Last Updated on October 30, 2023 by Ezra Matiasi

Japan, a country renowned for its rich history, stunning landscapes, and cutting-edge technology, is also a land of enchanting oddities and captivating curiosities.

Beyond its traditional customs and modern innovations, Japan hides a treasure trove of peculiar and fascinating aspects that pique the interest of travellers and culture enthusiasts alike.

From capsule hotels that redefine the concept of compact accommodation to square watermelons that defy nature, this exploration into the “weird facts about Japan” reveals the nation’s unique and sometimes baffling characteristics.

Join me on a journey through the peculiar and the extraordinary, where the ordinary is anything but in the Land of the Rising Sun.

Key Takeaways

  1. Capsule Hotels: Japan is known for its capsule hotels, which offer tiny sleeping pods for budget-conscious travellers.
  1. Square Watermelons: Japanese farmers grow square watermelons inside glass cases for decorative purposes.
  1. The World’s Oldest Company: Kongo Gumi, a Japanese construction company founded in 578 AD during the Asuka period, holds the distinction of being the world’s oldest continuously operating company.
  1. Kancho: “Kancho” is a playful and sometimes annoying children’s prank in Japan where kids poke their friends in the rear end with finger guns.
  1. Train Pushers: During rush hour, Japan employs “oshiya” to physically push passengers onto crowded trains to ensure everyone can fit.

Capsule Hotels

Capsule hotels are a unique accommodation option in Japan. 

These hotels offer travellers a cost-effective and space-saving solution. 

Instead of traditional hotel rooms, guests sleep in small, pod-like capsules. 

These capsules typically contain a bed, a small TV, and sometimes basic amenities like a mirror and a small shelf. 

The capsules are stacked next to each other, maximizing the use of space. 

Some capsule hotels are gender-segregated, while others have separate floors for men and women. 

While capsule hotels are known for their affordability and efficiency, they may not be suitable for travellers who prefer more spacious and private accommodations.

Square Watermelons

Square watermelons are a quirky invention that originated in Japan. 

The idea behind square watermelons was to make them more convenient to stack and store in small Japanese refrigerators, which are often smaller in size compared to those in other countries. 

To achieve the square shape, farmers grow the watermelons inside square glass or plastic cases. 

While these square watermelons are not intended for consumption and are often more expensive than their traditional counterparts, they have become popular decorative items and gifts.

The World’s Oldest Company

Kongo Gumi, a Japanese construction company, holds the distinction of being one of the oldest continuously operating companies in recorded history.

Established in the year 578 AD, during the Asuka period, the company specialized in temple and shrine construction, which was a significant and enduring part of Japanese architectural tradition.

For over 1,400 years, Kongo Gumi played a crucial role in the construction and preservation of Japan’s religious and cultural heritage. 

The company’s expertise was in demand for the construction of Buddhist temples, Shinto shrines, and other architectural marvels, which are integral to Japanese culture and history.

Kongo Gumi’s longevity was not without its challenges. 

Over the centuries, the company faced economic fluctuations, but it managed to adapt and continue its operations. 

However, in 2006, it faced financial difficulties and was eventually absorbed by another Japanese construction company, Takamatsu, marking the end of an era in Japanese business history.

The legacy of Kongo Gumi serves as a testament to the enduring traditions, craftsmanship, and dedication to cultural preservation in Japan. 

It also highlights the remarkable ability of a family-owned business to survive and thrive for over a millennium, leaving an indelible mark on Japan’s architectural heritage.


Kancho” is a mischievous and somewhat cheeky children’s prank in Japan. 

Kids make finger guns by folding their index fingers and then trying to poke their friends in the rear end unexpectedly. 

While it may seem strange to people from other cultures, it’s a common and playful interaction among children in Japan. 

Kancho is generally seen as harmless fun, but it can be annoying to the person on the receiving end.

Train Pushers

Japan’s train pushers, known as “oshiya” or “pushers,” have a unique and practical role. 

During rush hour in densely populated cities like Tokyo, the train stations can become extremely crowded. 

To ensure that all passengers can fit onto the trains, these attendants are responsible for physically pushing people into the train cars. 

It’s a necessary measure to prevent overcrowding on platforms and to maintain efficient and safe operations during peak travel times.

Napping at Work

Inemuri” is the practice of taking naps or short breaks at work in Japan. 

Unlike in many Western cultures, where napping at work is often seen as unprofessional, inemuri is considered a sign of dedication and hard work. 

It implies that you are so committed to your job that you’re willing to rest briefly at the workplace to recharge and be more productive. 

Employers in Japan generally understand the value of providing employees with the opportunity to take these power naps during the workday.

The Adoption of Grown Men

In Japan, adult men between the ages of 20 and 30 account for a significant portion of adoptions, making up around 98% of all adoptions in the country

This practice has historical roots and is related to Japan’s traditional approach to inheritance. 

Japan’s civil code historically mandated that generational wealth could only be passed down to a male heir. 

To ensure that the family’s wealth and name continued, adopting an adult male as a “son” was a common practice. 

While the legal landscape has changed, the tradition of adopting adult men persists as a way to secure family businesses and legacies.

The Frequent Earthquakes

Japan experiences a high frequency of earthquakes due to its geographic location. 

The country is situated at the convergence of four tectonic plates, including the Pacific Plate and the Philippine Sea Plate. 

These plates constantly interact, leading to frequent seismic activity. 

While the majority of these earthquakes are mild and barely noticeable, Japan has also witnessed some of the most devastating earthquakes and tsunamis in history, such as the Tohoku earthquake and tsunami in 2011. 

The Japanese are well-prepared for earthquakes, with strict building codes, early warning systems, and regular earthquake drills to mitigate the impact of these natural disasters.


In summary, Japan is a country of remarkable contrasts, where tradition and modernity coexist with some truly unique features. 

From the space-efficient accommodations of capsule hotels to the decorative square watermelons, Japan’s innovative spirit shines through. 

The longevity of Kongo Gumi, a construction company founded in 578 AD specializing in temple and shrine construction, adds to the nation’s rich history.

Playful pranks like “Kancho” offer a glimpse into the lighter side of Japanese culture, while the practicality of train pushers during rush hour and the acceptance of “inemuri” as a sign of dedication at work showcase Japan’s efficient and dedicated approach to daily life. 

These distinctive aspects contribute to the charm and intrigue of the Land of the Rising Sun

About the Author

Ezra Matiasi

Head Content Writer

Hello! My name is Ezra Matiasi, and I'm the enthusiastic mind behind Travello, a captivating travel blog that takes you on remarkable journeys around the world. With a passion for exploration and a love for sharing captivating stories, I curate the best travel experiences, hidden gems, and breathtaking landscapes. Through vivid descriptions and captivating photographs, Travello aims to inspire wanderlust and help fellow travelers make the most of their adventures. Join me as we embark on exciting virtual voyages and discover the wonders our beautiful planet has to offer. Let's explore the world together, one adventure at a time!

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