Japan is a nation that has been alluring travelers ever since it initially opened up in 1853 for international trade. At present Japan leads the world with its economical and technological centers.
Interesting Facts About Japan
The groundbreaking technologies and trendy pop culture go along perfectly with Japan’s traditional customs and ancient gods. Visiting here, you’ll always come across something new to discover. Read on to uncover some fun facts about Japan that you may not have heard before.
1. Japan has a Rabbit Island
A country with almost 7,000 islands, Japan also houses the tiny island of Okunoshima located at the Inland Sea. This island is widely known for its fun and adorable, big-eared crowd.
During World War II, this island was taken to try out chemical weapons. And according to people, the test subjects were set free here after the war. Whatever it is, the population increased as there are no predators here (cats and dogs are forbidden to enter). At present, Okunoshima is the best-known site for cuddle-bunny visitors.
2. Four is a very Unlucky Number
Japan hugely avoids the number four as it translates to ‘shi’ which sounds very much like the Japanese word for death. Making your way through Japan, you’ll come to notice that buildings here don’t have the fourth floor, an extra caution is taken to steer clear of the number as even products are sold in groups of three or five
3. The most Punctual Trains
You might wonder what makes Japanese trains so punctual as their average delay is known to be around eighteen seconds. The drivers here receive training in ultra-realistic simulators and drive only a single train line only. Several of them don’t require a speedometer to acknowledge how fast they’re going.
There is also fierce competition among the rail companies, so being lagged isn’t an option. The drivers do their best work to maintain Japan’s large numbers of train commuters. Every other convenience is provided for the commuters such as the presence of fancy department stores in the stations.
4. Wacky Flavours are Japanese Prizes
In Japan, you’ll come across some very weird yet amazing flavors such as Green Tea Kit Kats and Eel flavored ice cream. As Kit Kats sounds just like ‘Kitto katsu’ which means good luck in Japanese, they are the most well-known treats in Japan. You’ll find about every flavor of Kit Kats in Japan such as wasabi, edamame, and ginger ale.
5. Personal Seals
People in Japan don’t have signatures, instead, they use their seals. The seal is known as Hanko and it is just your name transcribed into Kanji characters. They are formed of silk or plant-based paste.
Adults are usually seen carrying three Hankos, among which they use one to sign off letters and personal matters. The others are a bank seal and an identity seal. Foreigners residing in Japan can own their own Hanko that is handmade in local shops although it’s not a necessity for tourists.
6. Over 1500 Earthquakes in a Year
The number might change throughout the years, but on average, Japan does expect over 1500 earthquakes in Japan. Most of them are thankfully smaller shakes, but there are also bigger earthquakes every year along with some that reach over 8 on the Richter scale.
7. Vending Machines offering almost Everything
With roughly around 5 million machines or a single machine for every 23 people, Japan proudly holds the record for having the largest density of vending machines.
The first machine in Japan was set up to sell cigarettes and at present, you can find almost everything from flowers, full meals, magazines, toilet papers, and umbrellas to condoms ready to be purchased from the machines.
You can see Japan’s obsession for automation in its vending machine culture, as almost all the streets feature at least one vending machine.
8. It’s Illegal to Gamble in Japan
This might come off as sad news for the gamblers but Japan does not support their amusement. Although there is a game quite like gambling. Named Pachinko, this game is disguised and not officially considered gambling.
To play, a person has to buy tiny metal balls that are placed inside the machine. Then the winning balls are exchanged for tokens and prizes, which can later be exchanged for money.
9. Power Naps in the Office
You might be pleasantly surprised to know that Japan encourages taking naps in between work as it is believed that this helps in improving workflow and speed. For the Japanese culture, it also shows your dedication to your job and that you have worked hard and long. Some people even fake taking naps to prove their dedication!
10. No Shoes Inside the Homes
The Japanese consider it rude to enter a house with shoes on. Instead, you’ll be handed a pair of slippers before entering a home and asked to take off your shoes outdoors.
In the past when the people of Japan used to sit on the floor to eat, they despised the presence of dirty shoes where they were supposed to eat, and so this custom of no shoes indoors became a thing.
11. Festival of Penis
Every year there’s a festival in Japan celebrating the penis and female fertility, named the Kanamara Matsuri festival. On the first Sunday in April, this festival takes place in the Japanese city of Kawasaki.
What might come off as peculiar to the outsiders is that almost everything such as candy, vegetables, and decorations is shaped like a penis or something else related to fertility during the time of this festival.
12. KFC is the traditional Christmas Eve meal
Christmas is celebrated by several people in Japan but the festive affairs aren’t exactly what you might be expecting. On Christmas Eve, it is a tradition in Japan for people to head to their local KFC.
After some hours of standing in queues and even making orders weeks in advance, around 3.6 million Japanese feasts on the KFC Christmas Dinner. According to some, initially, Japan did not have the availability of turkey and chicken during Christmas so KFC stepped in to fulfill the demand, and hence the tradition was born!