Offbeat Japan { 104 images } Created 24 May 2017

Where on Earth can you find a restaurant with robots as servers, where people in the streets occasionally dress up as cartoon characters. Where can you bathe in green tea, sake or wine, with raucous festivals devoted to penises? Japan. Though the perception of Japan worldwide is often rather serious and sober, staid and conservative - the country has a bent for the quirky and the unusual. To be sure, Japan has more than its share of beautiful sights that are not to be missed, particularly in Kyoto. Sooner or later, though, the visitor suffers from “temple fatigue” no matter how beautiful the garden or temple may be. But never fear, Japan is also a treasure trove of unusual attractions, museums, cafes, parks and roadside attractions. The sheer number and variety of them would satisfy even the most jaded aficionado of the quirky.

In Japan you will find shrines devoted to disused dolls, good luck cat statues, foxes and other nature gods. There are hotels with capsules and compartments only large enough for the human body, including ones that are staffed with robots. One hotel features a giant Godzilla on the roof. Some hotels are devoted to short-term stays called “love hotels” that usually have themed rooms with decor that ranges from cute to creepy dungeons. Restaurants serve a huge variety of food. After you tire of fresh sushi, hop on over to the Kawai Monster Cafe for a candy salad or some rainbow-colored pasta. If you prefer your lunch served by a vampire, or cats for your dining companions, there are also cafes devoted to these specialties.

Artful architecture has long been a specialty of Japan, but not only exquisite temples with sublime gardens out back. There are also buildings that twist and turn, upside-down pyramids,
multi-colored apartment buildings, and even replicas of the Taj Mahal, Sagrada Familia, and the Parthenon - you name it. Japan is normally rather tame in its usual form but fear not, just around the corner there is likely to be a museum with a world-class collection of kites, buttons, retro tin toys, drums, teddy bears or just about anything else that you can imagine. The following pages are devoted to the roadside attractions, quirky museums, innovative architecture as well as the silly, off-the-wall and downright odd.
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