Weird and Cool Things to Do in Japan in 2019
by Pranita D | Seek To Travel | February 15, 2019
Japan mostly associated with beautiful nature, technologies, pop culture and bizarre things that will make you question everything you knew about Japan. There are so many weird things in Japan starting from gross game shows to unique things and places where not everyone has the courage to go.
Japan has always been a place where everything meets and creates a unique culture. This time we want to focus more on things that aren’t very well known in Japan but it perfectly describes the Japanese culture.
So if you are seeking to experience a unique and cool side of Japan, take a look at our created list. Just remember that everything is possible in Japan and brace yourself.
Here is our list of Cool Things to do in Japan and few Weird Things to do in Japan.
10 Weird and Cool Things to Do in Japan
1. Stay at a Robot Hotel
2. Cuddle at Cuddle Café
3. Visit Aokigahara Suicide Forest
4. Train to Become a Ninja
5. Catch Your Own Food at Zauo Restaurant
6. Grab a Drink at Vibrator bar
7. Bath in Public Baths
8. Get Cleaned at Ear cleaning café
9. Bow to Breasts at Karube Shrine
10. Attend a Penis Festival
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1) Stay at a Robot Hotel
A night at the robot hotel is one of the fun things to do in Japan. It’s a weird and unique experience that only Japan can offer.
There are several hotels that use robots to do some cleaning jobs. However, a robot hotel called Henn Na (Weird Hotel) is completely different. This hotel is fully staffed with robots who help guests to check in, answer their questions and even prepare the food. You won’t be able to meet any real human staff during your stay. A little bit scary isn’t it?
If you stay at robot hotel, you will be greeted by English speaking dinosaur and Japanese humanoid. They will help you to check in and deliver your bags to the room. It’s pretty shocking to have luggage delivered by a porter robot.
It isn’t the most unique thing in Japan, but it’s pretty amusing and unusual. Also, the hotel is very nice and offers a great variety of various rooms from budget-friendly to luxurious suites.
We bet you are already thinking of staying there.
2) Cuddle at Cuddle Café
Cuddle Café or Soine-ya that literally means ‘sleep together shop’ offers a different quirky side of Japan. This café doesn’t serve drinks or food and isn’t a hotel either. It’s just basically a place where you can pay to sleep with a complete stranger.
Are you intrigued and wondering how it works? Well, it’s pretty simple. You just go in and pay for the 20 minutes (some cafes offer 1 hr) of sleeping next to a girl/boy who works for the café. You can only sleep/lie next to, no ‘funny’ businesses. If you want something more, you can pay extra for resting your head in the lap, staring in the eyes and hugging.
These types of cafes were created mainly for men as mainly girls are working there. However, you definitely can find the one that has male employees. You will have to look for a sign that says ‘Soine-ya Premium’.
You will be able to find lots of cuddle cafes in Akihabara district in Tokyo. Even if you don’t feel an urge to sleep next to the stranger, it might be worth to visit café just for the curiosity. Are you up for that?
3) Visit Aokigahara Suicide Forest
Aokigahara also is known as Suicide Forest is a forest that lies just on the foot of Mt. Fuji. Aokigahara used to be a normal forest with lots of caves that were formed by volcano eruptions and thick alleys of trees. However these days the forest became famous for committing suicide.
Aokigahara caves are still widely visited by the tourists but every year less and fewer visitors are coming. That is due to dead bodies that are found in the forest.
There is no real explanation of why forest became so popular for suicide. Most people believe that it is due to books called ‘The Complete Manual of Suicide’ and ‘Tower of Waves’ as they are usually found together with bodies.
If you had decided to visit the forest, you would need to do good research on the map as it’s very easy to get lost. The main trail leads to a restricted area where you will be able to see some guards with dogs. We guarantee that you will feel like stepping into the movie set.
The real trail starts when you see tapes hanging on the trees. Some people believe that tapes were left by people who were hesitating to commit suicide. As soon as you start seeing tapes, the forest starts to get really thick and you won’t see much sunlight.
If you continue following the trail, it will feel like it’s never going to end. Be prepared to see things left behind by suicides. Don’t forget to be respectful, too.
