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Unusual attractions in Japan

Japan 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
Photo: Mount Fuji, Japan via Flickr by Emran Kassim/CC BY 2.0

There 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.

Narusawa Hyoketsu Ice Cave

In the 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.
Narusawa Hyoketsu Ice Cave
Photo: Photo Narusawa Hyoketsu via Flickr by Karl Baron/ CC BY 2.0

Uozu Buried Forest Museum

Uozu is 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, Japan
Photo 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 Hayao 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. 
Giant Ghibili Clock, Tokyo
Photo Giant Ghibli Clock via Flickr by Jessica Paterson/ CC BY 2.0

Enjoy exploring everything Japan has to offer and remember to take in some of the more unusual sights.


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