27 April 2018
Travelling to Asia from Australia makes sense – it’s close by, usually cheaper and an endless amount of bizarre things to gawk at. I say this as opposed to the typical Europe or America tour, which are still totally fun but you’re unlikely to encounter anything downright cray cray. Right now, Japan is the place to be. The capital city, Tokyo is a mecca of weird and wonderful food, obscure hotels, anime, quirky vending machine items, animal cafes and everything in between. But there’s also a great deal of cool stuff outside of the big smoke, like playing with cheeky baby monkeys the size of your hand in Kyoto. It goes without saying that anything goes here (once you’re there you’ll realise how strange this concept is because Japanese people seem so outwardly prudish and polite). Here’s a sneak preview of some kooky things you can get up to.
You can do real-life Mario kart laps around the city…
Get dressed as Mario, Luigi, Yoshi or even Princess Peach (hands up if she was always your fave) and race around the backstreets of Tokyo in dodgem cars. This is the most fun you can have sober.
You can have tea at an owl café…
Or a cat café or rabbit café. In fact, there probably isn’t an animal left that you can’t cosy up with, while enjoying some matcha (when in Rome). If you get upset about exotic animals in cages, then it might be wise to give this a miss and get coffee at Starbucks.
You can wear a kimono round town…
Make like a traditional Geisha for the afternoon in a head to toe robe. You’ll be feeling fancy, awkward and ancient all at the same time. A complete makeover Japanese style, and a perfect LOL pic for Instagram (let’s be honest).
You can play with monkeys in Kyoto…
Atop a small mountain is the Iwatayama Monkey Park. All the monkeys roam free, eating mini bananas and acting all cute for the camera. Don’t you worry, they know what’s up and how to pose for a selfie.
You can have dinner and cocktails at a robot restaurant…
It sounds gimmicky and it definitely is, but it’s also a must do for a good laugh. Get low with all the robo monsters, dancers and lasers.
You can eat breakfast, lunch and dinner from 7/11…
And it’s actually good! And cheap, when you’ve blown all your money the night before! They sell cute triangular shaped sushi rolls called onigri – hunt them down.
You can buy a souvenir from a vending machine…
You’ll probably double-take at some of things you can find in the endless, countless, vending machines lining the streets. I think the weirdest I found was raw eggs and used underwear (freaky huh).
You can eat and eat and eat some more…
If there’s one thing about Japan you won’t get sick of – it’s the food. Try all the local snacks like octopus balls, tempura, salty ramen soups, okonomiyaki (cabbage pancakes doused in teriyaki sauce) and matcha soft serve.
Words by Jennifer Aitken
23 May 2022
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