With its mix of ancient traditions and modern life, Japan is many things. Of those things, quirky tops the list. Surprised? Japan did bring us a musical toilet complete with a seat warmer. If you’re looking for something beyond a warm backside, check out these very Japanese things to do in Japan.
Massage a Cow
Kobe beef is famous the world over for its marbled texture and rich taste. How is this beautiful texture achieved? Urban legend would have you believe that the cows enjoy a life of luxury that includes sake massages and a diet of beer, all while listing to classical music. In reality, to achieve Kobe beef status, a Japanese cow must pass a lengthy checklist. First and foremost, it must be from the Hyōgo prefecture, and it must eat only grass and grains from that area.
Although you could try to massage a Kobe cow yourself, you’ll have a better time sampling the end product. Be prepared for the check, though, since a dinner out can cost you thousands of yen. If you want to sample a comparable product at a fraction of the price, consider trying Matsuzakagyu beef instead.
If you do splurge on a feast in Kobe, consider staying in the city. The ANA Crowne Plaza in downtown Kobe is the perfect place to sleep off the meat sweats.
Take in a Light Show
Japan loves a good pedestrian street. From small towns to major centres, you’ll find pedestrian-only streets lined with shops, arcades, and restaurants. Osaka’s Shinsaibashi Shopping Arcade is one of the finest, with its bright lights and iconic billboards. Most famous of these billboards is the Glico Man Sign, a simple ad depicting a runner celebrating a win. The real win is the fact that this sign has lit up the area for over 70 years. Tourists and locals flock to this walkway to flash a peace sign and snap a picture in front of this famous image.
If you want to experience their vibrant and unique nightlife, don’t miss visiting the best districts for clubbing in Tokyo. You can watch a traditional Japanese cabaret show featuring authentic Japanese dance, music, and comedy. Nightly pop and rock music gigs are also available. Whether you want a small, exclusive club or a massive club with multiple rooms and stages, the city has all types of clubs ready to welcome you.
Eat a Pancake on a Stick
Osaka is also known for its incredible street food. The most notorious is hashimaki, which is really okonomiyaki on a stick. This savoury pancake is full of Japanese ingredients such as dried seaweed, dried bonito flakes, pork belly, and tempura bits, or tenkasu. Street vendors roll it up on a pair of chopsticks so you can enjoy it on the go. Interested in recreating this local dish for yourself? Check out Eat Osaka, a fun culinary school that teaches its guests the secrets behind Osaka’s street food.
Outsiders might not think that Japan and whisky go together. As it turns out, Japan loves the brown stuff so much that it’s the world’s third-largest producer and fourth-largest consumer of whisky. It should come as no surprise that there are plenty of great distilleries and bars where you can sample local whisky for yourself.
It should be noted, the fun in Japan doesn’t stop at whisky. There are plenty of unique bars and activities to keep you out late. From clubbing in Tokyo to bar-hopping food tours in Kyoto, there is no shortage of fun things to do in Japan.
Last up on this list of unique things to do in Japan is all about America’s pastime.
If whisky is a very Japanese thing to do in Japan, then how about baseball? Japan’s love of the game runs at feverish levels, with game experiences that rival a South American football match. Crowds chant, fans perform their very own choreographed routines, and the on-field product is world-class. While in Tokyo, check out a Giants game at the Tokyo Dome, in Osaka take in a Tigers game, or head to Hiroshima to experience the Carp’s pink balloon tossing during the seventh inning.
From unique food to seemingly out-of-place things to see and do, Japan has plenty of fun activities for you to experience. On your next trip, don’t miss your chance to do any of these very Japanese things in Japan.
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