Japan is an island country in East Asia, located in the Pacific Ocean. It is known for its unique blend of ancient traditions and modern technology, as well as its rich culture, cuisine, and history. Japan is the world’s third-largest economy and a major player in international trade and finance. Some interesting facts about Japan include its high life expectancy, love of vending machines, passion for baseball, and extensive railway network. The country is also home to many beautiful natural and man-made landmarks, such as Mount Fuji, Tokyo Tower, and the Itsukushima Shrine. Here are 20 Mind-Blowing Facts About Japan That You Need To Know
20 Mind-Blowing Facts About Japan That You Need To Know
1. In Japan, sleeping at work will not get you fired
In Japan, taking a nap at work is not necessarily seen as a negative thing, but rather as a sign of dedication and hard work. The practice of taking short naps, called “inemuri,” is common in Japan and is often seen as a way to show that the person is working so hard that they don’t have enough time to get sufficient sleep outside of work.
However, it’s important to note that inemuri is not the same as sleeping on the job or being unproductive. It’s expected that the person will still be aware of what’s going on around them and ready to respond if necessary. Additionally, inemuri is generally accepted in specific situations, such as during long meetings or conferences, and is not meant to be a regular occurrence.
2, Having crooked teeth in Japan is considered cute
It is a popular belief in Japan that crooked teeth, known as “yaeba,” can make a person appear more approachable and cute. This trend is particularly popular among young women who undergo cosmetic dentistry procedures to intentionally make their teeth appear misaligned or crowded. Some Japanese celebrities and pop stars have also embraced the “yaeba” look, making it a popular trend in Japanese beauty standards.
3. Fake food displayed at restaurants
Fake food, also known as “sampuru” in Japanese, is commonly displayed at restaurants in Japan to give customers an idea of what the food on the menu looks like. These plastic or resin replicas are often highly detailed and realistic, and they are used as a visual aid to help customers decide what they want to order.
The practice of using fake food displays in restaurants is thought to have originated in Osaka in the early 20th century, and it has since become a widespread tradition in Japan. The use of fake food displays is not limited to high-end restaurants; they can also be found at fast-food chains, street vendors, and even vending machines.
Creating these replicas requires a high level of skill and craftsmanship, as well as attention to detail. Artisans use a variety of techniques, including molding, airbrushing, and hand painting, to create realistic-looking food items.
While the use of fake food displays is primarily a Japanese phenomenon, it has also become popular in other parts of the world, particularly in Asian countries such as South Korea and Taiwan. The use of fake food displays is seen as a way to enhance the dining experience and provide customers with a more informed and enjoyable meal.
4. More adult diapers are sold than children diapers
in Japan, more adult diapers are sold than children’s diapers. This is due in part to Japan’s aging population, as the country has one of the highest proportions of elderly citizens in the world.
As people age, they may experience incontinence or other conditions that require the use of adult diapers. In Japan, where there is a strong cultural emphasis on cleanliness and hygiene, many elderly individuals and their families choose to use adult diapers as a way to maintain a sense of dignity and avoid embarrassment.
At the same time, Japan’s birth rate has been declining in recent years, which means there are fewer children and infants in the country. As a result, there is less demand for children’s diapers compared to adult diapers.
This trend has significant implications for Japan’s economy and society, as the aging population puts pressure on the country’s healthcare system and social services. It also highlights the need for policies and programs that support elderly citizens and their families, as well as efforts to address the country’s demographic challenges more broadly.
20 Mind-Blowing Facts About Japan That You Need To Know
5. Social Withdrawal in Japanese Youth
Social withdrawal, or hikikomori, among Japanese youth is a phenomenon that has gained attention in recent years. Hikikomori refers to individuals, typically young adults, who withdraw from social interactions and often remain isolated in their homes for extended periods of time.
While the prevalence of hikikomori is difficult to determine, some estimates suggest that there may be hundreds of thousands of individuals who experience this phenomenon in Japan. Hikikomori is often associated with feelings of social anxiety, depression, and a lack of direction or purpose in life.
There are various factors that may contribute to the development of hikikomori among Japanese youth. These include cultural pressures to conform, high academic or work demands, a sense of isolation or disconnection from society, and a lack of support or resources for mental health issues.
Efforts have been made to address the issue of hikikomori in Japan, including government programs and initiatives aimed at providing support and assistance to individuals experiencing social withdrawal. However, there is still a need for greater awareness and understanding of the issue, as well as a broader cultural shift towards valuing mental health and well-being.
Punctuality is considered very important in Japan, and it is a part of the country’s cultural values. Being on time is seen as a sign of respect for other people’s time and schedules, and it is expected in both personal and professional settings.
