55 witty-wacky facts about Japan that makes it unique.

traditional japanese temple behind maple tree full of orange coloured leaves in autumn

Here are 50 fun facts about Japan found by two tourists who fell immensely in love with the country.

1. Japanese find solutions to real-life problems, not just by robotics.

Two well-known facts about Japan are that – They are technologically two decades ahead. And life in Japan is easier and simpler. The latter phase doesn’t happen just because of their robots. But because they deal with real-life problems first smartly.

pictures shows an interesting fact about Japan with a Japanese couple carrying transparent umbrellas on the road in front of a traditional temple
  • Chewing gum boxes come with small pieces of paper stacked like sticky notes- To throw the chewed gum away easily.
  • Most hotels and malls have umbrella wrappers, so you don’t walk with a sticky umbrella that drips water.
  • Bullet train window seats have armrests on the window.
  • Every food joint keeps a basket beneath the table to keep your handbags – No headache of flinging your bags on the backrest.
  • The rainy season umbrellas are transparent – easy to walk in snow/rain.
  • Their convenience stores sell hot coffee and fresh breakfast.
  • Most shop cashier counters have automated billing machines – Nobody has to work with counting many yens restlessly.

2. Japanese people are the most gracious humans on earth.

two Japanese people standing in poise in a garden full of orange colour autmn leaves in Japan
  • Everything has to move quickly, but nobody rushes the other in Japan.
  • They want to be on time for their job, but cyclers don’t even ring bells at pedestrians.
  • When you smile at a Japanese stranger, you receive the most infectious smile back, irrespective of your colour/gender/race.
  • Japanese are considerate of others and don’t act just focusing on themselves.
    • People in Japan stand on one side of the escalator, leaving room for those who want to pass quickly.
    • Whenever the Japanese have to push the seat back, they politely ask the person behind if they can push it back!

3. Bus drivers thanks every passenger!

nice photo with snow all over the hills and a bus coloured in yellow and red moving on the snowfilled ground in Japan

When you travel by local bus in Japan, wait to get your mind blown away – Japanese bus drivers thanks each and every human disembarking the bus at every stop with “Arigatho Gosaimasta” – They speak in a low voice and drag the last word “mastaaaaa” making it sound like a beginning of wrap or a growl.

4. Japan’s public transport is 100% soundless.

picture depicting a fascinating fact about Japan where a Japanese man sitting quietly in the train

A well-known fact about Japan is its efficient and excellent public transport system. But what makes it even more amazing is that hardly anyone talks on public transport on the phone. When two people who know each other sit together, it is always a soft whisper that is audible only to the next person. Japan’s trains are as silent as a meditation hall.

5. Japanese goes crazy on Weekends.

picture showing a fun fact japan with younger Japanese crowd walking in an old alley beside bars filled with glittering lights

Those quiet Japanese on trains know how to party on weekends! The local pub’s Izakaya and streetside bars in Shibuya and Hiroshima are the liveliest people on earth! Japanese, drink, eat, and even pass out on the street. Don’t be surprised to see locals passing out in Tokyo’s last metro, where station managers go to every coach waking up sloshed passengers.

6. Japanese PDA goes without Kissing.

cute Japanese couple walking by the lake side in the garden with mount fuji in the background during sunset

I have never seen anywhere two people displaying love for each other as calmly as they do in Japan. The cutest fact about people in love in Japan is that they don’t kiss in public. Instead, they hold hands, affectionately petting each other’s palms and looking into each other’s eyes. It is a delight to watch Japanese people in love; you feel their love will last an eternity.

7. Japanese are obsessed with “Cuteness.”

police station in japan with hello kitty themed police officer print on display

Most things in Japan are/should be made cute, even if it is a display board of a police station. They have gone with a cute obsession so much that Japanese defence choppers have anime characters painted on them!

8. Dressing like a Child and posing like a kid is considered cute in Japan

Wearing checkered uniforms paired with wedged boots is a style authentic to Japan. You will also see Japanese women wearing dresses with flairs and poppy colours and hairstyles resembling that of a doll.

