Japan, The Weird and the Wonderful

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Japan has a rich and prehistoric history, tracing back to the earliest days of human civilization. Known for it’s ever evolving governance under a unified nation, the country boasts some of the worlds most dynamic eras of cultural growth and preservation. From Anime to Sushi, Sumo to Coffee, Japan is the birthplace of many a common thing. One of the aspects that they are known for includes their culture of etiquette, something that we could all stand to appreciate. But there’s a flip side to this too, a culture of weird and a market for exploration into the taboo and offside. Here’s a list of things weird and wonderful as made by Japan.

Cat Island- Ishinomaki, Japan

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While the western world has taken to domesticating cats, the felines found on Cat Island are regarded as kings. A long history of the importance of cats, their potential to bring about luck and fortune is the foundation for this strange destination, where its’ inhabitants are the rulers of the land and the people their mere minions.

Aokigahara Suicide Forest- Mount Fiji Base

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Obviously this destination is not for the faint of heart. More morbid than anything, the base of Mount Fuji’s “Sea of Trees” has been a go-to spot for many. The allure has been chalked up to the fact- as posted signs throughout will explain- that once you enter, you do so at your own risk, for the density and the vastness of the wood makes for easy disappearance.

Wisteria Tunnel- Kawachi Fuji Garden

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Looking at photos of Wisteria Tunnel can easily be confused with a water-colour painting, a print of a Monet creation. The amazing walls of flowers, cascading over man-made arbors has the makings of a fairytale setting. This gorgeous walk is best explored during “Fuji Matsuri” in late April and early May. Any other visit during the year has the makings of the evil side of magic, when the land and earth is barren, full of twisted vines and wiry branches.

Vampire Cafe- Tokyo, Japan

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Themed cafes, restaurants and bars are not out of the ordinary in Japan, especially around the district of Ginza. Known for their outlandish and outrageous “attraction” venues, the Vampire Cafe is no exception. The lush red velvet walls and smoky ambiance welcomes you into the cafe, where vamped-up waitresses and waiters tend to your every blood-thirsty need. Creepy and somewhat erotic in its subtle fetishization, it’s probably more entertaining and alluring in concept than anything.

Nakagin Capsule Tower- Shimbashi, Tokyo

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Interesting both design and concept, the Nakagin Capsule towers encase 140 prefabricated and self-contained apartments. The structure never took off as a fully-functioning and adaptable living space, but the design and scope of the project has united architects, art-appreciators and visitors since its’ inauguration in 1973. Created by architect Kisho Kurokawa, this building is an example of Japan’s post-war cultural movement, Japanese Metabolism.



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