In Japanese society, people are expected to arrive at meetings, appointments, and other engagements on time or even a few minutes early. Lateness is generally considered impolite and disrespectful, and it can damage a person’s reputation or relationships with others.
This emphasis on punctuality is reflected in many aspects of Japanese life, from public transportation schedules that run on time to the precision and efficiency of various industries. Many Japanese companies, for example, have strict rules about punctuality and attendance, and employees are expected to arrive at work on time every day.
Overall, punctuality is an important aspect of Japanese culture, and it is something that visitors to Japan should be aware of and try to adhere to as much as possible.
7. Square watermelons are a thing in Japan
Square watermelons are indeed a thing in Japan. They are a novelty item that has been produced and sold in the country since the 1980s, and they are typically grown in plastic or glass containers that shape the fruit as it grows.
Square watermelons are not intended to be eaten; instead, they are primarily used as decorative items or gifts. They are often given as presents during the summer season, particularly around the time of the Obon festival, which is a time for honoring ancestors and remembering the dead.
The square shape of these watermelons is believed to make them easier to store and transport, as well as to fit more efficiently in refrigerators. However, they are also significantly more expensive than regular watermelons, with prices ranging from around $50 to several hundred dollars each.
While square watermelons are not a staple food in Japan and are not widely consumed, they are a popular novelty item that has become associated with Japanese culture and creativity.
8. Vending machines at every street corner
Vending machines are indeed a common sight on the streets of Japan. In fact, it is estimated that there are over 5 million vending machines in the country, which works out to roughly one vending machine for every 23 people!
These vending machines offer a wide range of products, including beverages, snacks, cigarettes, and even hot food items such as noodles and rice dishes. Many vending machines are equipped with advanced features such as touchscreens, cashless payment options, and even facial recognition technology.
The popularity of vending machines in Japan can be attributed to a variety of factors, including the convenience they offer, the safety and reliability of the machines, and the high demand for on-the-go food and drink options in urban areas.
While vending machines are a common feature of Japanese culture, they are not without their controversies. Some have criticized the environmental impact of the machines, particularly the amount of waste generated by plastic bottles and containers. Additionally, there have been concerns about the safety and security of vending machines, particularly those that sell alcohol or other potentially harmful products.
Despite these concerns, vending machines remain a ubiquitous feature of Japanese society, and they continue to offer a convenient and accessible way to purchase a variety of products on the go.
9. Number 4 is considered to be unlucky
number 4 is considered unlucky in Japan, a superstition known as tetraphobia. This is because the word for “four” in Japanese, “shi,” is pronounced similarly to the word for “death,” also “shi.” As a result, many Japanese people avoid using the number 4 in various contexts, including phone numbers, room numbers, and gift-giving.
For example, hospitals and hotels may not have a room number that contains the number 4, and some apartment buildings may skip the fourth floor entirely. Additionally, gifts are often given in sets of three or five, rather than four.
The superstition around the number 4 is not unique to Japan and is also found in other East Asian countries such as China, Korea, and Taiwan. However, it is worth noting that not all Japanese people are superstitious about the number 4, and many do not take the belief seriously.
Overall, while the belief in unlucky numbers may seem unusual to those from other cultures, it is a significant aspect of Japanese folklore and is deeply ingrained in many aspects of daily life.
10. Never leave your chopsticks straight up in the bowl of rice
Leaving chopsticks straight up in a bowl of rice or any dish is considered to be a taboo in Japan, as it is reminiscent of a ritual performed at funerals where rice is offered to the deceased with chopsticks stuck upright in the bowl of rice. This practice is called “tsuribashi” or “meoto-bashi,” and it is considered to be very bad luck to imitate it at the dinner table.
In Japan, it is customary to rest chopsticks on the chopstick rest or on the side of the plate/bowl when not in use. If chopstick rests are not provided, it is acceptable to place the chopsticks across the bowl or plate. Leaving chopsticks sticking straight up in the food is seen as disrespectful and is considered to be a breach of Japanese etiquette.
Overall, it is important to be aware of the cultural customs and etiquette when dining in Japan or with Japanese people. By following these customs, visitors can show respect and appreciation for Japanese culture and avoid any unintended offense.
20 Mind-Blowing Facts About Japan That You Need To Know
11. There’s an island with thousands of rabbits
There is an island in Japan called Ōkunoshima, also known as Rabbit Island, where thousands of wild rabbits roam free. The island is located in the Seto Inland Sea and was previously used as a site for chemical weapon production during World War II, but now it is a popular tourist destination known for its fluffy residents.
