6 Wacky Tourist Attractions in Japan

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First-class food, a vibrant culture, rich heritage and natural wonders collide in this amazing country to make it well worth a visit. There’s no shortage of budget-friendly attractions in the form of zen gardens, and historic temples and shrines. Beyond that, here are a few uniquely Japanese experiences not to be missed:


Bathing at an onsen (hot spring) or sento (public bath) is a tradition, and one that comes with its own set of rules. Be sure to scrub yourself down before getting into the bath – there’s a wash area where you can rinse off thoroughly. The baths are separated by gender, and intended for soaking in without contamination. They may come in varying temperatures, and some bathhouses have an outdoor bath as well.

Wacky Tourist Attractions in Japan: Japan onsen
Photo by bittegitte

Tsukiji Fish Market

Staying in Tokyo? Get up at dawn in order to see the world’s largest fish market in action. And be sure to sample some sushi for breakfast.

Wacky Tourist Attractions in Japan: Tokyo fish market
Photo by Takeshi Igarashi

Cosplay Restaurants

Themed cafes and restaurants have popped up around Japan, where staff dress up in colourful costumes and treat customers as revered masters or mistresses, as if they were in their own home. Originating in Akihabara, Tokyo, the maid theme is the most common, but there are others, including school-themed cafes.

Wacky Tourist Attractions in Japan: Meido Cafe Girl. Photo by Tetsumo
Photo by Tetsumo
Wacky Tourist Attractions in Japan: Maid Café promotion in Akihabara. Photo by Guilhem Vellut
Photo by Guilhem Vellut
Wacky Tourist Attractions in Japan: cosplay cafes
Photo by Lisa Joy

Ghibli Museum

There’s nothing quite like this Tokyo anime museum, whose motto is “let’s lose our way together”. Colourful, playful and zany, it’s a real-life Alice in Wonderland adventure devoted to the works of animation company Studio Ghibli, tucked away in a suburban park.

Wacky Tourist Attractions in Japan: Ghibli Museum
Photo by Su May

Cat Island

On the island of Tashirojima, felines outnumber the human resident population. Cats – originally used to keep the mouse population in check, as the locals raised silkworms and mice were a threat to the worms) – have the free run of the island; there’s a cat shrine and even manga cat-shaped buildings.

Wacky Tourist Attractions in Japan: Tashirojima Cat Island
Photo by sonotoki

Ramen Museums

Two for the true ramen aficionados out there. The Momofuku Ando Instant Ramen Museum in Osaka is dedicated to the Cup Noodle empire, a brand of instant ramen noodles that’s been around for decades. Noodle buffs can make their own custom cup of noodles here, too. Over in Yokohama, the Shin-Yokohama Ramen Museum features a recreation of mid-century Tokyo (that’s when ramen started to become popular) along with mini branches of famous ramen restaurants, featuring dishes from various regions around the country.

Wacky Tourist Attractions in Japan: Momofuku Ando Instant Ramen Museum. Photo by Travis Sanders
Photo by Travis Sanders
Wacky Tourist Attractions in Japan: Momofuku Ando Instant Ramen Museum. Photo by chee.hong
Photo by chee.hong

Featured image of the Momofuku Ando Instant Ramen Museum by chee.hong

6 Wacky Tourist Attractions in Japan was last modified: April 27th, 2016 by Esther Goh
Author: Esther Goh (56 posts)

Writer and digital specialist hooked on travel and food. Calls Auckland home but desperately misses Mexican and Italian cuisine. Esther blogs at NZ Muse.