30 Amazing Things About Japan That Blow My Mind As A First-Time Tourist

At first, all you might think about Japan is the charming cherry blossom and the magnificent mount Fuji. But certainly, Japan is so much more than that. It is truly a country with unique and interesting cultures that fascinate the world. There are so much to explore about Japanese custom and culture. To experience that to the fullest, you must spend at least several weeks in Japan and spending times with the locals. Thankfully, our friend Azzyatiliah is willing to share her experience on these interesting facts she found while visiting Japan! Curious enough to know the list? Keep calm and read them below!

1. Japanese Hi-tech toilets

Japan’s toilets are really high-tech! The toilet seats are equipped with a heater, something that is really satisfying during the cold seasons as it gets warm when you sits on it. The bidet for women has two different buttons, the front and the back (a bit special, right?) It even has a dryer button to be used after washing! *mesmerised*And if you want some privacy, you can press the privacy button that will produce a water flowing sound to cover whatever you are doing in there (LOL!)  And the most mind blowing fact is about the tissue. It is specially designed to be flushed in the toilet bowl, so we don’t have to throw it to the bin #JustWOW

Here’s how to use the high-tech toilet via Japanese Journey on Youtube

2. How does the Japanese keep everything so impeccably clean?

Japan is, without doubt, a very clean country. The drains on the roadside are so clean that the wild Koi fish could comfortably swim in it. Even the water reservoirs are clean! I realized that Japanese really practice one of our Islam practice where “Cleanliness is a Part of Your Faith”. They are not doing it because of the expensive fine that you will get if you are littering (because you will never find such warning signs about the fine). They are doing it because the Japanese education emphasizes discipline since the very young age about the importance of cleanliness. MashaAllah, Subhanallah.. Can we ever be like them in terms of cleanliness?

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Wild koi fish at the drain via Azyyatiliah’s personal collection

3. It’s difficult to find public trash bin in Japan

Hard to find a trash bin in Japan? Yup, we’ve been there. It’s very hard to find a trash bin other than in the airport, train stations, and subway. So we used to keep our trash in our bag while in Japan till we find a trash bin. If you are planning to go to Japan, it’s good to spare a plastic bag for your trash in your backpack.

4. Even the trash bins are clean

You read that right! It is so clean that we even ate instant noodles and drank coffee on top of a trash bin during a very cool night in Disneysea. The windy night at Disneysea was so cold, we could not handle it (Disneysea is located exactly by the sea). So we sought shelter at the edge of a wall with trash bins around it. The trash bins are superbly so clean and hygiene! MashaAllah!

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Trash bin classifications via useful-tips-japan

5. Clean up our own plates after dining in

We experienced this when we ate at food courts in Takeshita Dori, Disneysea, Universal Studio Japan and Kansai Airport. This habit of cleaning up our own tablewares really opened up our mind. Since our trip to Japan, we are training ourself to always tidy up our own table once we finished eating at restaurants like KFC, MCD, Ikea and etc. We don’t want to left the table cluttered.It’s good to teach our kids to do this since they are young. Let’s have some mercy on the cleaners even though it’s their job. InshaAllah, when we help out others, others will help us out too one day.

6. Clean up the room before checking out

If you are planning to stay in a Homestay, we have to learn ourselves first on how to separate the garbages. It’s actually our first time to tidy up the room ourselves before checking out 🙂 We placed the used bed sheet in provided basket, folded the blankets nicely, separate the garbage following its classification and throw them in the huge bin provided. We even got a review from our host saying “Room is very clean” *yay* When we travel, we are as if the little ambassador of our country, so don’t bring shame to your country kay!

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Look at how clean their sink is via Azyyatiliah’s personal collection

7. The small and shared open bathroom

Most of the toilets in Japanese house are very small as if it was specially designed to be as tiny as possible to save space. The toilets are usually separated from the shower room(which can only fit 1 person, lol) Once we even got a 3 x 3 feet toilet in one of our homestays! If you are a big size then Japanese toilets might not be a comfortable place for you ^^; One more worthy mention fact is that most of the bathrooms in the Japanese hotels are shared open bathrooms. So be prepared to share a bathroom with other guests in the hotel. If you are not comfortable with this, make sure to check what kind of toilet and bathroom the hotel provides before making any reservation!