The rabbits are believed to have been brought to the island in the 1970s by local schoolchildren who released them there as part of a class project. Over time, the rabbit population grew, and now visitors can see them hopping around the island, interacting with humans, and munching on carrots and other treats provided by visitors.
The island has become a popular tourist attraction, and visitors can enjoy a variety of activities such as feeding the rabbits, exploring the island’s beaches and hiking trails, and visiting the island’s museums, which provide insight into the island’s wartime past.
Overall, Ōkunoshima is a unique and charming destination that offers visitors the opportunity to interact with its friendly rabbit residents while also learning about the island’s fascinating history.
12. Love hotels are very popular among locals
Love hotels are a popular accommodation option in Japan, especially among couples and young people who are looking for a private and affordable place to spend time together.
Love hotels are often designed with a romantic or erotic theme and offer amenities such as jacuzzi tubs, karaoke machines, and adult channels on the TV. They typically offer rooms for short-term stays, ranging from a few hours to overnight stays.
Love hotels are found throughout Japan, but they are more prevalent in urban areas such as Tokyo and Osaka. While love hotels are often associated with illicit activities, they are also used by couples looking for a private and discreet place to spend time together without the prying eyes of family or roommates.
It is worth noting that love hotels are generally accepted in Japanese society, and they are regulated by the government to ensure the safety and cleanliness of the facilities. However, they are not considered a mainstream accommodation option, and many Japanese people may not have personal experience with them.
Overall, love hotels are a unique aspect of Japanese culture and offer visitors an opportunity to experience a different type of accommodation while also learning about the attitudes towards love, sex, and relationships in Japan.
13. Naki Sumo Crying Baby Festival
Naki Sumo, also known as the Crying Baby Festival, is a traditional event held at some shrines and temples in Japan to pray for the health and growth of young children.
During the festival, babies between the ages of six months and one year are dressed in traditional clothing and brought to the shrine or temple, where they are placed on a sumo wrestling ring mat. Two sumo wrestlers then face off against each other and try to make the babies cry by shouting and making loud noises.
The festival is based on the belief that a baby’s cries can ward off evil spirits and bring good luck and health to the child. It is also believed that the louder the baby cries, the stronger and healthier they will be in the future.
While the festival may seem unusual to some, it is a cherished tradition in Japan and is seen as a way to celebrate the joys of parenthood and the importance of family. It is also an opportunity for families to gather and spend time together, and for young children to experience the rich cultural heritage of Japan.
Overall, the Naki Sumo Crying Baby Festival is a unique and fascinating aspect of Japanese culture that offers visitors a glimpse into the traditional beliefs and customs of the country.
14. Black cats are considered to be a symbol of good luck
In Japan, black cats are generally considered to be a symbol of good luck and prosperity. This belief is known as “kuroi neko” or “black cat” in Japanese.
The belief in the good luck of black cats dates back to ancient times, where they were often depicted as guardians of homes and shrines. It is believed that the dark color of their fur helped them blend into the shadows and protect the space from negative energy.
Today, black cats are still considered a symbol of good luck and are often featured in artwork, decorations, and even as lucky charms. In some parts of Japan, it is believed that owning a black cat can bring good fortune to the home and its inhabitants.
However, it is important to note that the belief in the good luck of black cats is not universal and may differ in other cultures or regions. Additionally, the superstitions surrounding black cats have also been associated with negative stereotypes, such as the belief that they are unlucky or associated with witchcraft.
Overall, while the belief in the good luck of black cats is prevalent in Japan, it is important to approach such beliefs with an open mind and respect for cultural differences.
15. Japan is home to the world’s oldest hotel
Japan is home to the world’s oldest hotel, which is called Nishiyama Onsen Keiunkan. The hotel has been operating continuously since it was founded in 705 AD, which means it has been in business for over 1,300 years.
Nishiyama Onsen Keiunkan is located in the Yamanashi Prefecture in central Japan, and is situated near a natural hot spring. The hotel has 37 rooms, each with its own private hot spring bath, and offers guests a traditional Japanese experience with tatami mat floors and futon beds.
Over the centuries, the hotel has been visited by a number of famous historical figures, including Japanese samurai and shoguns, and it is considered a national treasure in Japan. Despite its age, the hotel has been well-maintained and renovated over the years to keep it in good condition.
Nishiyama Onsen Keiunkan is a popular destination for travelers who are interested in experiencing a piece of history and Japanese culture, and it continues to attract visitors from around the world who are fascinated by its rich history and unique atmosphere.
