25 Weird and Interesting Facts about Japan
Last Updated on September 5, 2022
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Japan is one of the most fun and exciting countries that I have ever visited.
If you have never visited Japan before you will be overwhelmed by the friendliness of the people, the bright lights of Tokyo and the uniformity of the country.
I loved Japan, but there are some essential and interesting facts about Japan that I wish I knew before I went, because as I was travelling this beautiful country, I had many questions!
In Japan, interesting facts and unique cultural facets are around every corner.
Be it the fruit, the lifestyle or the festivals, there are plenty of random Japanese facts: from funny facts about Japan to scary facts about Japan, and definitely some surprising facts about Japan!
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Below are my favourites of all the weird and fun facts about Japan that I wish I had known before I went.
Here are the Most Interesting Facts About Japan
1. Vending Machine Ratio
To every person, there are approximately 23 vending machines. You can buy ANYTHING in a vending machine including, cars, lettuce, underwear, hot ramen and even an egg.
You will find them everywhere I swear! Vending machines are one of the many interesting facts about Japanese culture, that is extremely useful at the same time.
You never have to talk to another person again, bliss for an introvert like me! The vending machine ratio is one of my favourite weird Japan facts.
2. Gambling is Illegal
One of the most interesting facts about Japan is that gambling is illegal there. No one ever believes you won’t find gambling stations anywhere in Japan.
BUT somehow there’s a game that doesn’t come under the gambling umbrella.
Pachinko is a popular game for the Japanese and disguised so it’s not officially gambling. You purchase tiny metal balls which are then slotted into the machine.
Balls that win are then exchanged for prizes or tokens which can then be exchanged for money.
What I found fascinating is the noise of these parlours! I have been to Las Vegas and although you’re constantly hearing the noise of the machines it is nothing that distracting.
When I walked into a Pachinko parlour my ears hurt it was so loud!
If you visit Japan, make sure you pop into a parlour to experience this interesting craze.
3. Fake Food
Outside of most restaurants, you will find fake replicas of the food that the restaurant serves! You may also find ones that move! Yes, animated food – only in Japan.
There is a street which is unofficially known as kitchen street, but the formal name is Kappabashi Street. It’s located between Asakusa and Ueno.
This is where restaurants purchase their kitchenware and fake food!
This was my favourite place in Tokyo. Maybe that’s strange, but it was so cool!
It’s a street lined with shops selling beautiful Japanese kitchenware, from hand-painted bowls to every kitchen gadget you could think of, it’s a kitchen-lovers dream!
This one of the many weird and bizarre facts about Japan, one but it makes Japan unique!
4. Japan has the Third-Highest Life Expectancy
Japanese have the highest life expectancy in the world due to their diet and lifestyle. They are very healthy people and exercise regularly.
On average men will live until their 81 years old and women 87 years old. This is causing a crisis in Japan because there’s a lack of childbirth also.
Now there are more seniors than children and this is causing a problem for the Japanese economy.
Apparently, Japan sells more adult diapers than children’s – how fascinating and problematic at the same time! And such a weird and fun fact about to Japan to know if you’re ever on a trivia show.
5. There are over 6,800 Islands!
This Japan fact totally took me by surprise as many people just think of Japan as one island but actually, there’s 6800 of them!
Honshu is one of the four main islands and where Tokyo is located. The other 3 main islands are called Hokkaido, Shikoku and Kyushu.
Another cool fact about Japan is that the two oldest people in the world (116 & 117 years old) live on the Island of Okinawa, a beautiful island that mirrors paradise.
6. Slurping your Noodles is not Rude
Gone are the days where you must stay quiet and slurp your noodles! If you’re in Japan, then it’s not considered rude to make as much noise while eating your noodles!
To me, this is one of the strange things about Japan, but it is considered polite to make slurping noises and means that you’re enjoying the food and you appreciate it.
Whether you like the sound or not, knowing this fact about Japan’s culture will make your stay much less awkward!
➡ Read more: Japanese Food You Have to Try While in Japan
7. Japan Eat the Most Seafood in the World
The Japanese are the largest importer of seafood. It’s one of the fun facts about Japanese culture. They actually eat over 17 million tonnes of fish per year.
