Summary of content of this post
1 These are the 40 curiosities in Japan that most caught our attention1.1 1. The gap between houses1.2 2. In some bathrooms they have a privacy mode, one of the curiosities of Japan that most caught our attention1.5 5. In Japan, video games and consoles are not just for kids and geeks1.7 7. They announce the next train stops with music1.8 8. There are many vending machines for drinks, but hardly any for food1.11 11. It is very typical to collect stamps from the places you visit, one of the great curiosities of Japan1.12 12. In Japan you usually pay the bill on departure, not at the table1.13 13. The seats on the trains are like sofas and are impeccably clean and well-kept1.17 17. You get on the bus through the centre or back door and exit at the front, where you pay before you leave1.18 18. There are hairdressers everywhere1.21 21. They love bucket cars1.22 22. The duvet covers have a huge hole on one side so they can be better positioned1.23 23. They drive on the left, but they measure distances in kilometers like we do1.25 25. In Japan, they don’t double up on tickets1.26 26. They use slippers to enter the bathroom1.31 31. There are gas stations where the pumps come out of the roof1.32 32. In many restaurants you can smoke1.34 34. In some hotels you have a smartphone in your room with internet that you can take with you during your visits to the city1.35 35. Japanese souvenirs are usually sweet1.38 38. A breakfast at Starbucks costs more than two ramen dishes at any local restaurant1.39 39. Everything in Japan has a mascot: the transport, the companies, the neighborhoods, the cities…2 Do you want to organize a trip to Japan like this one?3 Other contents that probably interest you:
Aaayyy comrades! We love to write posts about curiosities of the different countries we travel to. And it is through these curiosities that the culture of a country is truly known. Even more so if it’s one as different from ours as Japan. So let’s stop with what to see, what to eat or where to sleep (bullshit!) and let’s tell you 40 curiosities about Japan that caught our attention during our trip. Will you stay with us?
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These are the 40 Japanese curiosities that caught our attention
Beyond the typical curiosities of Japan (which I’m sure we’ll also mention), we want to talk to you about those details that most caught our attention during our trip. Shall we start?
1. The gap between the houses
Especially in the biggest cities, they build the houses very close together but always leaving a gap between them, we suppose because of the earthquakes.
Curiosities of Japan: the gaps between houses
2. In some parking lots they put the cars on top of each other
Japan is certainly a country that doesn’t have much space, so they make the most of it with parking lots where they put cars on top of each other.
3. The Japanese eat super fast
If you’re a tabletop type, you’ll be surprised how much the Japanese eat at lightning speed and get up as soon as they’re done.
4. In some bathrooms they have a privacy mode, one of the curiosities of Japan that caught our attention
Yeah, yeah, like you read it. It is common in bathrooms, especially when they are public, to have a button to activate a sound like water falling to disguise the noise you can make while you are in the bathroom. This is undoubtedly one of the curiosities of Japan that most caught our attention.
Japanese curiosities: bathrooms have a privacy mode
5. Taxi doors open and close by themselves
And that’s super funny to watch live! If you stop a taxi in Japan you will only have to stop in front of the back door and wait for the driver to open it from his seat.
Taxis in Japan have a mechanism that allows the driver to open it from his seat without you touching anything. And don’t touch anything! Because you could crash the system 😛
Japanese curiosities: taxi doors open by themselves
6. In Japan, video games and consoles are not just for kids and geeks
You don’t have to go to Akihabara to realize that in Japan consoles and video games are entertainment for all ages. Traveling by train or subway you’ll notice that everyone uses them.
7. Announcing the next train stops with music
Another of the curiosities of Japan that caught our attention is that when you travel in shinkansen and the train approaches the next stop, a little music sounds to warn the travelers.
8. Napkins are wet wipes
In Japan it is much more common to clean your hands with this type of wipe than with paper napkins.
9. Many children go to school nearby alone without the company of an adult
And this is one of the things that caught our attention in Japan, because we saw very young children travelling alone on public transport.
Japanese curiosities: many children travel alone on public transport
10. There are many vending machines for drinks, but hardly any for food
Going to Japan and not using a vending machine is almost like not going to Japan. You will find all kinds of drinks in these machines: cold, hot, fizzy, non fizzy, more or less sweet…
In fact, there are vending machines everywhere, but they always (or almost always) only have drink.
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11. It is very typical to collect stamps from the places you visit, one of the great curiosities of Japan
At all the tourist attractions you will find a stamp to stamp as a souvenir in some notebook or postcard. There are actually some really nice ones.
12. In Japan the bill is usually paid on departure, not at the table
Usually, after you order, they bring you the food and the bill at the same time. When you’re done, you get up and pay at the counter where they have the cash register.
Japanese curiosities: the bill in restaurants is usually paid on departure
13. They use the shinkansen like a commuter train
And this is certainly one of the things that caught our attention. It is very common to see people coming and going to work on these long-distance trains.
14. At the vending machines you can buy several things before you get your change back
More vending machine curiosities! And they’re super typical in Japan. Also, there if you put in the machine for example 500 JPY you can buy everything you want before you get the remaining coins back.
This surprised us because in Spain normally when you make a selection the machine returns your money automatically and if you want to buy something else you have to put it back in.