20 Mind-Blowing Facts About Japan That You Need To Know
16. There’s a Robot Restaurant in Tokyo
There is a Robot Restaurant located in the Shinjuku district of Tokyo, Japan. The Robot Restaurant is a popular attraction for tourists visiting Tokyo and offers a unique dining and entertainment experience.
The Robot Restaurant features live performances with giant robots, lasers, and dancers in flashy costumes, accompanied by loud music and bright lights. The performances are designed to be entertaining and over-the-top, and often involve battles between the robots and other colorful characters.
The restaurant itself has a futuristic design, with neon lights and bright colors throughout the space. Guests can order food and drinks while they watch the performances, and the menu features a variety of Japanese and Western-style dishes.
The Robot Restaurant has become a must-visit destination for many tourists in Tokyo, who are drawn to its unique blend of technology, entertainment, and food. While the experience may not be for everyone, it is certainly an unforgettable and one-of-a-kind attraction in Japan.
17. Japanese Maid Cafes
Japanese maid cafes are a type of themed cafe that have become popular in Japan over the last few decades. These cafes are staffed by young women dressed in maid costumes, who serve customers and provide a friendly, welcoming atmosphere.
In a typical maid cafe, customers are greeted with the Japanese phrase “irasshaimase” (welcome), and the maids address them as “master” or “mistress”. The maids often engage in friendly conversation with customers and may perform small tasks such as drawing pictures on the customer’s food or beverage.
In addition to serving food and drinks, maid cafes often offer other forms of entertainment such as live performances, games, and photo opportunities with the maids. Some maid cafes also feature anime or manga themes, with maids dressed in costumes inspired by popular characters.
Maid cafes have become a popular destination for both Japanese locals and foreign tourists who are interested in experiencing a unique aspect of Japanese culture. While the concept of maid cafes may seem unusual to some, they are generally seen as harmless and provide a fun and lighthearted atmosphere for customers to enjoy.
18. Highways pass through buildings
There are some highways in Japan that pass through buildings, which is known as “building passing through” or “building-cum-highway” architecture. One famous example is the Gate Tower Building in Osaka, which has a highway passing through its fifth, sixth, and seventh floors.
The Gate Tower Building was constructed in the 1980s, at a time when there was limited space for new construction in the crowded city of Osaka. The highway was already in place, so the developers decided to build the skyscraper around it, rather than tear down the highway or relocate it.
To accommodate the highway, the building has a large circular hole in the middle, with the highway passing through it. The floors around the highway are connected by ramps and bridges, allowing drivers to enter and exit the highway from within the building.
While the concept of a highway passing through a building may seem unusual, it is actually a practical solution to the problem of limited space in urban areas. By integrating the highway into the building design, the developers were able to make the most of the available space and create a unique architectural landmark.
19. Japanese gameshows are pretty crazy
Japanese game shows are known for their over-the-top, zany, and sometimes bizarre nature. They often feature elaborate sets, costumes, and challenges that are designed to be entertaining and sometimes humiliating for the contestants.
One popular type of Japanese game show is the “physical endurance” game, where contestants are subjected to grueling physical challenges such as running through obstacle courses or being pelted with food or other objects. Another popular type of game show is the “punishment” game, where contestants are given embarrassing or uncomfortable tasks to complete, such as wearing a ridiculous outfit or eating strange foods.
Japanese game shows also often feature comedic elements, with hosts and commentators providing humorous commentary and reactions to the contestants’ antics. These shows have become popular not only in Japan but also around the world, with many clips and episodes being shared online and gaining viral popularity.
While some of the stunts and challenges on Japanese game shows may seem extreme or even dangerous, the shows are generally seen as harmless entertainment and a reflection of the country’s unique sense of humor and love of spectacle.
20. Students clean their classrooms
It is a common practice in Japan for students to clean their own classrooms and school facilities. This is part of the “seito to shokun” or “student-teacher” system, which emphasizes discipline, responsibility, and respect for the school environment.
In most Japanese schools, students are responsible for cleaning their classrooms and other common areas, such as hallways and restrooms, on a daily basis. This includes tasks such as sweeping, dusting, and taking out the trash. Students are typically assigned specific cleaning duties and work together as a team to complete the cleaning tasks efficiently.
The practice of student cleaning is not only practical, but also has educational benefits. It teaches students the value of hard work, responsibility, and community service, while also instilling a sense of pride and ownership in their school environment. By taking an active role in maintaining their school facilities, students learn to respect and appreciate the efforts of others, and develop a sense of empathy and compassion for those around them.
The practice of student cleaning is seen as a positive aspect of Japanese education and is often cited as one of the factors contributing to the country’s high academic achievement and low rates of vandalism in schools.