Get lost in these 10 weird places found only in Japan
The world has always had an obsession with the strangeness of Japan - a country that seems to be living a couple of decades into the future.
As you land in the cities, you are bombarded by cutesy cartoons that can tell you anything from what's on a menu to safety instructions for a subway.
If you can think of a theme, there probably exists a café to match it, and the technological prowess of one of the most advanced countries in the world has resulted in some interesting applications that only the Japanese can think of.
But the strangeness isn't limited to its neon cities - there are forests where death abounds, islands filled with more cats than humans and fantastical creations that create surreal landscapes.
Here's a look at some of the real weird places to add to any Japanese itinerary.
Cafés 'from a different universe'
It's hard to pinpoint which café is a must-visit in Japan, just because there's so many. From animals to fictional characters to even dildos, there's a theme for everything. The best way to select ones to visit, is to make a short list of things you like and what cafés link up with similar themes.
Maid cafés, however, is a truly bizarre experience, where women serve you dressed in doll-like maid costumes, making for a weird mix of creepy and cute.
Finding some time alone at a Love Hotel
Japan is a crowded place, and its living quarters are no different. Some people just want some time alone with their partners, and to fill this need short-stay love hotels started popping up.
Mostly found in cities, they are extravagantly designed to increase the romance factor, and some even cater to certain sexual fantasies like a doctor's room, office or whatever your dirty heart desires.
A creepy abandoned German-themed amusement park
If you're into urban exploration, the Gluck Kingdom is a strange sight to see in Hokkaido - a German medieval castle peeking out amongst a forest that's reclaiming it after being abandoned more than ten years ago.
The museum of the future
In Tokyo you'll find the Miraikan - Museum of Emerging Science and Innovation - and is definitely the spot to see real-life robots in action - like the soccer-playing Asimo, a news-reading animatron and an android that you can control with your voice and face.
The rest of the attractions include exploring space, innovations for our future society and you can even express your own opinions on what the future might look like through their interactive exhibits.
A forest with a dark reputation
Aokigahara has garnered quite a grim reputation despite its beautiful scenery. On the northwestern slopes of Mount Fuji, this forest has attracted many people seeking to end their lives, and it can sometimes take years for a body to be discovered, creating a spooky atmosphere in the forest.
When visiting this forest, stay on the paths as you can get fatally lost, please be aware of the sensitivities around the area, and not to post videos if you do happen to come across something unfortunate, unlike a certain YouTube star.
Dance with robots in Kabukicho
The Robot Restaurant is where you go for an insane robot show coupled with your meal. While the robots are less AI and more people dressed up in robot suits, it's still quite a spectacle that really epitomises the weird futuristic culture that's prevalent in Japan.
You should check their website to see what times their show starts and to make a booking, and take note that it's situated in Tokyo's red-light district.
Make some feline friends on a cat island
In Japan's Ehime Prefecture you'll find Aoshima - an island dominated by cats. They outnumber humans ten to one, originally brought to the fishing community to deal with the rodent issue, but instead multiplied and are now sustained by scraps given to them by locals and tourists.
The perfect place for cat people to visit - dog lovers not as much.
You might stumble upon your destiny at this park
At Yoro Park in Gifu, dramatic structures and buildings create a surreal landscape that looks like you just stepped into a post-modern artwork. Also called the Site of Reversible Destiny, its attractions have abstract names like Critical Resemblance House, Elliptical Field and the Reversible Destiny Office.
It's advised to take a guided tour through the park, as guides know where to get the best and most unique perspectives of the attractions.
“Expect the unexpected” is what you will be told while entering to Yoro Park in #Yoro, Japan. Well it wouldn’t fair to just call it a park, because it is more like an open-air #exhibition which you are encouraged to explore. ????Site of Reversible Destiny Yoro Park, JAPAN pic.twitter.com/x6s4tCJc8X— RouteWhisperer (@RouteWhisperer) May 9, 2018
Take a dip in some wine, coffee or even a chocolate bath
While Japan is famous for its bathhouses, Yunessun in Hakone went decided to be extra by offering baths in coffee and wine, both claimed to have rejuvenating properties.
Even if you find those baths a little bit wack, their more traditional hot spring and bath options have stunning views of forests and mountains, as well as fun water activities.
If you were ever interested in how ramen was invented, go here
One of Japan's biggest exports is the ramen noodle, and if you've ever felt the need to know more about its history, check out the Shin-Yokohama Ramen Museum. It consists of a traditional museum section, but then you'll be transported back to Tokyo in 1958 - the year the instant noodle was invented - at their thematic food court.
Remember to bring some back for your friends and family.
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