9. Japanese are deceiving – when it comes to appearance.

Middle aged japanese man with two Indian travellers

The most commonly known fact about Japan’s people is that they live the longest. So it is hard to guess their age! When we took a hand-pull rickshaw at Asakusa, we thought the man was 25 years old. Later when asked, he said he was nearing 40!

10. Japan’s main religion is “Fish.”

I found the Japanese to be more strict about choosing/cooking/the right fish than following Shinto! Their quality checklist for fish is really long. As a result, the fish markets are an insane place to witness various sea creatures that the Japanese eat.

11. Japanese Euthanize fish for better meat!

Rows of giant tuna fish kept on blue taurpaulin at Toyosu fish market auction in Japan's Tokyo

We all know how stress ruins our minds and body. So does the fish! Stress caused in fish while left to die of suffocation creates many chemical changes in its body, just like stress does to us! It makes fish stink with a weird odour – And the Japanese are not ok with it. To counteract this, the Japanese use a technique called Ike Jime – Where they paralyse fish brains using a manual brain spike, giving it an immediate death. Because the fish does not struggle while dying, the flesh remains fresh!

Take a bow, Japanese – for your commitment to fish!

12. Funny food fact about Japan – You eat what you see

busy street of Osaka with restuarnts and a huge real life size cow statue hung in the display depicting food fact about japan

Usually, if you see a statue/photo of an animal, especially a cow smiling happily, we assume it is a vegan place. But in Japan, it is a place where you can happily eat beef! So the smiling animal on the shop front is what goes into your stomach an hour later.

13. Veg Sushi is a real thing!

Sushi translates to Vinegar rice’s sourness. But it is interchangeably used with fish. Hence, veg Sushi in Japan is real and not a hooked-up dish to please vegetarian tourists.

14. There is an ambrosia called Japanese Sake.

National drink of Japan- Sake in a transparent bottle kept on table

The wine brewed from polishing away rice is called “Sake” and is unique to Japan. Consider it like an antidote at the end of an active day. It is neither strong to get you sloshed with one shot. Nor too light like wine which needs you to drink a whole bottle to feel floaty. Drinking Sake feels like being on a hot-air balloon – Lighter, floaty and not hung over.

15. You hardly find dustbins in Japan, but Japan is clean!

The weirdest fact about Japan is that – There are hardly any dustbins kept in public areas. But Japan is freakingly clean- Why & How?

Where Are All the Trash Cans in Japanese Cities?

Clean spotless  asphalt street of Nara town in Japan with traditional houses on one side

In 1995, Tokyo subways were attacked by terrorists by keeping harmful chemical gas in trash cans throughout many stations. So, Japan’s government removed trash cans. After that, Japanese people learned to recycle the trash like pros; everyone carries their waste home!

It works like a charm-Japan is super clean even without public trash cans.

16. Japan’s history is a bundle of epics.

Most famous tori gate of Japan in the middle of dark blue pacific ocean with mountains and villages lining the coast line in background

Often we associate Japan’s history only with World War 2. But the most interesting fact about Japan is humans existed there as early as 10000 BC. Until 1868 AD, Japan remained closed to outsiders and was called “Edo.”

17. You can’t guess a nuclear bomb destroyed Hiroshima.

historical fact about Japan - Hiroshima nuclear bomb's hypocentre at hospital building

The first ever (I hope last) nuclear bomb in the world was dropped in Hiroshima on August 6 1945. The uranium bomb burnt 70% of the buildings. When you see Hiroshima today, it feels like any other modern city in a developed country. In fact, it is prettier than many cities surrounded by a spectacular coastline. It is now popular for gastronomy, cycling, hiking and the Mazda factory.

