Quirky, Funny And Strange Things In Japan

Quirky, funny and strange things in Japan

I received mixed responses when I told my family and friends that I would be traveling to Japan. Varying from ‘I am extremely jealous’ to ‘I am really looking forward to hearing about your experiences’ and ‘Be prepared, Japan is crazy’.

Let me start by saying that Japanese people are the best. They are helpful, kind and considerate and a major reason why I enjoyed my 1 month trip so much.

But I have to admit I came across some things in Japan that were… different, unusual and sometimes downright weird. Let’s start with Japanese toilets…


I may have a slight obsession with toilets. The thing is, I have the tiniest bladder which makes locating toilets while traveling a priority. During our trip around Southeast Asia I made it a habit not to drink at all on travel days. I know, not very healthy in a hot and humid climate. But there is nothing worse than driving over a bumpy road in the back of an overcrowded van with a bladder that feels like an oversized water balloon ready to burst.

Luckily for me, in Japan toilets were everywhere. And what’s more, pretty much all the toilets were sparkling clean. Also, the Japanese toilets came with some very interesting options… Of course I had to try these out. I will not go into details but it may not have gone very well and I may not have used them since that particular incident. Turns out I am not pro enough to handle Japanese toilets.

Japanese toilets and the buttons
Must. Try. Buttons.
Drones in Japanese toilet
In Japan, drones are not allowed in the toilet area. Shocking, isn’t it?. But there were more interesting toilet things…
Japan toilet map funny
Like this map of the toilet building. Really!? A map of the toilet?! I mean, it was a 3 by 4 meter cubicle, you couldn’t get lost if you tried.
Japan toilet map
For this huge toilet building however, a map is perfectly appropriate.
How to use the toilet in Japan
I laughed so hard when seeing this picture it was a good thing I was already sitting on the toilet. Anyway, enough with the toilet humor. Because there were more quirky things in Japan…

Food & Vending Machines

This list wouldn’t be complete without some pictures of plastic food.

Plastic food in Japan

I personally think plastic sample dishes an excellent idea, you know exactly what you are going to get. But it’s slightly weird when you are looking at a plastic plate of food and actually start to feel hungry because it looks delicious. Well, maybe I’m just a little weird;-). Or obsessed with Japanese food. Possibly both. But not too much food:
Weird advertisement in Japan
Why would anyone want this? Assuming its even possible to eat this much…
Strange drink in Japan
There are some strange drinks in Japan that don’t always look very appealing. Do I have a very dirty mind or do other people find this a disturbing looking drink as well?

I thought I landed in Japan when stepping off the plane, but I actually landed in vending machine world! In Japan you can buy anything from a vending machine. Absolutely anything you can thing off.

Vending machine galore Japan
8 vending machines selling exactly the same thing at an industrial park where nobody was around to actually buy something…
Ice cream robot Japan
I know it’s a terrible picture, but I had to capture this to prove its real: a fully automatic ice-cream robot! Serving a different flavor each day! Unfortunately the flavor of the day I visited was mint, me don’t like…

Weird and funny signs

There were loads of hilarious signs in Japan. I didn’t take a picture of all the crazy signs I came across, however, I still managed to collect quite a few  funny ones.

Dangerous deer in Nara funny sign
The illustrations alone were very enough to make me laugh out loud. But what was even funnier is that a couple of Japanese girls were feeding the deer and then started screaming when the deer kept chasing them for food. Seriously, what did they expect!
No smartphone subway Tokyo Japan
Safety first! Keep right. And don’t use anything…
Queuing is everything in Japan
Queuing is everything in Japan, maybe even more so than in the U.K.
Unfortune English
I cant help but laugh each time I look at this picture. Its really too bad for all the English speaking people in the world: apparently there is no fortune in English. Lol?.
Serious cigarette in Japan
What kind of #$%^& cigarette is this?!
No dog poo on the grass Japan
That poor dog?.
No fungus in Japan
I had some serious Pacman flashbacks when I spotted this angry aggressive anti-fungus figures.

All things Kawaii…

Kawaii means cute, cuddly, soft and sweet. There is a whole Kawaii scene in Japan and you see aspects of it everywhere.

Kawaii road works Japan
Like these very Kawaii roadworks.
Marimo Lake Akan Hokkaido Japan
Or these marimo balls. Marimo are green spheres of algae and very kawaii (because fluffy). How much of a thing is Kawaii in Japan? Let me quote the Lonely Planet: Marimo became endangered after being designated a national treasure. Suddenly everyone in Japan needed to have one.
Marimo souvenir Lake Akan Hokkaido Japan
Instead of buying a real, yet very endangered, Kawaii marimo it’s better to buy a fake, yet also very Kawaii, fluffy furry soft green souvenir.
Kawaii wig Japan
Need a colorful wig anyone? To achieve a more kawaii look?

Japanese jingles

Pretty much everything in Japan has its own jingle. Like the garbage truck.

Each subway station also has it’s own jingle so never a boring moment when riding the tube in Tokyo.

And of course the mania and earsplitting noise in the Japanese gaming halls…

General Japanese quirkiness

I couldn’t resist adding a few more quirky things to this list.

Gloves Japan bicycle
Because of course you want to keep your hands warm when riding a bike! I desperately want this for my own bike in the Netherlands. I’m always freezing during the cold winter months.
Japanese car in Tokyo
I can’t help but laugh about some Japanese cars. So. Ugly.
Chain holder subway station Tokyo Japan
And how about this extremely considerate chain holder.

Did you know Japan is the country with the highest proportion of elderly citizens in the world?

Awesome Japan…

We have come to the end of my collection of funny, quirky and strange things in Japan, I hope it made you laugh. If you spend some time on Google there are plenty more funny things to find. But if I may advise you: just go to Japan!

Because Japan is fun, fantastic and absolutely fabulous!

I came across some things in Japan that were different, unusual & sometimes downright weird. Like spacy toilets, happy jingles, an ice cream robot and more. Check out the post on Phenomenal Globe travel blog to read about more funny things in Japan.I came across some things in Japan that were different, unusual & sometimes downright weird. Like spacy toilets, happy jingles, an ice cream robot and more. Check out the post on Phenomenal Globe travel blog to read about more funny things in Japan.

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  1. Joseph
    August 15, 2016 / 11:13 am

    There are so many things to notice around, all the signs!
    Specially those of how to behave in public areas and how to use a toilet, after the increase of mass tourism (chinese) in recent years.

    • Lotte
      August 15, 2016 / 1:20 pm

      Signs everywhere and while they are absolutely useful, they can also be very funny;-)

  2. Saravana
    August 20, 2016 / 7:54 pm

    I really enjoyed all the photographs here. I was surprised to see the basil seed drink photograph here. The Japanese like it? You know what, basil drink is very good for health!!!

    • Lotte
      August 24, 2016 / 11:41 am

      Glad you like the pictures! I haven’t tried the basil drink, maybe next time (now that I know it’s good for my health I am a little more inclined to try it;-)

  3. September 7, 2016 / 4:47 pm

    Hi Lotte,

    So much fun!

    I’ve only seen the airport in Osaka – cleanest bathrooms I’ve ever seen – but my wife lived in Hiroshima for about a year. Legendary stuff she saw, from the orderliness but wacky, zany and strange things observed.

    From our Western perspective this stuff makes us laugh and in truth, marvel too, when you realize the thought and planning that goes into the final product.


    Thanks so much for sharing 🙂


    • Lotte
      September 8, 2016 / 8:13 am

      Thanks so much for your thoughtful comment Ryan! Japan has a marvelous society indeed:-)

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