130 Pics That Prove Japan Is Unlike Any Other Country (New Pics)

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Often, when we see a particularly innovative or cute design, our brains jump to ‘Japan.’ The East Asian nation has a well-deserved reputation for clever designs and blending the traditional and modern. 

Scroll down and enjoy this peak into some of the most unique ways that Japan does things. Visitors tend to come away with stories of technological wonders and adorable devices. Check out the neatest ideas you can find in Japan and be sure to upvote your favorites and let us know which you would love to see in your country. 

We had the opportunity to speak to two seasoned travelers about Japan and ask some questions regarding travel tips and Japanese culture.

If you enjoy learning more about the 'Land of Rising Sun,’ be sure to check out Bored Panda’s other articles in this series here, here and here!

#1 There Was A Sales Car Of KFC Without Any Salesman

Image credits: shanghaineko

#2 People In Japan Lined Up With Social Distance To Use The Smoking Room In The Office Building Where I Work In

Image credits: conradbilly

#3 This Beautiful Statue In Sendai, Japan

Image credits: ko_ref

Shannon O'Donnell from the travel blog A Little Adrift was kind enough to talk to us about visiting Japan. “Japan is among the most fascinating countries travelers could visit—it's a thoroughly modern country with a culture completely dissimilar to much of the West. You don't find that combination in many other countries. For this reason, I think it's a fantastic spot for adventurous first-time travelers, but tricky for most who don't have their "travel legs," so to speak. You're facing potential culture shock—Tokyo is a bustling, fascinating city that never stops moving, and some pretty strong written and spoken language barriers—English-language penetration is low even in fairly touristy areas.”

“That said, the Japanese offer unparalleled hospitality, the extensive train system is a breeze to use, and travelers never lack for incredible food. So while there are clearly a number of countries in Europe and other areas that are easier for first-time travelers, those with a sense of adventure will find that Japan offers an unmatched travel experience. ” In fact, Shannon believed that the entire world could learn from Japan’s absolutely fantastic rail network, which she described as “fast, clean, and efficient.”

#4 Speaker Shrine In Japan That You Can Bluetooth Your Own Audio To

Image credits: TimmyWeahIsMyDad

#5 This Road Looks Like A Rollercoaster

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#6 This Kyoto Station Has 12 Floors Of Escalators

Image credits: Paganator

We also had the honor to interview the experts at Boutique Japan about visiting it as a first-time traveler. “Japanese people are so friendly and hospitable to visitors (and it's an extraordinarily safe country). There are so many other aspects of traveling around Japan that make it so traveler-friendly, for example, the fact that everything runs so smoothly and efficiently (bullet trains always being on time as just one example!)” 

#7 Rice Field Art In Japan

Image credits: kojiii_photo1201

#8 The Trains In Japan Have "Women Only" Space

Image credits: DEEP_SEA_MAX

#9 This Japanese Claw Machine Lets You Win A Cheesecake

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“I find that people in Japan tend to practice mindfulness in daily life, without being pretentious about it. There is a culture of respect in Japan that our travelers always comment on. Wherever you go (whether a fancy restaurant or a convenience store), the service is amazing because people tend to take such care in everything they do,” they added when we asked what the rest of the world could learn from Japan. 

#10 Chiba Urban Monorail In Japan

Image credits: yu6101_photo

#11 I Tried One Of The Best Capsule Hotels In Tokyo

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#12 This Robot Delivering Food At Gusto Near Seibu Chichibu Station

Image credits: Akki8888

‘Geography is destiny’ is a quote often attributed to Napoleon and it seems applicable to the history of Japan. Island nations are often more insular and the rulers of Japan took this to the extreme. Between the 16th and 19th century, the country was cordoned off to foreigners by law while Japanese people were prohibited from leaving. 

Even though Japan has been ‘open’ to the world for over a century, it remains a surprisingly homogenous nation. Nearly 99% of the population are ethnically Japanese. All in all, this created a culture in many ways unaffected by outside influence. And, as the pictures here might indicate, it really shows! 