Even though it is named a Suicide Forest, Aokigahara is a very calm place with great views of Mt. Fuji. You won’t be able to experience that anywhere else.
Related Article: Things to do in Japan in Winter
4) Train to Become a Ninja
Have you ever wondered how to become a famous Japanese ninja? Well, we have a very unique place where you can experience the ninja life. This place is Ninja Academy in Nara that we had included in our unique things to do in Japan list without even thinking too much.
Ninja also is known as shinobi, has been a famous warrior during feudal Japan. Its job was to do the various missions without being noticed by its enemies. It wasn’t easy to become a ninja as it took years of practice and getting recognition from ninja masters. These days ninjas are mainly in anime, manga, films, and performances. However, the tradition of ninja training still remains.
We were very impressed by Ninja Academy in Nara. This academy offers various courses: one day or long courses. You can try out all ninja weapons, dress up as a ninja and train various fighting styles. Doesn’t it sound quite entertaining?
Take into the account that one training session lasts for 6 hours and traditional Japanese lunch is included. We highly recommend taking at least two days course for a better experience. Who knows maybe you will be able to become a real ninja and jump across buildings.
5) Catch Your Own Food at Zauo Restaurant
Zauo Restaurant is a restaurant chain in Japan that offers a great entertaining way to get your food. The restaurants are designed to look like a boat and are full of enormous fish tanks around you. There are smaller tanks with more expensive fish species and various crabs.
Select your fish, buy some bait and start fishing. Some of the fishes require different baits, so make sure you tell restaurant staff what fish you want to catch. When you catch what you wanted, hand it over to the staff and choose how you want your fish to be cooked. If you don’t enjoy fishing, you can order fish from the menu. Be prepared to pay an extra for that!
We recommend asking the staff for help if you are struggling to catch a fish because the fishing has a limited time. If you are stuck for too long, the staff will help you or politely ask you to order from the menu.
You can find these restaurants everywhere in Japan, especially in Tokyo and Osaka. We suggest trying this type of restaurant in Osaka as they have a better selection of exotic fish.
Looking for other cool things to do in Osaka? Take a look at our Best Things to do in Osaka list.
6) Grab a Drink at Vibrator bar
A visit in vibrator themed bar is included in one of the top things you can only do in Japan list. One of the Weird Things to do in Tokyo is a Vibrator Bar.
There are several vibrator themed bars in the Shibuya district in Tokyo. These bars are targeted to women who can enjoy their freedom and talk freely about sex. Of course, guys are welcomed too. However, be aware that a guy has to be with a female to enter the bar.
We recommend visiting Vibe Bar Wild One that has a really great atmosphere and a nice sex toy shop. There is an admission fee that includes two drinks and 90 minutes of opportunity to touch any of 300 vibrators (you will have to wear gloves though). Staff will politely remind you that you aren’t allowed to ‘play’ with these vibrators.
The atmosphere and interior are very erotic so you will feel like you are filming an erotic scene in a movie. All the tables and chairs are decorated with vibrators, even the drinks are themed. So be prepared.
The place gets busy, so we recommend to book admission beforehand. Don’t forget to visit the shop after drinks. Even if you don’t need any pleasure toy, the shop is designed as a funky museum so it’s quite entertaining to walk around.
7) Bath in Public Baths
Public baths or sento in Japanese (penny baths) are one of the most interesting activities to experience the local culture while you are traveling around Japan.
Public baths mean a lot to Japanese people. They treat it as the opportunity to cleanse themselves, get close to each other and be free. Public baths mean that you are going to get completely naked together with other people using the same bath.
Yes, you are going to expose all your front parts to everyone. Don’t worry, baths are gender separated but still can be quite uncomfortable for a westerner.
- The experience is worth all the trouble. We had created a quick list for you to follow and ease yourself from being uncomfortable.
- Remove your shoes – don’t enter the relaxation and bathing area with shoes.
- Give yourself a good wash – usually people squat and give the person squatting in front of them a good back scrub. Japanese people don’t like wasting water, so they pour water over themselves with a little plastic bucket. Be aware that if you came to public baths, everyone is expecting you to do as they do.
