Japan is known worldwide as being a land of the bizarre and the wonderful with visitors returning with tales of kooky things they’ve seen and found on their travels. With a vastly different culture to elsewhere in the world, there are many things that you’re likely to only do in Japan, which is what makes this unique country so fascinating. Here are some of our favorites…
1.East sushi for breakfast
Tokyo’s Tsukiji Fish market is one of the most famous markets in the world and one of the must visit spots of the Japanese capital. Get there early for the best experience and to feel the buzz of the early morning trade. Whether you fancy oysters or squid, tuna or octopus, pull up a perch a fill yourself up on a breakfast of some of the world’s best sushi!
2.Visit a cat café (and it be a totally normal thing to do)
The concept is bizarre, but it’s actually strangely satisfying and has an instantly calming effect. Chill out with a cup of coffee and gawp and the cute kittens as they snooze and play. You’ll come out feeling all serene and smiley, and chuffed at having just done something truly ‘Japanese’ – bonus traveller points there!
3.Dine on some ‘mystery’ fried street food
Throughout Japan – particularly in and around parks, stations and the run up to temples – there’ll be a gaggle of street food vendors frying up all kinds of things – many are unrecognisable, but that’s half the fun! The fried octopus balls have been known to shock a traveller or two, but you could also luck out and end up with some delicious fried Japanese dumplings. Winner!
4.Be awed by vending machines
All around Japan you’ll find the best vending machines you’ve ever seen. You may not recognise some of the things in them, but there is massive entertainment in guessing! From weird and wonderful toys and anime figurines to iced teas and luminous fizzy drinks, they’re guaranteed to amuse you. Some restaurants even make you place your order via a vending machine outside!
5.Have One Too Many Chuhais
You’ll find this classic Japanese cocktail all over the place – and it’s great! Made from shochu, a traditional local spirit, and mixed with the likes of lemon and lime, it’s the perfect bar choice in Japan and a great accompaniment to all that amazing food you’ll be ordering in restaurants. It’s cool, refreshing, and easy on the purse-strings too.
6.Try cherry blossom flavored ice cream
Cherry blossom season is the most popular time of year to visit Japan, and the parks and gardens really are beautiful during those fleeting weeks. What makes it even better though, is the cherry blossom flavored ice cream. Creamy, fruity and cooling, this one is a must!
7.Hang out in baseball bars
Unexpected, but the Japanese are huge baseball fans! If you happen to stumble upon a baseball fan bar, go in! Hanging out in these ‘old man bars’ is such good fun, even more so if you’re a group of girls, as the locals will find it quite bizarre and really amusing. The food is amazing – simple ‘pub grub’, but seemingly incredible to the unaccustomed westerner – and you’ll be cheersing beers with the locals in no time!
8.Choose your meal from a plastic selection
Many visitors to Japan worry about how they will get by when they are there given the incredibly complex language. Fear not though, as restaurants tend to have plastic models of their offerings in their window display, so you can see what takes your fancy and point it out to the waiter.
9.Dine on Kobe Wagyu Beef and not have it break the bank
Apart from the obvious sushi and noodle dishes, Japan is famous for its incredible Waguy beef, and the city of Kobe is renowned as being home to one of the best types. Locate just 30 minutes from Osaka it’s worth making the effort to dine here. Try Steakland restaurant near the train station for an amazing culinary experience.
10.Take on Shibuya crossing
You may have traveled to lots of big cities around the world, but you probably won’t have experienced a set up like the zebra crossings in Shibuya, Tokyo. Here crossing the road is an event in itself, with people zig-zagging from all directions! It’s both overwhelming and exciting at once. You’ll want to cross it again for sure!