10 Things That Will Definitely Make You Say “Wow!” During Your Visit to Japan

  • CULTURE
  • Travels become memorable when you get the chance to take on unique experiences, taste great food, and meet foreign people. But it becomes even more memorable with the presence of “wow” factors that are too captivating to forget!

    Japan has always been among the top destinations for those who are up for anything bizarre or exciting. Despite the country’s popularity and the tons of blogs and articles written about its must-see attractions, there remains a number of things about Japan that will still surprise you. These “wow” factors excite travelers and keep them coming back.

    There could be hundreds of these “wow” factors, but today, we’ll look into only 10 of them. These will definitely make you say, “Wow!”, so be sure not to miss them during your trip to Japan!

    1. Well-equipped 7-Elevens

    If you ignore those 7-Eleven stores on your way, then you’re missing a lot. Japan’s 7-Eleven is one of a kind primarily because of the variety of commodities it offers, including locally-targeted and seasonal products.

    More importantly, it’s a real wonderland for emergencies and quick bites. They have almost everything on display – from ramen and authentic Japanese bento to candies, chips, toys, and even manga (Japanese comics).

    7-Eleven might be a typical convenience store in your home country but not in Japan. You’ll be surprised by the number of things you can find in them, some of which you probably have never even seen in your local 7-Eleven.

    2. Best value capsule hotels

    Who wouldn’t want to stay at this budget-friendly accommodation that gives a sci-fi lifestyle feel?

    Capsule hotels have been featured in news, articles, and travel blogs all over the world, but it always feels better once you see the actual thing and get to lie down in one unit. The space is limited for a single person but it gives you everything you need. Nothing more, nothing less.

    3. Unmanned fruit and vegetable stalls

    Trust is a crucial thing in business. But in Japan, you will be amazed to see fruit and vegetable stands in the countryside with literally no person manning them! Products are labeled with their corresponding prices and all you need to do is get one and place your payment in a designated bag or pouch.

    4. Superb Shinkansen staff

    Another thing that made news around the world is the stunning skill of the staff working for Japanese bullet trains. In less than 10 minutes, they clean and prepare the train to be ready for the next batch of passengers who will be occupying the seats. They even manage to give guests a warm welcome just before boarding! Just how do they do that?

    5. Square watermelons

    Watermelons are more often than not spherical. But apparently, Japan has a better idea. Why indeed would you settle for a sphere when a cube (and other shapes) is possible?

    Square watermelons are produced in Kagawa Prefecture (香川県) but there’s a good chance that you can see it in other cities, too! It’s important to note, however, that while these watermelons are real, they are harvested before they become ripe so producers can mold them into the desired shape. They are not meant for eating but more for display. There is only a limited amount produced per year so better grab one before supplies run out!

    6. Automatic taxi doors

    This is one proof that Japan can create features that we normally see in sci-fi films and television shows. With automatic taxi doors, you can enjoy a more comfortable boarding, especially when you have a lot of things at hand.

    What’s more amazing is the fact that this idea has long been introduced by huge taxi companies since 1964 for the Tokyo Olympics!

    7. Foot baths (足湯) on the Toreiyu Tsubasa (とれいゆ つばさ) Shinkansen

    Just when we thought we’ve seen the best of Japan’s bullet train, we are once again treated to another stunning fact – that it offers foot baths. These foot baths are currently exclusive to the Toreiyu Tsubasa which runs on the Yamagata Shinkansen (山形新幹線) Line between Fukushima (福島) and Shinjo (新庄). Here, passengers have the luxury to soak their feet in the foot baths while enjoying the scenery outside. And for a more authentic Japanese feel, the floors are also adorned with tatami (畳) mats!

    Toreiyu Tsubasa Website

    8. Lockers of different sizes at stations

    This feature is highly useful for travelers who want to unload before going to their next destination. For as low as a few hundred yen for every 24 hours, you can already rent a locker and store whatever items you don’t wish to bring around. From huge, rectangular lockers to smaller squares, you’ll have your most valuable items stashed in a safe place.

    Of course, there are limitations to what you can store as well as some other storage policies, all of which are printed and have an English translation. Also, the staff automatically disposes of items stored for more than 30 days so be sure to take your items out before the given time ends!

    9. Toilets with an awesome selection of sound effects and more

    While it may sound weird, Japanese toilets are never boring as you can always experiment with all of its high-tech buttons. You can choose to play toilet music, go for the full flush or partial flush, use the bidet, and so much more!

    10. Independent children who walk to school by themselves

    If you think it’s taboo to allow children to go to school alone, then you will be surprised at the sight of kids in their uniforms walking and riding the train by themselves in Japan. It’s pretty common in the country and is something that might even be considered as a practice among households. Kids as young as six years old are allowed to use public transport to go to school.

    These are just a portion of the “wow” factors Japan can offer, and with the speed of how they innovate, it’s only a matter of time before another thing surprises us.

    Depending on your planned itinerary, there could be a whole lot more surprises waiting for you, so gear up and be ready to be wowed by Japan!

    *Featured Image: jp.fotolia.com/