- No tattoos – tattoos are associated with criminals. Even though these days Japanese are more accepting of body art, but we recommend to avoid going to the public baths if you have a tattoo.
- Don’t get offended – while relaxing in baths you might notice people glaring at you. We ensure that they aren’t trying to be impolite, but westerners bodies always amaze Japanese people, so they are just curious.
- No photos – we know how much you like to capture your experiences while traveling. However, make sure that you won’t take photos in a public bath.
Japan has many beautiful and artistic public baths. You can find them everywhere and enjoy the experience that you won’t be able to forget for all your life.
Related article: Top Things to do in Japan
8) Get Cleaned at Ear cleaning café
Another very unusual and weird place to go to Japan is an ear cleaning café. It’s just a place where you can relax, feel welcomed and get your ears cleaned by a Japanese girl who is dressed as a maid.
Most of Japanese grew up having their ears cleaned by their mothers. Due to this reason, they associate ear cleaning with a romantic feeling and closeness. The ear cleaning cafes are mostly for male customers, but women are welcome too.
Some of the cafes offer additional services such as foot massage or a dry massage. The main point of these cafes is to make a person feel relaxed and give him comfort after a tiring day.
You will be able to find these cafes around the Akihabara district in Tokyo. You can even get a map from the tourist information center with all the cafes marked around the area.
Related article: Best Things to do in Tokyo
9) Bow to Breasts at Karube Shrine
Karube Shrine is a very small village shrine located in calm Kiyone village, Soya city, Okayama prefecture. It’s not widely known and visited by tourists. There is no information about it indicating that Karube shrine is different from other small shrines around Japan.
In order to visit the shrine, you will have to follow a short trail from the village. The trail isn’t unique and torii gates aren’t the most beautiful ones. As soon as you approach the main building and peep inside it, you will understand why the shrine is special.
Main building walls are decorated by various sized tablets with women breasts. Locals call this shrine Oppai Jinja (the Breast shrine). It is a shrine of fertility that focuses on women breasts. Japan has hundreds of fertility shrines but they all worshiping penis instead of breasts.
So Karube is quite unique. Women come to Karube shrine to pray for safe childbirth and help with breast cancer. There is a small shop where you can purchase tablets with breasts and write your own wish.
We recommend visiting small Kiyone village that has great bakery shops with amazing handmade cakes. Most of the cakes are made to look like breasts. It’s a good place if you want to enhance your Instagram with unique photos.
10) Attend a Penis Festival
Kanamara Matsuri (a Festival of the Steel Phallus) or simply a penis festival is organized every year in April. It is held in Kanayma shrine, Kawasaki. Everything in this festival is a penis-themed so you will find various carved vegetables, candy, snacks and decorations shaped like a penis.
The festival has deep roots from medieval Japan. Back at those days, Kanayama shrine was popular among hostess (prostitutes) who worked at the teahouses. They came to pray for protection from sexually transmitted diseases. Also, people came to pray here for safe childbirth, married couple harmony and safe sex.
The festival started in 1969 as a form to encourage childbirth. These days the festival is used to gather money for HIV research. Also, it became a quite popular tourist attraction.
If you are traveling around April and are near Kawasaki, it is definitely worth checking out the festival. You will get a great local experience and taste amazing traditional snacks made just for the festival.
Tips and Helpful Links:
Use a Travel Agent to plan your trip:
Flight Deals: Skyscanner Check the deals here
Car Rentals: We recommend CarRentals.com
Books: We recommend Books and Ebooks from Lonely Planet
Japan is usually described as a very extraordinary country who has lots of weird traditions and inventions. Japan is a very daring country that still surprises its visitors.
We do agree that the country is a very unique place where everything can be found (such as suicide forest, robot hotel, public baths) and worshiped (such as boobs and penis).
The country has its weird sexual culture that is more open than in Western countries. And it’s only up to you to decide do you enjoy or find it uncomfortable.
We hope that you had enjoyed our weird things to do in Japan list. If you have done any of those unique things in Japan or have any suggestions for more unique things, please, leave a comment below.
Also, we do appreciate your feedback, so, please, comment below and let us know how we had done.