10 Really Strange Things To Do When You’re In Japan
Wine bath, anyone?
Ready, set, Gyoza! It’s time to plan your next trip to the land of temples, geishas and cat cafes – Japan. From hot-tub karaoke to bathing and relaxing in your drink of choice, there’s something to tickle everyone’s (weird) fancy in Japan.
Japan is sure to push you out of your comfort zone, as everything is a little bit different in the land of the rising sun, but that’s exactly what you want when traveling – otherwise, you might as well stay home, right?
If you haven’t already put Japan on your destination list, our go-to adventure experts, Topdeck Travel fill us in on their favourite 10 weird and wacky things to do in Japan! Pack your bags and get ready for the ultimate bucket-list adventure.
1. Have a bath in a drink of your choice – Ashigarashimo
Dive into a pool of wine or soak up in a sea of green tea at The Hakone Kowakien Yunessun Spa and Resort. Located just two hours outside of Tokyo, this rejuvenation retreat has a pool of liquids at the ready – all in the name of health! Our pick? Sake! It’s said to help fight against aging and remove freckles.
2. Visit a Cat-Café – Tokyo
Calling all feline-lovers! Dreams really do come true with cat-cafes located all throughout Japan. Enjoy some kitty-time as you sip on your green matcha tea and play with some furry friends. It’s a crazy-café experience like no other.
3. Take a stroll down Takeshita Street – the home of the Harajuku girl – Tokyo
If the name doesn’t make you giggle, then the insane style of the Harajuku girls will surely provide you with some entertainment. These girls, made famous by singer Gwen Stafani, have turned this insanely busy street into their local hangout. Make sure you have your phone at the ready for a selfie with one of them, and don’t be shy. They’re used to it!
4. Dine in at the Robot Restaurant – Tokyo
Round up the group and get ready to see Japan in all its shiny, flashing-light-glory. Located in the ‘neon district’ of Shinjuku, it’s just like Vegas, with a Japanese twist – look out for the giant dinosaur out the front. Wine and dine as you watch dancers, ‘robots’ and singers put on the ultimate Japanese show!
5. Arashiyama Monkey Mountain – Kyoto
Explore this mountaintop oasis, where Japanese Macaques, or ‘Snow Monkeys,’ live. Relax in the sun and try your hand at feeding them yourself. Of course there are park rules, like ‘don’t look the monkeys in the eye’ and ‘don’t touch the monkeys,’ but these playful creatures spend most of their time frolicking about. Don’t forget to whip out your phone for that Instagram-worthy panoramic view of Kyoto!
6. Hot Tube Karaoke – Tokyo
Calling all committed shower-singers! Get ready to belt out some serious tunes, with a twist. Visit the Lovenet Hotel in Tokyo, where you and five friends can soak in the hot tub at the ‘Aqua Suite’ while busting out some of your all-time faves.
7. Spot a Geisha – Gion
Gion is Kyoto’s most famous geisha district, filled with shops, restaurants and ochaya, or teahouses, where you will be entertained by traditional Geisha’s and Maiko (geisha apprentices). From serving drinks to leading drinking games and performing traditional music, these expert hostesses know how to show you a good time!
8. Visit Nijo-jo Castle – Kyoto
Get your samurai fix at the Nijo-jo Castle! This impressive structure was built in 1603, with surrounded moat walls and the most elaborate entrance you’ll ever see. Go beyond the wall and inside the impressive gardens, where you can wander through groves of plum and cherry trees. If you’ve ever wanted to be a ninja for a day, add this to your bucket list!
9. Get your geek on in Akihabara – Tokyo
Tokyo’s famed electronics sector is fast becoming a haven for lovers of manga, anime, and retro gaming. There are giant walls of televisions, back alley delights and robotic stores for everyone’s delight. But don’t worry: if you’re gaming knowledge doesn’t span past Mario Bros, the food in this area is also world-famous. Watch the sushi masters at work crafting your fave dish with food fresh from the Tsukiji Fish Market.
10. Watch wrestling practice at a sumo stable – Tokyo
You’ve seen it in the movies, but nothing quite prepares you for the panting, grunting and gallons of sweat that is sumo wrestling. Get up close and personal with some of these amazing athletes – but be warned: these training sessions aren’t for the faint-hearted. Be prepared for some serious rumbles.
Comment: Have you been to Japan? What’s your go-to travel tip?