18. There are a lot of people, and also no people in Japan.

series of saffron colour tori gates creating an one point perspective view with two humans walking in the middle at Fushimi Inari Shrine in Kyoto, Japan

Being the 11th most populous country in the world, you are surrounded by zillions of people while there. But the moment you head out to smaller towns like Kawaguchiko, you feel alone – lonely, let in a place where there is a zombie apocalypse Japan ranks number one with the Largest Percentage of Older Adults. So the younger generation living in cities has left many smaller towns deserted.

19. There is a language called Japanglish

You might have seen a reel on Instagram with the song “Tokyo Bon 2020.”. Honestly, I thought the music was a parody. But once we began to talk to the Japanese asking for roads and food recommendations, we realised the song was 100% true.

What are examples of Japanglish?

Japanese have a unique way of pronouncing English words. We experienced this for the first time when the hotel receptionist said “Paeji” for Page. Usually, they add a different voice to end the word and make it Japanglish.

  • Coffee- Kohi
  • Starbucks – Sutaarabackusa
  • Get to Dekki – Get to the deck.
  • Fresh -furesshu 

I can list 100 more like this; it took us a while to get the hang of this cute thing!

20. Japanese are addicted to their phones and Nintendo Switch.

indian girl wearing bright yellow sweater sitting and smiling at a cafe in Japan with seven Japanese people seeing phone behind her

Most Japanese are so into their gadgets that they won’t even stop staring at their handheld devices while embarking on the train! In many places, we saw signboards that said, “No walking while seeing the phone.” Later we learned a term called “Aruki-sumo”, aka Smart phone walking. People have become so addicted to smartphones in Japan that some cities are bringing in official rules and banning Aruki-Sumo.

21. Japanese can get Chatty with foreigners.

Russian girl chef  and Japanese man at a vegan resturant in Tokyo

When you see Japanese glued to their e-gadgets, you tend to perceive they are cold and reserved. But once you break the barrier and approach them, they can be friendly – Every time I praised and asked for someone’s bag or nails, they were delighted. Some even let me touch it and told me where to get it for a better price.

22. We saw many Japanese Crying alone!

Japan is clean, technologically advanced, has the best transport system, and they are nice people – Life is convenient with everything in order. Luxurious life is backed with rich heritage and tradition – As one of the world’s most developed and largest economies, they have nothing to worry about – Right?

Here comes the bitter fact about Japan

japanese woman standing alone in the historical street of Kyoto lined with compound wall and traditional houses beside trees full of autumn leaves

The solo finding is common in Japan – This is understandable. But at every Starbucks we visited, we saw at least one young Japanese person weeping in a corner alone! Mostly it was more young women. When I did my research, I figured out Japan’s suicide rates are high due to Hikkimori. – A withdrawal from social life and into social networks.

23. You can rent a friend/family in Japan.

A weird yet sad fact about Japan- Renting a middle-aged man is the most famous, and many tourists also do it out of curiosity. Japan has legalised the most peculiar service of hiring a friend or even renting a family! 

24. Japanese population is almost Japanese.

unique mosque with glass facade and sloped roof at Kawaguchiko in Japan

Finding immigrants in developed nations is common. But not in Japan. It has strict regulations for immigrants. After world war 2, they are super cautious about who they let in. You see a few Americans and Chinese working in Japan. So 99% of the Japanese population is ethnically Japanese.

25. Japanese are obsessed with American culture.

After being bombed with a nuclear weapon from America, the Japanese would not like anything American, we thought! But it is quite the opposite!

amity foundry boatworks building with sloping rood made of wood at Universal studio in Japan
  • When they have one of the world’s healthiest diets, many Japanese want to eat doughnuts for breakfast!
  • Even when it was 0*C, the Japanese served water with ice!
  • You see many baseball game posters everywhere!
  • Japanese are crazy about Disneyland and Universal Studios – Now, wonder why their one-year passes are highly sold!
  • Japanese are obsessed with Christmas though Christianity as a religion is not popular. So you may expect towering churches everywhere when you observe Christmas trees in every mall and train station. Yet you hardly see any churches but a Shinto shrine every 50m!
  • They love Mc Donalds and KFC. It is a Japanese tradition to eat at KFC on Christmas.