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Shared bathroom in Japan via JNTO

8. Open your shoes inside the house

This culture might be similar to our country, but every homestay provides an indoor slipper (like hotel slipper) for their guests. Do remember not to wear your indoor slipper when you seat at Tatami (Japanese mat) though as it is considered unpolite.

indor-slippers

Outdoor and indoor slippers via Wikipedia

9. The busy and complicated train lines

Trains main transportation mode in Japan, so be prepared with its super-duper complexity. They have hundreds of train lines so good luck riding one 😛 The peak hours for trains and subways in Japan are around 7-9am. So it is best to avoid taking the trains during this hours especially the busiest station in Tokyo, Shinjuku. Cause or else you will experience being cramped like a tinned sardine in the train like the video below. We’ve experienced it :0

Train in Tokyo during peak hour via The Fat Finger on Youtube

10. Restaurant in Japan provides wet towel(oshibori) to wipe your hand

We got this information when we had dinner with our friend in Bintang Bali, Okubo Shinjuku. We realized that every restaurant in Japan provided a wet and cold towel (during spring). It is called Oshibori and are only to be used for your hands so don’t wipe your face with it!

oshibori

Oshibori towel via jpninfo

11. Warning to all smokers out there!

If you are active smokers, make sure to only smoke in the smoking area that is provided in public areas. You can’t walk around in public spaces while smoking or else you would be fined by the authority!

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Smoking area in Japan via Japantimes

12. Japanese are very helpful to the tourists

If you look like a lost puppy, looking at your phone to try finding a way, the chance for a random local approaching you offering some help is high. Yup! We have experienced this multiple times. They just suddenly popped up in front of us when we really are in need of help.

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Locals are very helpful to the tourists via Azyyatiliah’s personal collection

13. There are more bicycles than cars in Japan

During our trip from Tokyo to Osaka, we noticed that there were more bicycle parks than car parks in Japan. They even have an underground hi-tech bicycle parking system:o Just remember that you have to pay for the parking! Our friend told us that every bicycle must be registered in the police station and should have a unique plate number like a car. He also said that you can still survive and travel around Japan without a car, but surviving Japan without a bike is impossible.

Underground bicycle parking system via Danny Cho on Youtube

14. All drivers of transportation hub wear smart uniform suit

From Shinkansen, local trains, bus, and even taxi drivers, they all wear a smart uniform suit with tie and hat just like the pilots. We repeat, even the bus and taxi drivers do this! The Shinkansen driver even brought a black briefcase!

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The smart attire uniform via Azyyatiliah’s personal collection

15. Tax exemption for tourists

If you are shopping in Japan, don’t be shocked if the price that you pay is not the same as the displayed price in the racks. The displayed price in the racks in 7 Eleven, Family Mart, Lawson and all convenience stores does not include the 8% tax yet. However, as a tourist, you should shop at stores that have a TAX-FREE label.You just need to show your passport at the counter (they will attach the receipt in the passport) for a tax exemption! However, you must spend at least 5,000 yen to get this tax exemption (might differ depending on stores). There are also stores that accommodate tax-free scheme for stuff that won’t be used while in Japan like cosmetics, skin care, strawberry, etc, in which they will seal the products tightly after you purchased it!

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Tax free shop in Akihabara via passportchop

16. There are just too many drugstores in Japan

These drug store (of course) are not selling illegal drugs! But they sell cosmetics, skincare and etc. If you are looking for Sk-11, Kose, Shiseido and other cosmetic brands. You can easily find one on every corner of the streets as there are just endless numbers of drug stores in Japan!

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There are too many drugstores via Azyyatiliah’s personal collection

17. A security guard on every construction sites

If you happen to encounter a building construction in Japan, you will find a security guard to keep the safety of people who pass by the construction sites. We saw them during our journey in Osaka and Kobe. They wore a very tidy and clean uniform. The 5S (seiri, seiton, seiso, seiketsu, and shitsuke) safety concept can be seen clearly implemented on each of the construction sites. What more interesting was the security guards are all l

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Security on every construction sites via Yahoo

18. Wrapper for your wet umbrella

During winter, some restaurants and shop provide a plastic wrapper for your umbrella to prevent drips from wet umbrella.

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Umbrella wrapper via Aliexpress

19. Japanese kids are unbelievably independent

It is very common for children above 7 years old to go back home from school without adults supervisions! They seem to be so smart and matured enough to take care of themselves.For the cute kids below 7 years old, they are picked up by their mothers on subways and trains 😀

 

20. Every school kids have the same school bag

And do you realize that these kids’ school bags are all the same? According to our friend, it has to be the same. (this is so that to teach the kids that everyone is the same regardless of status and money). To avoid mixing up with other kid’s bag, each kid will put their name tag on their bag. In fact, all parents have to put a name tag on every single thing that their kids bring to school. From school jacket, bag, handkerchief, shoes, etc.

