Japan is a unique country. It is an amazing blend of traditions, culture, history, architecture, development, cutting edge technology and list goes on. I totally loved everything about Japan. I found some things that can only be experienced in Japan. I have compiled a list of unique experiences I got on my 15 days backpacking trip across the country.
Pachinko Parlours are gaming zone with mechanical (Now electronic) devices. These are also a site of popular gambling options. They are found in abundance in many Japanese cities. These parlours have high music and flashy lights to keep customers entertained. The main aim of the game is to capture as many balls as possible by landing balls in prized areas. Though gambling for cash is illegal in Japan, ball won in the game can be exchanged for tokens or gifts which in turn can be exchanged for money.
Porn is Publicly acceptable
No doubt we get to see so many porn news from Japan. Porn is publicly acceptable in Japan. Local convenience stores can sell porn magazines and you can see people reading that magazine in stores. Adult shops are also not difficult to locate. Though the internet doesn’t confirm this claim but locals informed me that Manga cafes are also a hub of the porn industry.
Capsule hotels are small compact 4×2 cabins which are very popular in Tokyo. You can barely sit in those cabins. They do not have fixed doors, instead, only a curtain is provided. Most hostels have a separate area for smokers but please check before going if are a nonsmoker. Generally, ladies and gents have different floors or halls. A common toilet and bathing facility is available. Most hostels also provide a microwave and hot water for instant noodles etc. They are not really cheap at around 35$ to 200$ range. Luxury capsules have controls to adjust AC flow and have TV as well.
Dog Diapers anyone?
Onsen (Natural hot water springs)
Onsens are a great way to relax in Japan’s winters. Most Onsens have now been refurbished to a cleaner and comfortable setup. Especially in Lake Kawaguchiko area where hotels have tapped natural water and made it available in small open air/ closed pools. Hotels normally allow guests not staying in the hotel against a nominal payment of 700-2000Y. You may have to pay extra for a body and face towel if it is not included in onsen fees.
But onsens are not for shy people. Japanese have an unsaid rule of bathing bare in onsens. You may wrap yourself (after taking a shower in normal water) and remove it just before entering the onsen. After you get into the water, you can put face towel. Men and women have separate onsens and some hotels also have private onsens.
I went to an onsen in Hotel. has one of the best views and facility. Highly recommended if you are in Kawaguchiko area. I preferred the open air one.
Not all onsen allow people with tattoos so check with hotel staff before you venture. Tattoos are associated with Japanese gangsters (the yakuza) groups so many places have “No tattoos” policy.
How about a toilet with warm seat and electronically controlled bidet system. Welcome to Japan. You can adjust controls to vary water temperature, intensity, and direction. Though most of the controls are in Japanese, but most hotels have put a translation in English as well.
Innovative household items
Japanese have excelled in items of daily use. They have electrified mirrors in the bathroom to avoid defogging. Even cutlery is adapted to serve people better. I never knew these small items of daily use have so many advancements pending 😉
All public servants in Japan take their job very seriously. They are all nicely dressed and are ready to go to any extent to run a business smoothly. They are very willing to help commuters and tourist to avoid any hassle. I totally loved how Japanese take their job seriously and follow protocols religiously.
Vending Machines are Omnipresent
Almost everything can be bought from vending machine. Hot/cold coffee, cold drinks, water, hot ramen/noodles, cold beer, cigarette, Ice creams etc and the list goes on. You can even charge your phone on per hourly basis using a token machine. Similarly, internet cafes have CPUs which accepts 100Y coins and charge on the time basis. Need SIM cards? no problem. Buy it from vending machines. What an awesome utilization of resources, cutting manhandling costs and making items available 24×7 at no additional costs.
lastly, I do not know what this couple is doing. Perhaps some Japanese reader can enlighten us? 😉
** Do you have an experience unique to Japan? Please share with us. **