#13 This Japanese Restaurant Has A Tiny Mountain Fuji In The Base Of Their Glasses

Image credits: ssladam

#14 I Spotted This Bus For Preschool Kids In Nagoya

Image credits: AndrewJamesMD

#15 A Bookstore In Matsumoto City

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Japanese design tends to follow a few core principles. Simplicity is actually seen as a great virtue, though this may seem strange when your server is a robot or when one travels by bullet train! This is best seen in certain elements of Japanese cuisine. Sushi traditionally emphasized the purity of the fish, which is ideally served as fresh as possible.

#16 The Women's Bathroom At My Nearby Mall In Japan

Image credits: Personwhoisfriendly

#17 An Umbrella Sky In Metsa Village, Japan

Image credits: wakaponpoco

#18 Japanese Government Sends Individuals Quarantining At Home, Free Care Packages. This Is How Much I Got

Image credits: FriedCheeseCurdz

What might strike some readers as unusual is the idea of ‘Fukinsei’ or asymmetry. The idea is to find balance between regular patterns and the unexpected. This is also an important concept in Zen philosophy, as imperfection is seen as a natural part of life to be embraced. Look around you. Many examples of natural beauty are actually quite asymmetrical.

#19 Pikachu-Themed Train In Japan

Image credits: jreast.co.jp

#20 A Fire Hydrant In Tokyo, Japan

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#21 I Went To Shinjuku And Saw The Coolest Advertisement Display

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#22 Japanese Hospital Food

People asked me to post pictures of the food I got during my hospital stay (6 days), so here it is. Only two months after the baby was born. Also, I completely lost my appetite while I was in the hospital and didn't manage to eat most of the food, which was very upsetting.

Image credits: JenkinsInJapan

#23 I Found This Locker Area In A Science Museum. Nagoya, Japan

Image credits: ArttuHenrikk

#24 This Bag Of Spider Snacks You Can Buy At The Supermarket In Tokyo

Image credits: Rayraegah

#25 Extra Train Seat In Japan

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#26 Flower Field In Hokkaido, Japan

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#27 Night Bus In Japan

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#28 Curved Escalator In Japan

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#29 Edo Era Starbucks

Image credits: Nomadic_Gaijin

#30 Sewer Cover In Osaka, Japan

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#31 This Phone Booth In Osaka

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#32 Starbucks In Kyoto, Japan

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#33 This Pizza Place In Japan Has Been Counting Pizzas For 60 Years

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#34 These Dots On My Beer Can. In Braille, It Says Alcohol

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#35 I Love The Customized Manhole Covers In Japan. They Have It In Each Locality Around

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#36 Costco In Japan Has A Sushi Section

Image credits: SDBJJ

#37 The Elevator In This Japanese Apartment Has A Container With Food, Water, And A Portable Toilet In Case Of Malfunction

Image credits: frenchhorn_empire

#38 A Chopstick Store In Kappabashi Street, Tokyo

Image credits: DazzleMeAlready

#39 In Japan, There's A Privacy Button That Plays Sound In The Background Of The Toilet So That No One Would Hear Your Business

Image credits: Natsumi_xy

#40 Landscape-Friendly Vending Machine

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#41 3D Coffee Art

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#42 City Lights Of Nagano Seen Through The Thick Fog At Night

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#43 I Climbed Mountain Fuji Yesterday, And Someone Ordered Domino's Pizza

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#44 Some Grocery Carts In Japan Are Designed To Stack Everything Vertically, And To Cut Down On Aisle Congestion

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#45 A Honey Dispenser At A Hotel In Japan

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#46 This Fake Food Shop In Kapabashi Street, Tokyo

Image credits: DazzleMeAlready

#47 Only Japan Airports Arrange Luggages By Color

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#48 Today I Lived Out One Of My Dreams And Drove Around Tokyo As A Mario Kart Character In A Go Kart

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#49 These Fruit-Shaped Bus Stops

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#50 Today I Came Across Some Honey, Infused With Japanese Hornets

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#51 Japanese Washing Machines Comes With Suction Devices To Reuse Bath Water

A general practice within Asian cultures is that baths are not used for cleaning yourself but just for soaking. It saves you time and money.

