule hotel

  10. Karaoke


Hope you guys found this list of the weirdest things in Japan helpful!

Any questions about Japanese location guide? Please leave below. We’re happy to help!


About Yuu Sato

Yuu Sato has been working in hospitality industry since 2003. In the past, he used to work as a tour guide and now he is running his business of supplying comfortable accommodations in Japan. Thanks to this experience and his passion for writing blog, the articles by him provides awesome tips and things to do when you are traveling in the country of cherry blossoms.


Leave a Reply