Japanese schoolchildren

Japanese kids having the exactly same school bag via The Guardian

21. Japanese education focuses more on attitude

Pre-school children only bring bentou, toothbrush and 2 pieces of handkerchiefs to be put inside the classroom and outside the toilet. All books are kept safely at school because every kid has their own locker. While for elementary school, most of their activities are outdoor activities like gardening, playing music, swimming, cleaning classrooms, etc. Academic books are used rarely as they stand on “Attitude before academic” on the early age of education.

Japanese Students Clean Classrooms To Learn Life Skills via AJ+

22. You can find a money changer machine inside busses and locker machine

You can insert a 1,000 yen note and the machine will give you 10 pieces of 100 yen coins. Then you can conveniently pay the bus ticket with your 100 yen coins. However, the maximum amount you can exchange at this machine is only 1,000 yen. It is important to prepare small money to pay for the bus fare because all money goes to the machine, the driver does not have small change. Same goes for locker machine, they only accept 100 yen coins but they do provide the money changer machine nearby 🙂

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Money changer machine via Azyyatiliah’s personal collection

23. Trains in Japan can be really quiet

You will realize how silent the inside of Japanese train is when you ride it yourself. There is not even a ‘bip’ of the ringtone from the passengers’ phone. Instead of making noise, the Japanese can be seen reading books and newspapers on the train. There are several train etiquettes we must follow, among them is to set our phone to silent mode like in the hospital/bank. If you visit Japan with your friends or family, do not chat so loudly that the whole train can hear you. Because everyone in the train can probably hear you and you might be viral for that which is not something to be proud of!

24. Land of vending machines

You will find quite a lot of vending machines all over Japan! Not only you can find drinks vending machines, but you can find many kinds of vending machines including those selling crepe, ice cream, noodles, fishing bait, book, batteries, eggs, umbrella, sushi, and the list goes on😂 The best experience was when we got to order a Halal food using vending ticket machine in Osaka!

vending-machine

Vending machine in Japan via Azyyatiliah’s personal collection

25. Age is definitely just a number in Japan

A lot of old people at retirement age are still working in Japan. Maybe cause they feel lonely and has nothing to do. So this is why you will easily find old people working as construction sites security guard, lecturer, and other occupations. When we were in Kyoto, we were in a bus full of old people with white hair (women) or wearing caps (men). They are still quite healthy to walk around going here and there.I wondered where do all of them want to go to as we and other tourist are the fews that left in the bus after their stop (lol)

Elderly people workout with wooden dumb-bells at the grounds of a temple in Tokyo 20 September 2004, to celebrate Japan's Respect-for-the-Aged-Day.

Elderly Japanese people work out via Seasia

26. Japanese like to bring their dog in a stroller!

We didn’t found any wild dogs while walking through roads in Japan. But we did find pet dogs along the way. They are small to medium size dogs like Paris Hilton’s dog with a fluffy fur like a teddy bear and some even wear cutesy clothes! Don’t be surprised, Japanese like to put their dogs in a stroller to bring them for a walk in the park! Something that you would only see in the movie but too cute in real life!

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Dog strollers in Japan via bakajaanesegaijin

27. The beautiful and colorful pattern of Japan’s manhole cover

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Japan’s artistic manhole cover via Azyyatiliah’s personal collection

28. That feeling when you found a Muslim friendly (food) section in LAOX department store!

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We can find Halal snacks at LAOX department store via Azyyatiliah’s personal collection

29. Drink coffee with your face on it!

In Japan, you can drink coffee with your face on it! So cool right? They really think of everything! No wonder we are encouraged to learn from the Japanese.

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Wonderful, huh? That’s just how advanced Japan is! via Azyyatiliah’s personal collection

30.  Louis Vuitton are been sold in bundles

During our trip we found LV a.k.a Louis Vuitton bags are sold in bundles in front of a shop. OMG! Unlike other places, we can say these bags are originals and not fakes. They are second-hand (preloved) bags that are sold at a way way cheaper price, so don’t forget to check it out!

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These are original bags, not counterfeit products, but usually are preloved! via Azyyatiliah’s personal collection

Congratulations for reading till the end!We know just how much you want to visit Japan and discover more unique and interesting facts yourself. If finding Halal foods is the only thing that stops you from that awesome holiday to Japan, you should wipe away your worry! Because you can easily find one in Halal Navi apps. Halal Navi has more than 800 restaurants Halal/Muslim-Friendly restaurants in Japan, listed. You will definitely find a delicious one that suits your preferences! And not only that, you can also find mosques, Halal stores, and Muslim friendly accommodation. So hurry up and book your flight ticket now!

*This post was originally published at Azyyatiliah Blog and was given permission to be translated and edited by Halal Navi

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