Visitors to Japan usually head for the excitement of Tokyo’s Ginza district, seek out the historic shrines and temples in Kyoto, or stroll through manicured Japanese gardens. They might look for highly rated sushi restaurants or lively bars serving sake and Japanese whiskey. Many will time their visits to enjoy spring’s famed cherry blossoms or winter’s ski slopes and snow monkeys bathing in hot springs.
These are fine reasons to visit Japan, a fascinating country consisting of nearly 7,000 islands, with only about 400 inhabited. Once you’ve visited the popular spots, look into our suggestions for unique Japanese experiences you never thought of.
There’s an island with more cats than people, and a town with more life-sized dolls than humans. There are “haunted” burial grounds and an amusement park with an over-the-top horror hospital. Travelers looking for a novel souvenir can take home a miniature clone of themselves. Foodies who haven’t had their fill of instant ramen during their starving college student days can visit a museum that celebrates the invention of the ubiquitous noodles.
Check out our ideas for a memorable visit to some of Japan’s more unusual attractions.