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20 bizarre facts you didn’t know about Japan

By HarryFriday 06th November 2015

Square watermelons, just one of the strange items you can buy in Japan – Image by Flickr user Joi Ito Square watermelons, just one of the strange items you can buy in Japan – Image by Flickr user Joi Ito

If you’ve ever been to Japan, you’ll know what an interesting place it is. Everywhere you go you’ll encounter age-old traditions and unique customs that, to many, seem utterly bizarre. However, it’s these small quirks which make Japan such an amazing country to visit, and a place you’ll want to keep coming back to time and time again. Intrigued? Read on for our pick of the weirdest facts about Japan.

1. You can buy square watermelons

Created using boxes to mould the fruit as it grows, square watermelons are often given as gifts or used as decoration. And with a cost of $100 (at least) you can see why people aren’t buying them every day!

2. The Japanese believe that black cats bring good luck

3. There are more pets than children

Japan has one of the lowest birth-rates in the world, so it’s of no wonder that there are more of our four-legged friends than there are children. Cuddle up to a cat at one of the many cat cafes – Image by Flickr user melanie_ko Cuddle up to a cat at one of the many cat cafes – Image by Flickr user melanie_ko

4. 90% of mobile phones are waterproof, so people can use them in the shower

5. KFC is a typical place to eat on Christmas Eve

In 1974 KFC ran an incredibly successful advertising campaign called “Kentucky for Christmas”. Since then, KFC Japan’s ‘Christmas Dinner’ (including chicken, wine, champagne and cake) has become a popular tradition among many.

6. There is a building with a highway that passes through it

7. Cat cafes are popular places to meet

Cuddle a cat while you drink your coffee at one of Japan’s cat cafes. These super kawaii (cute) cafes have popped up all over the country and are popular among visitors and locals.

8. Japan has a 5-step escalator – it’s the world’s shortest

9. There are 5.52 million vending machines

From cans of beer to boxes of eggs, you can get almost anything from Japan’s vending machines. And they’re everywhere! Vending machines are everywhere in Japan – Image by Flickr user Lordcolus Vending machines are everywhere in Japan – Image by Flickr user Lordcolus

10. It’s rude to say no to someone directly

11. 85% of the coffee produced in Jamaica is exported to Japan

How many cups of coffee do you have a day? One? Two? The Japanese certainly seem to be having more than a cupful, as this massive statistic shows.

12. More paper is used for comic books, than toilet paper

13. Okunoshima island is full of rabbits

Okunoshima island may be small, but what it lacks in size, it certainly makes up for in cuteness. More specifically, cute rabbits. Although it’s not clear where the rabbits came from, they inhabit the island in their thousands, making the island a popular tourist attraction.

14. Many streets in Japan have no name

15. Japan has more than 50,000 people who are over 100 years old

Perhaps it’s the diet or maybe it’s the clean air, but whatever the secret may be, one thing’s for sure: people in Japan are some of the oldest in the world. Okunoshima, Japan’s rabbit island – Image by Flickr user Marit & Toomas Hinnosaar Okunoshima, Japan’s rabbit island – Image by Flickr user Marit & Toomas Hinnosaar

16. There are at least 20 different ways to say sorry in Japanese

17. There is a restaurant that only serves canned food

Upon entering any one of the 17 Mr. Kanso restaurants, you’ll set eyes upon row after row of canned goods. No need to order from a menu, simply take your pick from the many canned delicacies on offer.

18. Tearing off gift-wrapping is impolite

19. Godzilla is an official citizen of Japan

No, your eyes don’t deceive you. Godzilla – the fictional monster from the Japanese film series of the same name – was made a citizen of Japan. The reason for residency? “Promoting the entertainment of and watching over the Kabuki-cho neighbourhood and drawing visitors from around the globe.”

20. Japan is home to the world’s first robot-staffed hotel

Dinner served straight from a can, at Mr. Kanso – Image by Flickr user toshifukuoka Dinner served straight from a can, at Mr. Kanso – Image by Flickr user toshifukuoka

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