26. Why is Starbucks popular in Japan?

starbucks building beside a traditional Japanese home at Kyoto in Japan

An astonishing fact about Japan is – the number of Starbucks outlets! Starbucks’ first outlet outside America was in Japan in 1996 at Ginza in Tokyo.

In geographical area wise, Japan stands in 57th position. But ranks 4th with the highest number of Starbucks. So imagine how often your bump into a Starbucks in Japan!

27. Tokyo has the statue of Liberty

Odaiba statue of liberty in tokyo as seen from train window on a rainy day

When you take the Yurikamome monorail from Toyosu to experience a driverless automated system, you come across the statue of Liberty in Tokyo! This is called the” Odaiba statue of Liberty”, exactly like the one in New York! It was erected in 1998 as a temporary honour of Japan’s relationship with France. However, Japanese fondness for Newyork made the government convert it into a permanent installation.

Wait – Later, I found that the Odaiba lady has sisters in Osaka and Shimoda too!

28. Gambling in Japan is at an unimaginable level!

pachincko masamura building with lots of indoor and outdoor lighting with anime posters all over the front facade in Tokyo japan

You find buildings called “Pachinko Slot” across all cities of Japan! These are Japanese versions of slot machines that you find in casinos in Las Vegas! I call it the black hole of Japan – Once you enter, it is hard to come out soon from the glittery neon light-filled rooms, and you don’t know where your money goes!

People in Japan aren’t just obsessed with slot machines and the lottery! We saw at least a 200m winding waiting line where people stood to buy lottery tickets at Nagoya two days before Christmas in 2022!

29. You will find women on the hiking trail carrying Louis Vuitton Purse and heeled shoes.

nicely dressed tourists carrying designer handbags on the streets of Shirakawago lined with sloped roof houses during snowfall

J-Beauty is a real concept, and the Japanese are obsessed with fair skin. They can’t afford to underdress, even while hiking. In winter, you expect people to wear jackets and hiking shoes. But Japanese women come all dressed in nice dresses, holding their Chanel purses and fancy wedges to the snowy/rugged hiking trails.

30. Mask in Japan is an everyday item

Japanese people wearing mask and walking beside a group of deers at Nara park in Japan

The history of Japanese wearing masks goes back to the 1800s to the time of mining workers. Since then, to avoid the spreading of germs, people in Japan always wear masks. So Japan government never had to mandate masks during Covid 19 pandemic.

31. Japan moves at the speed of light.

white bullet train arriving at a station in Japan

Not mentioning high-speed bullet trains, AKA shinkansen, is a crime while talking about Japan. But speedy Japanese nature goes beyond the shinkansen. Whether it is serving food, billing at shops, issuing tickets at stations or sweeping the streets – Japanese value every minute, and they finish the job without wasting a nano-second.

32. Japan has earthquake dampeners installed in its buildings.

beautiful skyscraper building at Tokyo in Japan

A cool fact about Japan is that many of its buildings are designed to move along with the quake allowing the energy to pass rather than resist it and collapse. For example, Tokyo’s 643m tall Skytree Tower is considered to be an “Earthquake Proof.” With Japan’s advanced technology, skyscrapers like Shinjuku Mitsui Building are also resistant to earthquakes.

33. Tokyo Transport map resembles a bowl of Sphegatti.

indian man holding complicated tokyo metro map

More than 12 train lines cover 195km of track between 179 stations in Tokyo, making travelling in the city easiest and fastest. The train system carries more than 6.5 million daily and always gets on time.
Another fun fact about the Tokyo Metro line is that each line is colour coded on the map. So the same colour will be there in that train’s seat too.

34. Tokyo was once a town by the canal.

photo of an old image of Nihombashi area of Tokyo with canals and boats

As much as I fell in love with Tokyo’s public transport system, it broke my heart to know that hundreds of canals were closed to make the city and railways. You find only a few canals retained. Still, old paintings show how Tokyo thrived by the channels – The image reminded me of Amsterdam a lot!

