12 Crazy Things You Can Only Find in Japan

If you spot blue traffic lights and sweet potato Kit Kats, you’re in Japan.

1 / 12
Pink construction barriers in JapanPhoto: Hachi888/Shutterstock

1. Cutesy Construction Barriers

Construction can be unpleasant to look at, so might as well make it a little cuter. The unsightly orange and black striped barriers you’d find in Canada might catch drivers’ eyes, but the cartoon-shaped ones in Japan will make you want to keep looking.

Here are 10 things to do while visiting the Land of the Rising Sun.

2 / 12
Blue traffic lights in JapanPhoto: Salaryman/Shutterstock

2. Blue Traffic Lights

Almost universally, red means stop and green means go. If you’re in Japan, though, you’d have to wait a long time waiting for the traffic light to turn green. In that country, the “go” lights are more of a turquoise or aqua colour, and in some areas they’re just plain blue.

Learn why Japan’s traffic lights are blue and not green.

3 / 12
Feeding carrot to a bunnyPhoto: BlackRabbits/Shutterstock

3. An Island of Bunnies

Off the East Sea of Japan sits Ōkunoshima, an island fittingly dubbed "Rabbit Island." By taking a quick ferry ride over, visitors can watch and feed hundreds of fluffy bunnies.

Check out one of these 10 best places to see exotic animals.

4 / 12
Asian pearPhoto: parasolia/Shutterstock

4. Crazy Expensive Fruits

If you cringed at out-of-season produce prices in your own grocery store, you’ll get even bigger sticker shock at high-end fruit stores in Japan. Expensive fruits are a status symbol in the gift-giving culture, which explains why you can find pears for $19, strawberries for $5 apiece, and melons for $125 in some stores.

Here are the 10 Best Street Foods Across Asia.

5 / 12
Japanese toiletPhoto: NWStock/Shutterstock

5. Fancy Toilets

Spending some time in the bathroom is a fact of life, so why not make it comfortable? Skip over the traditional squat toilets (which yes, involve squatting over an in-ground bowl) and go to a more modern stall. It’s not uncommon to find one that makes noise to block any uncomfortable sounds, gives off perfume, raises its seat automatically, and has a built-in bidet.

Here are 8 Most Common Travel Illnesses (and How to Avoid Them).

6 / 12
Highway in JapanPhoto: TokyoSky/Shutterstock

6. Cars Advertising New and Senior Drivers

If you’ve ever wondered about that yellow and green V-shaped symbol in your emoji keyboard, you finally have an answer: It’s a Japanese symbol for “novice.” One of the most common places you’ll see it is as a magnet on the back of cars. New drivers need to keep a “shoshinsha mark” magnet on their vehicles for a year. On the other hand, a “koreisha mark” that looks like a four-coloured clover indicates the driver is 75 or older. If you spot a yellow butterfly on a green background, you’ll know the person behind the wheel is hard of hearing.

Discover why North Americans and Brits drive on different sides of the road.

7 / 12
TV in sports utility vehiclePhoto: Alexey Ryazanov/Shutterstock

7. Front-Seat TVs

Your car might have a navigation screen by the driver’s seat, and maybe even a TV screen for the back-seat riders. In Japan, though, the two are one in the same—a front-seat screen can stream TV shows. "All of our 'navi' systems sold in Japan have a TV tuner function, but none sold outside Japan have it," Pioneer Corp. spokesman Hiromitsu Kimura told the Wall Street Journal. And you thought texting and driving was bad!

These 13 driving tips could save your life!

8 / 12
KFC in JapanPhoto: TY Lim/Shutterstock

8. KFC for Christmas

A fast food joint might be the last place you’d want to celebrate Christmas, but it’s the go-to spot in Japan. The tradition started in the 1970s, when the manager of the country’s first KFC overheard foreigners saying they missed having turkey—a meat that’s tough to find in Japan—on Christmas. Not many Japanese people celebrate the holiday, but the manager hoped fried chicken could be a good substitute for foreigners craving poultry. Good marketing helped the tradition stick, and you might need to order your KFC Christmas dinner weeks in advance or spend hours waiting in line for it.

Check out some of the most fascinating holiday dishes from around the world.

9 / 12
Japanese vending machinePhoto: VASSAMON ANANSUKKASEM/SHUTTERSTOCK

9. Crazy Vending Machines

You might be a regular at the office vending machine when mid-afternoon cravings hit, but the dispensers in Japan aren’t just for snacks and drinks. Machines selling sushi socks, bottled flying fish, surgical masks, and canned carrots can all be found in Japan. Then again, you can also find vending machines selling coffee, beer, and sake, so maybe they know what they’re doing.

Here's why Japanese children are the healthiest in the world.

10 / 12
BathrobePhoto: red mango/Shutterstock

10. Shower Dryers

Most Japanese homes don’t have a clothes dryer. Instead, they’ll hang their clean laundry outside or in the bathroom. Showers have a fan setting designed for drying clothes, so even delicate clothes dry quickly without getting ruined in the heat.

This Japanese tradition will make you less forgetful.

11 / 12
Japanese Kit-KatPhoto: kiraziku2u/Shutterstock

11. Unique Kit-Kat Flavours

Canadians might get excited when white chocolate and strawberry Kit Kats hit the markets, but Japanese buyers have way more options. Imagine satisfying your candy craving with crazy flavours like wasabi, sake, or purple sweet potato. Part of the popularity might come from the name. In Japan, the chocolate bars are called kitto katto, which is awfully close to kitto katsu, meaning “surely you will win,” according to CBS.

Check out 10 Polite Ways to Eat Sushi, Wings and Other Tricky Foods.

12 / 12
SUVPhoto: Art Konovalov/Shutterstock

12. Rain Protectors on Cars

On a hot summer day with a 50 per cent chance of rain, it’s a total gamble whether you want to come back to a stiflingly hot car or water-soaked seats. In Japan, though, there’s a mini roof hanging over the windows to protect the interior from rain. You can add them separately in Canada, but they’re a vehicle commonplace in Japan.

Are the days of parking lots numbered? Here are five reasons why that may be the case.

Originally Published on Reader's Digest