15. Suburban trains have seats like the subway
Maybe this only seems curious to us, but in Spain the commuter trains (or short distances) have the seats in rows, two on each side, but in Japan they are all under the windows and the central area is clear for passengers to stand.
Japanese curiosities: train seats
16. Train seats are like sofas and are impeccably clean and cared for
Closely related to the above, in Japan train seats are super-maintained. Nobody paints them, slashes them or burns them as it happens in Spain (that’s why they are usually made of plastic).
17. You get on the bus through the center or back door and exit at the front, where you pay before you leave
We told you about it in our posts about transport in Japan, in Tokyo and in Kyoto, but it doesn’t cost us anything to repeat it. Wherever you go, do what you see, so before you get on a bus, check out where the locals are doing it, because most of the time it will be through the back door.
Japanese curiosities: getting on the bus from the back
18. There are change machines on the buses
Because normally the bus ticket can only be paid for in coins and with the exact amount, you will find machines to change the ticket to coins and from coins to smaller coins on the buses themselves.
19. The bus drivers are wearing microphones and talking
This is something we could observe especially in Kyoto, where normally it is the bus driver who indicates the next stops.
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20. There are hairdressers everywhere
We don’t really know if the Japanese are a bunch of flirts who love to be perfect all the time, or if we don’t pay much attention to these things, but in Japan there are MANY hairdressing salons.
21. They love bucket cars
We don’t know if they love them or if, because they have quite limited space, they have to make the most of it, but cars in Japan are super square.
22. The duvet covers have a large hole on one side to allow for better placement
Seriously, why can’t we import this custom? Changing the sheets is much easier that way:
Curiosities about Japan: the hole in the duvet covers
23. In the residential areas of Kyoto they have red water buckets on the door
And really, this is one of those curiosities of Japan that left us with our mouths open. These red buckets full of water are supposed to put out a possible fire.
24. They drive on the left, but they measure distances in kilometres like us
Just like in New Zealand, they drive on the opposite side of Spain, but just like here they measure distances in kilometres and not in miles.
25. In Japan they don’t double the bills
They even seem to iron them out as smooth as they are. It’s super curious.
Japanese curiosities: they don’t fold the bills
26. School trips bring a photographer
Imagine the typical class trip with 30 children (usually all dressed alike) going to visit a certain temple as an extracurricular activity – well, yes! They’re taking a photographer for themselves.
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27. The ritual of the Japanese before the bath
The ritual of bathing in Japan gives for a whole video-post that we will do in the future, but what you have to be super clear about is that, a ritual.
An onsen is not like a spa you can walk into in a swimsuit. From washing well first and going in to relaxing naked.
Curiosities of Japan: the ritual of the bath
28. The little music that announces the arrival of the trains
We told you before that the shinkansen announce the stops with music, because the same happens when you are at the station waiting for the train to arrive.
Curiosities of Japan: the music that announces the arrival of the train
29. All the trains go super fast, not just the shinkansen
And while we’re on the subject of trains, you should know that even if they’re not bullet trains, all trains in Japan are going at a very good pace, whether they’re medium distance or close.
30. They use slippers to get into the bathroom
And those slippers are just for the bathroom. Seriously, don’t tell me it’s not curious.
31. There are gas stations where the pumps come out of the roof
Perhaps if you are not Spanish this will not be so appealing to you, but for us it is quite curious.
32. They have tea with their meals and it is free
Normally in Japan they drink tea with meals. They usually serve it when you sit at the table and it’s free.
33. In many restaurants you can smoke
But then on the street only in the designated places. In fact, the only place you can smoke on the street are the tuxedo zones, and beware because if you skip this rule you could get fined.
Curiosities of Japan: in the street you can only smoke in the tuxedo zones
34. In some hotels you have a smartphone in your room with internet that you can take with you during your visits to the city
We saw it mostly in big cities like Osaka and Tokyo, and we think it’s a great idea because they have unlimited internet.
35. Umbrellas are everywhere and hotels usually have them as a courtesy for when it rains
Rain in Japan is more common than we imagined before we went, so it’s super common to find complimentary umbrellas in hotels.
They lend them to you for sightseeing during the day and then you return them on your return. They saved our lives several times.
Japanese curiosities: there are umbrellas everywhere
36. Bus drivers thank absolutely all passengers when they get off the bus
And we found this to be one of the best customs in the world. Seriously, they’re super polite.
37. Japanese souvenirs are usually sweet
Another curiosity we should adopt from the Japanese! Because when they travel around the country, on their return they do not usually carry a magnet or a key ring, but the typical sweet of the area they have visited.
38. A Starbucks breakfast costs more than two ramen dishes in any local restaurant
Much more. One way out of the pot.
Japanese curiosities: eating breakfast at Starbucks is SUPER expensive
39. They have a ‘little plate to pay’.
It is very common for stores and other establishments to have a small tray on which to deposit the money when you go to pay. You leave it there and the person who receives it picks it up.
Several times in Japan I tried to hand over the money, and they very kindly indicated with their hand that I should leave it on the tray.
40. Everything in Japan has a mascot: transport, companies, neighbourhoods, cities…
And when we say everything. It’s EVERYTHING. And they’re all usually super cute.
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