35. Japan uses toilets since 3000 AD.

The most interesting fact about Japan is their toilet- They have heated toilet seats with a bidet and a remote fixed on the wall to control several things in the toilet, including –

toilet remote control with various operations in Japan
  • The temperature and force of bidet water so that you don’t hurt your bum.
  • Type of stream – Like a splash or a stream
  • Play music to mask the sound of your poop falling into the pot or your farting.
  • Some toilets seat even open with sensor technology.

36. They have mastered the art of creating witty signage.

poster shwoing sit properly in train

Knowing the Japanese language gives you wings while travelling in Japan. If not, you need not worry about getting stranded on the street clueless. Every piece of information comes with highly detailed infographics and cute caricatures – They know how to convey their message through witty graphics.

poster showing how to drink Ramune at a restaurant in Tokyo

37. Watch out for the strange Information Display Boards.

Sadly, Japan faces many natural calamities- tsunamis and Earthquakes often hit Japan. However, Japan’s excellent communication system has never failed to handle such situations.

big board showing emergency evacuation site for tourists in the forest at Arashiyama in Japan

So in some crucial spots prone to such calamities, you will find a display board that says, Tsunami rescue point!

38. Manhole Covers in Japan are the cutest.

Japanese have gone to the extreme extent of meticulously detailing manhole covers. The theme can start with Doremon, pokemon or their indigenous flowers like Sakura and Maple. Some manhole covers in Japan even depict the cultural or heritage significance of the place. So when you walk in Japan, look down often – You may be stepping on something cute.

39. Japan’s food models look unrealistically real.

fake food in japan on display

The food models kept on display are made to look exactly the same as real food. They are attentively designed to be the same size, shape, and colour and have the same texture as their real food. It includes even the shine, grill marks, and sauce spots- So you will find workshops to learn to make fake food models in Japan using resin!

40. Kit Kat in Japan is a whole new world.

weird flavours of kitkat stocked in a a shelf at convenience store in japan

The British brand Nestle came up with flavours that suit Japanese taste to survive among traditional Japanese chocolates and sweets like Mochi/Manjyu. They have around 40 flavours, including green tea, coffee, orange, strawberry, banana, Wasabi, etc.

41. You eat Real Wasabi in Japan

wasabi plan kept in a basket with ice at a market in Japan

Wasabi, like horse radish, tastes strong and heated and is used as a dipping paste for sushi. Growing wasabi isn’t easyand expensive. So, very likely that spicy Wasabi you had elsewhere may not be real Wasabi at all!

42. The matcha flavour is exploited in Japan.

matcha latte bottle at Starbucks in Japan

Japanese make their love for green tea obvious. The Matcha flavour goes to kit kat, cake, ice cream, their traditional sweets Mochi, smoothies, Lattes and everything else! Initially, this pastel green food looked attractive and tasted delicious. Eventually, we were done with Matcha flavours added to every possible thing in Japan!

43. Japan has dozens of weird-themed cafes.

Walking around shopping arcades and tourist hot spots, you come across strange-themed cafes in Japan. Beware before you choose – Most of them are ripoffs. For example, Japanese maids cafe is the most common – Japanese girls dressed like maids talk to you, making cute sounds like “Meow meow” and making you pay several times apart from paying for the drinks.

44. Types of accommodation in Japan are vast.

Japan’s accommodation variety goes beyond BnB, resorts and business hotels. They have traditional Ryokans. But interesting types are :

  • Love Hotels – Basically, it is for couples to rent a room hourly to make love. These hotels even sell condoms and some sex toys. Many tourists stay here for its lower price and safety.
  • Capsule hotels – Japan’s lack of space led to the invention of pods. The pods are big enough for one person to sleep comfortably. You even get a sleeping report that shows the quality of your sleep.

45. Japan vending machines are epic.

Here is a crazy fact about Japan -In 2021, Japan had approximately 5 million vending machines. And their population was 125.5 million. So there is almost one vending machine for every 25-30 humans in Japan!