Image credits: SantyClawz42

#52 Compressed Japanese T-Shirt

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#53 In Japan, There Are Eggs Benedict-Flavored Pringles

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#54 A U-Shaped Road That Jumps Out Into The Sea

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#55 Japanese Grocery Store. Healthy Packaged Meals For As Low As $2.30

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#56 This Is One Photo Of A Camping Store, "Upi Omotesando" In Tokyo

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#57 Table For One At A Japanese Restaurant

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#58 Raw Horse Meat-Flavored Potato Chips In Japan

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#59 Shopping Mall Food Court In Japan Offers Napkins To Wipe Tables. After Cleaning, Everyone Unfolds Their Used Napkins And Stacks Them Neatly

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#60 This Toilet Refills With Water For Flushing As You Wash Your Hands

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#61 The "Toy Story" Woody Transformer, Seen In Tokyo Disney Sea Park

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#62 This Building In Tokyo With Plants Growing On The Walls

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#63 Hotel In Tokyo Has A Free Smartphone To Use While Being There

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#64 To Boost The Economy, Japan Gives Out Free Money Coupons To Use In Local Supermarkets And Restaurants If You Are In-Country Traveling

Image credits: ScarletWitchfanboy__

#65 The Japanese Government Sends A Care Package If You Have Covid. This Is For A Family Of 2 In Tokyo

Image credits: TheGreatMattsby

#66 A School In Japan Came Out With New Uniforms For Students Who Liked Neither Skirts Nor Pants

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#67 Taking Historic Architecture Into Account When Adding Vending Machines

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#68 Whale Meat In Japan. Now They Even Sell Whale Meat In Vending Machines

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#69 Traditional Wedding Ceremony In Tokyo, Japan

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#70 If You Have A Cup Of Noodles In Japan, You'll Get Cats On The Inside Of The Lids. However, At A 6% Chance, You'll Get A Tibetan Fox. Middle Right

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#71 The Zauo Fishing Restaurant In Japan, Where Customers Can Catch Their Own Fish And It Also Has Seating Areas Shaped Like Boats

Image credits: zauojapan

#72 A Train With Children's Seats And A Cafe

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#73 Whale Meat In Japan. It Shocks So Many Foreigners

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#74 I Saw This Awesome Sewer Cover While Walking In Tokyo

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#75 The Beer-Flavored Water In Japan

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#76 Gum In Japan Comes With Little Sheets Of Paper To Wrap Around And Throw It Away Cleanly

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#77 My Human Dad Waiting Next To A LEGO Dad In A Department Store In Japan

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#78 My Favorite Shop Sign In Kyoto

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#79 Japanese Hotel Gives You A Phone To Travel With Just In Case You Don't Have Access To Yours

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#80 I Never Thought The Time Would Come When I Would Give A Presentation In The Train Station. This Is How It Looks Like Inside

Image credits: ONODA_in_Onodac

#81 The Playground In Shizuoka Park

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#82 The Butter In Japan Is Pre-Sliced

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#83 This Decorated Japanese Train

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#84 Gundam Factory In Yokohama

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#85 Pavilion Tokyo 2021. An Interesting Tea House In The Middle Of The City

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#86 A Building Called "The Face House" In Kyoto, Japan

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#87 The Godzilla Surprised Me When I Turned Around The Corner

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#88 So Amazing To See Diver City With A Gundam Statue

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#89 Probably The Most Beautiful Hotel I Have Ever Been Too. Aizu Ashinomaki Onsen, Okawaso, Fukushima

Image credits: DaeronOP

#90 This Automated Car Delivering Groceries

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#91 Mini Japanese Garden Between Seats On A Train To Kyoto

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#92 Japanese Grocery Stores Sells Pre-Poured Wine Glasses

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#93 Japanese Men Reading Manga At 7-Eleven During Their Lunch Break