You will find that seafood is a staple food for the Japanese and included in most meals. Over 20% of their protein is from seafood!
If you don’t like fish, don’t let this fact about Japan put you off; there’s plenty of other amazing Japanese food!
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8. You’re Allowed to Take Naps on the Job
Yes, that right! In fact, naps are encouraged on the job because this improves workflow and speed.
It’s also considered a sign that you are dedicated to your job and have worked hard and long for your job!
If I didn’t already have the best job, this fact about Japan might be enough to make me look into a teaching job in Japan.
9. They Eat KFC for Christmas Dinner
Apparently, over 3.6 million people in Japan celebrate their Christmas with a KFC dinner. Random facts about Japan like this are so weird and interesting to me!
So how did this come about in the first place?
Well, it was just a good marketing campaign when the first store opened in 1970. KFC started a ‘Party Barrell’ based on an American Christmas dinner but with chicken of course instead of turkey.
Somehow it caught on and the rest is history.
Christmas is not considered a big event as less than 2% of Japan is Christian.
If Christmas dinner is your favourite meal, remember to add this to your list of Japan fun facts before you head there for the holidays!
10. Tokyo is the Most Densely Populated City
Want to know one of the crazy things about Japan? Around 38 million of Japan’s population live just in Tokyo. Japan has a population of 127 million, so that’s a lot of people in a relatively small space!
As an introvert, I found this Japan fact a little alarming, but I still loved my time there.
You can see how busy Tokyo is during rush-hour easily by trying to hop on a train within the city or walking the busiest crossing in the world: Shibuya.
➡ Read more: Unique Things to do in Tokyo, Japan
11. One of the Safest Countries in the World
One of the more unique things about Japan is that its crime rate is so low. In fact, it’s basically non-existent. The Japanese are very honest people, reliable and law-abiding.
Japanese law is strict, so people tend to not go off the rails and on the wrong side of the law.
This is one of the facts about Japan that always surprises people because of Japan’s love of horror and murder mysteries. But in reality, it’s one of the safest countries in the world!
12. Don’t Wear Your Shoes Inside
Before entering a house, you will be asked to take off your shoes. You will be given a pair of slippers usually. It’s considered rude to wear your shoes inside.
This Japanese custom was mainly a thing because back in the days the Japanese used to eat off the floor and obviously didn’t want dirty shoes ruining where they were about to eat.
Make sure you don’t forget these etiquette facts about Japan; they are important!
13. They Have a High Suicide Rate
Unfortunately, one of the most horrible facts about Japan is that it has one of the highest suicide rates in the world.
In 2018, Japan youth suicide’s hit a record high in 30 years. This is by far the most unfortunate fact about Japan.
The suicide forest is the second most popular place to commit suicide after San Francisco golden gate bridge.
The forest is located at the base of Mt Fuji and is said to where most people enter and never come back.
The rate of suicide is due to not enough access to therapists as well as work pressures.
Japan has announced that they are working on better programs, especially in schools to help cut the rate of suicide.
14. The Toilets Sing for you
This is probably the weirdest fact about Japan; the toilets! They do just about anything, even sing.
You can also press a button and the seat will warm up, so your bottom doesn’t get cold!
I mostly found this function a bit strange and not very nice at all, but I love sharing this information with friends going to visit – for me it’s one of the funny things about Japan.
15. Square Melons are a Thing
For some, this might be one of the more creepy facts about Japan, seeing as it can be seen as unnatural, but there is such a thing as square watermelons!
Apparently, they are grown like this for decoration and cost as much as $100!
This fun food fact about Japan is so baffling but cool to me. Would you pay to eat a square watermelon?
16. They have a Penis Festival
One of the more weird things about Japan – and arguably one of the more unknown facts about Japan – is the Kanamara Matsuri festival, which is held every year.
It started in 1969 just outside of Tokyo and celebrates the penis and female fertility!
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17. Eating Raw Meat is Common
This fact about Japan might not surprise fans of sushi. But you will notice on your trip to Japan that eating various types of meat raw is totally the norm.