What are some items sold in Japan’s 5.5 million vending machines?

Hot coffee, beverages, pizza, sushi, underwear, umbrella, fruits, sandwiches, toys, etc. etc.

46. Taking a taxi in Japan requires you to donate a kidney.

If you are out on the street post 12 in Tokyo or 10.30PM in other cities – Brace yourself! You will be paying a big chunk of money for a taxi. A kilometre ride would cost you 500-700 yen!

47. Owning a car and finding a parking spot in Japan isn’t Easy!

In many Japanese cities’ residential areas, you find an odd empty space labelled as “Parking for residents” Often, you find Japanese homes weirdly built as if they designed the parking space first before the house itself. Many times it is true.

Because streetside car parking is banned & you must have a parking space to buy & own a car in Japan. The dealer will mandatorily ask for proof of a parking lot you own or rent! And it must be within a 2km radius of where you live.

48. You can send a post to yourself in Future

photo of a post card with image of traditional Japanese house and mount fuji behind it as a future post application -unique fact about japan

Some places like Saiko village Japan offer “Sending a Post Card for yourself in the Future.” All you have to do is, pay and pick a postcard of your choice. Fill in the detail, write a message for yourself and specify the date of delivery ( You can delay a maximum of up to 5 years)

49. You find LED ring lights and selfie stands in many tourist places.

Japanese girls taking selfie in a lively christmas market illuminated with serial set lights at Toyo in Japan

Japanese are obsessed with taking photos! Perhaps they are the highest selfie-takers. So many indoor places have LED ring lights. Public parks will have a stand with a grove to fix your phone and take selfies.

50. Japan has meditating monkeys!

two monkeys in Japan sitting iwith eyes closed in a hot water spring surrounded by snow during winter

The snow monkeys in Nagano come to the man-made hot spring in the forest to keep themselves warm during winter. They can make anyone envious of how they relax in their private onsen! On snowy days, these “National Animals of Japan” sit in hot water with their eyes closed, rejoicing every moment to the core. In this state, they look like they are in meditation!

51. Japanese gardens elevate you to an ethereal space.

typical japanese garden with stones by the pond side and a giant bird waiting to catch fish

The most blissful part of Japan is their garden. Once you enter it, you get lost in peace that you never want to leave. Japanese gardens are carefully designed and patiently trimmed to aesthetic principles. But if feels organic and natural, that evokes calm and revitalisation.

52. Japanese Anime is epic.

There are genres like romance, thriller, action, fiction and horror – But Anime is a genre that belongs to all the above yet stands out. Most Japanese animes are inspired by folk stories & revolve around the spirits. So Anime is a saga full of spiritual thoughts, not just a random cartoon story.

53. Japanese people hate rain.

rainbow bridge in tokyo as seen from train window on a rainy day

In December, there was not much rain in Japan. But even with a little drizzle, the Japanese snuggled indoors and never came out. We later learned from a vegan restaurant owner in Kyoto that Japanese people hate coming out even when it just drizzles!

54. You can hardly lose anything in Japan.

statue of a man with wings holding a baby on his back at a japanese shrine
  • I dropped my wallet once at Nagano station unknowingly. A Japanese man came running to me with my purse!
  • Ashrith’s Uniqlo scarf was lost somewhere before the hike to Cheurito Pagoda. We returned to the station to find the scarf neatly folded and hung on the bench backrest.
  • That umbrella I left in an Omnibus in the Fujikyu area in the morning waited for me to collect it until I boarded the same bus in the evening!

Apart from losing your heart to Japanese people and its natural beauty, you aren’t losing anything in Japan! ( Of course, you will lose some money if you play Gatcha Gatcha )

55. One last fact about Japan – A thing you can’t buy

There is something precious that one can’t bring back home from Japan – Their manners and warmth. Their technological advancement has rocketed to the sky, but their roots are still intact to their land and humanity.

cute statue at a japanese shrine wearing a pink knitted beanie

Published by Sahana Kulur

Traveller | Blogger | Architecture and history

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