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#94 This Torii Gate Looks Like It's Out Of A Video Game, But It's Real And Awesome To Check Out At Night

Image credits: Nomadic_Gaijin

#95 Ah Yes, I'll Have A Cup Of Ramen With My Whiskey

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#96 These Sausages From Costco Japan Comes With Bones

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#97 Fourth Floor Escape Hoist In The Hotel's Laundry Room

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#98 These Are Refrigerated Lockers To Store Your Groceries. Saw This At The Airport In Hokkaido, Japan

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#99 Shopping Carts In Japan Have An Umbrella And Cane Holder

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#100 A Bloom Of Jellyfishes On The Beach Near My Home In Southern Japan

Image credits: Japesthetank

#101 This Hook-Shaped Restroom Door Handle So You Wouldn't Need To Use Your Hands

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#102 This Bakery In Japan Puts Their Leftover Bread In A Vending Machine To Sell After Hours

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#103 Train Station In My Town Has A Line For Visually Impaired People

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#104 This Priest Is Blessing A Land In Tokyo Before A Couple Breaks Ground For Their New House

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#105 This Packaged Egg In Tokyo

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#106 Train Seats In Osaka Have This Pattern To Remind You To Offer Your Seat To The People That Need It More

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#107 This Bench In Yokohama Is Slanted Inward, Which Causes The Users To Awkwardly Slide To The Middle

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#108 I Found This At My Host Family's House In Japan

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#109 School Lunch In Japan. The Christmas Edition

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#110 This Is How The Train With Nobinobi Open-Plan Sleeping Area Looks Like

Image credits: ShirakawaGo

#111 Universal Studios In Japan Sells Shark Meat Nuggets

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#112 Public Facilities In Japan Have An Umbrella Rack At The Entrance

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#113 In Japan, Almost Every Bookstore Gives Book Covers So That No One Will Know What You Are Reading On The Bus

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#114 Some Subways In Japan Have Ramps For Bikes To Help While Climbing The Stairs

Image credits: PidgeonSmidgeon

#115 Japanese People Love Curry So Much That You Can Stumble Upon A "Bookstore" And Then Realize That The Books On The Shelves Are Not Books, But All Kinds Of Curry

Image credits: ferdalangurinn

#116 Reduced Tax Rate At Movie Theaters In Japan. You Can't Eat Snacks Before Entering The Theater, But You Can Eat During The Movie

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#117 These White Strawberries In Japan

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#118 Some Little Buddhist Figures Called "Jizo" Are Especially Popular In Japan

The Jizo statue is the guardian of children who died before their parents. The Children can't cross the river to the afterlife because they haven't done enough good deeds and made their parents suffer. That's why they spent their days making towers of stones to help gain merit for their parents in their afterlife.

Image credits: Yuurei_27

#119 Meat Vending Machine In Kyoto

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#120 A Bottle Of Soup Stock With A Fish Inside In Osu, Nagoya

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#121 The Ichigaya Fish Center In Tokyo

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#122 A Cat-Themed Train With Onboard Library In Japan

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#123 Japanese Bartender Breaking Apart 10,000-Year-Old Block Of Permafrost Ice From Antarctica

Image credits: Nukemarine

#124 This Japanese Bakery Makes Cakes That Look Like Beer Or Cocktails

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#125 Kusatsu Onsen. Ubatake Hot Springs Cooling Outlet

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#126 Oedo Onsen Tokyo's Hot Spring-Themed Park Will Be Closing Soon, So I Made Sure To Stop By Yesterday. Very Cool Place

Image credits: Nomadic_Gaijin

#127 I Love The Food Displays In Japan

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#128 This Sriracha Vending Machine I Stumbled Upon In Japan

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#129 Japan's Advanced Pillow Technology

The light side of the pillow is softer, and the darker side is firmer. Also, the pillow could be rolled or flattened depending on how the person likes to sleep.

Image credits: reddit.com

#130 Japan Has A Star Wars-Themed Plane

Image credits: SDBJJ

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