is well known for its major cities and attractions, like Tokyo, Kyoto and
the enigmatic Mt. Fuji, but the country also has another side, with fascinating
destinations that are a little more unusual and sometimes just plain weird.
Mount Fuji, Japan via Flickr
by Emran Kassim/CC
are many adventures to be had during a visit to Japan, including shopping,
exploring and enjoying the country’s delicious cuisine. Of interest to
note, visitors can even learn how to cook the famous dishes of the country
with cooking classes offered by Cooking
Sun in both Tokyo and Kyoto. When not hard at work in the kitchen,
experimenting with Sushi, Bento or Izakaya, explore some of the more unusual
attractions of Japan, included below.
Hyoketsu Ice Cave
area surrounding Mount Fuji, many underground caves have been formed by
the volcanic activity. Among the largest of these lava caves is the fascinating
Narusawa Hyoketsu, or Ice Cave. Located 70 foot under the ground, the cave
is accessed by stairs and once at the bottom, an amazing sight appears.
The cavern is full of crystal clear ice, backlit by a colour-changing light
to give an amazing display. Some of the icicles in the cave are up to three
feet in length and the ice remains all year around. Narusawa Hyoketsu is
easy to access using the popular tour buses in the area.
Photo Narusawa Hyoketsu via Flickr
by Karl Baron/ CC BY 2.0
known as the city of three mysteries. One of these mysteries is a forest
that was buried some 2,000 years in the past, but was unearthed during
renovations to the fishery harbour in the town. Mainly consisting of Japanese
cedar trees, the forest was likely swamped by a river flood, which left
a series of root systems, tree stumps and trunks, perfectly preserved in
the resulting mud. Nowadays visitors can see the around 200 gnarled and
ancient remains of the forest in the Uozu Buried Forest Museum, built in
the area of the original excavation.
Uozu Buried Forest Museum via Wikimedia
by carpkazu/CC BY-SA 3.0
As to the other two mysteries
of Uozu, each year during spring firefly squid appear in the waters off
the city, glowing a bluish-white as a protection against predators as they
begin to spawn and making an amazing sight from the shoreline. The other
mystery also relates to spring, where regular mirages are seen over Toyama
Bay. The mirages appear as visions of ships or cities in the sky and are
said to be similar to heat haze or imaginary puddles that sometimes appear
on hot pavements. As a matter of interest the Uozu Buried Forest Museum
is one of the best viewpoints for the mirages, allowing visitors to view
this unusual and rare phenomenon.
View some of the famous mirages
in the Japanese language video included below.
Tokyo’s Giant Ghibli Clock
Heading to Tokyo, those who
enjoy the steampunk culture will love this giant clock, located in the
Shiodome section near the Nippon Television tower. This massive clock is
60 feet in width and stands three stories high and is the brainchild of
Miyazaki, a Japanese film director.
Several times each day, four
minutes prior to the hour, the clock performs for onlookers with various
mechanical vignettes, including a boiling teapot, cannons, piston crankers,
as well as a couple of blacksmiths, working in an intricate ballet, something
like the tin toys of the 19th century or one of those old cuckoo clocks.
At all other times of the day the clock simply tells the time.
Photo Giant Ghibli Clock
by Jessica Paterson/ CC BY 2.0
exploring everything Japan has to offer and remember to take in some of
the more unusual sights.