Raw fish is commonly found in sushi. Homemade sushi tastes best and you’re lucky if you can find a guesthouse with a welcoming host to serve you local food.
However, one of the delicacies in Japan is raw horsemeat. It’s called Bashari and is thinly sliced and eaten raw – which is definitely one of the more shocking facts about Japan for some!
18. No 4’s please!
An interesting fun fact about Japan’s culture is that it is common to totally avoid the number four because the word sounds the same as the word death.
Because of this creepy fact about Japan, buildings will commonly not have the 4th floor, cutlery is often sold in sets of 3 and the number of guests invited to a tea ceremony will never be 4!
19. The Japanese are Some of the Friendliest People
This is a cold hard fact about Japan! The Japanese are awesome, to say the least. They are incredibly friendly, gentle and conscientious people.
During my time in Japan, I was blown away by the friendliness of the people. This is definitely one of the most cool facts about Japan!
20. Fruit is the Best Gift you can Give
Remember this fact if you are invited to someone’s house in Japan! If you don’t know what to get your host, then gift them fruit. You will notice the price of fruit is astronomically high.
There’s a fruit gifting shop in Tokyo and some fruit can be as expensive as $27,000!
21. The Face Mask is Used by the Sick
A lot of people don’t know this fact about Japan, including me!
When I first visited Japan, I thought the face mask was worn because people don’t want to get sick and wanted to avoid other people’s germs. But, it’s actually the other way around.
If you are sick you wear the face mask, so you don’t get others sick. Again, this shows how nice the Japanese are. They are always thinking of others!
22. You can Rent a Cuddle
Yes, you read that right! It might seem like one of the made up funny Japanese facts, but it isn’t.
There are businesses where you pay for the privilege of being hugged and loved by someone who wants nothing more than to give their time in order to help console your loneliness.
You can use this service just once or oftentimes over an extended amount of time.
Each session costs different prices depending upon how long one would like them lasting, typically somewhere between 30 minutes up until four hours.
This is one of my favourite fun facts about Japan because it’s so sweet but also so bizarre!
23. Maid Café
There are maid cafés in Japan where the employees dress up in maid costumes and act as your servant. What can I say: ask for weird Japanese facts and you shall receive.
Now, you may be thinking that it sounds sexual, well it’s not meant to be that way at all. It’s just a café where the staff are dressed in cosplay.
The cafe is strange, fun and a little cringy all at the same time, and definitely one of the weird things in Japan you may come across. What are your thoughts? Would you visit one of these cafes?
24. About 1,500 Earthquakes a Year
Tokyo lies on an active area where earthquakes are extremely common, and they have over 1500 of them a year.
This may seem like a scary Japan fact, but really this is nothing for me because New Zealand has over 15,000 per year – not to compare or anything.
Personally, I find earthquakes and the natural environment one of the most interesting things about japan, and actually, any country that I visit around the world.
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25. They Take Cleaning Seriously
Cleaning is taught in school and is a serious part of Japanese culture. Students and children clean their own school!
I have to say on my travels to Japan I thought it was one of the top 3 cleanest countries I have been to.
So while plenty of strange facts about Japan take me by surprise, this one doesn’t actually surprise me at all.
There are even neighbourhood (volunteer but mostly compulsory) clean-ups. People are always expected to keep their private houses and their workplaces clean!
Frequently Asked Questions
Japan is known for many incredible things, including their delicious cuisine (especially sushi), anime and manga, and origami. Japan has also become well known for its weird selection of vending machine items and unique flavour range of candy bars.
The toilets sign to you! Yes, you read that right. In Japan many of the toilets are programmed to sign, give commands and even regulate temperature! Going to the loo is quite the experience here.
Definitely sushi! But in Japan sushi isn’t just what we think of in other countries, there are so many options available – not just raw fish – and good sushi is truly an art. Since Japan has some of the best seafood in the world, the pride themselves on their delicious sushi.
Japan is a country like no other. From the foods to the culture, there are so many aspects that make it one of the most interesting countries in the world.
What interesting facts about Japan do you find most surprising? Tell me below.
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