It is common knowledge that the land of the rising sun is also the land of some of the weirdest stuff in the world. If you are heading over to Japan, you must make time to see some of the quirky attractions the country has to offer. Here are some of our highlights:
In a country of large extended families and paper thin walls, it is easy to see why there is a large market for these ‘private’ hotels in Japan.
While locals might use them for ‘intimate’ time, they are also a big hit with tourists. Also known as ‘fashion’ and ‘boutique’ hotels, these hotels are famed for their quirky room décor.
Use a photo menu to pick whichever room takes your fancy. Room décor features Hello Kitty, UFOs (pictured), disco and classroom themes, to name a few. My personal favourite is the racing car theme, complete with chequered flags and bumper cars!
Meguro Parasitological Museum
If you have a strong stomach, you should pop in to the Meguro Parasitological Museum in Tokyo. The walls are covered with tubes and beakers containing a variety of human and animal parasites, like tapeworms, hookworms and larvae.
Established in 1953 by local doctor Satoru Kamegai, the museum’s top attraction is an 8.8m long tapeworm, which was found in the body of a 40 year old man. Lovely (!)
Once you have taken in all the delightful details of the exhibits, remember to pop in past the gift shop, where you will be able to stock up on parasite themed t-shirts and key rings. Well, I suppose it beats a stick of rock.
Japan is famous for its convenience culture, and this is epitomised in the sheer volume and variety of vending machines dotted around the country. Whatever you need, there is bound to be a vending machine that sells it, ranging from the humble can of soda to lobsters, eggs and video games.
However, there are some vending machines that are too weird, even for Japan. In 1993, three businessmen were ordered to remove some ninety vending machines from Tokyo which claimed to sell underwear that was ‘guaranteed to have been worn by a Japanese schoolgirl’. Well, I suppose you need to draw the line somewhere.
Atomic Tuna Memorial
This quirky exhibition tells the story of the Lucky Dragon, a fishing vessel that caught tuna fish in the 1950s.
The ship was on just a regular fishing trip when it started snowing in unusually warm weather. It wasn’t until one sailor died and others became sick that they realised they had sailed into a nuclear fallout of an American bombing experiment. As a result, the tuna in the hull became nuclear waste and had to be buried.
This is a poignant place to visit, but even if you don’t fancy getting caught up in the whole sentimentality of the place, it’s worth going just to say you have visited a burial ground for radioactive fish!
This bar in downtown Tokyo is one of the smallest in the world. The slimline structure has three levels and features an art gallery, but you will be lucky if you can fit more than ten people inside.
Bartenders pass drinks to the upper levels through holes in the floor, so watch your step or you may end up falling through one of them!
Have you ever been to Japan? What are your favourite places to visit? Let us know in the comments section below!