5 Things that shocked us the most our first time in Japan!

Most of us have been there before, or will be there at some point – our first time in Japan.  No matter how much preparation you do before going to Japan, there will always be new and different things no one warned you about. Before travelling to Japan, there are many things we wish people could have told us, but they didn’t tell us everything. 

Because of this, we felt like we should at least share our experiences, so that those who haven’t been to Japan, can get an understanding of what’s to come :)! We asked our staff and friends what shocked them the most coming to Japan, each item on this list you see, is a different person.

If you are reading this and have been to Japan, we encourage you to comment below  (No signup needed) and share your experiences as well!


I was given quite the fright when I woke up on my first day in my new apartment, I went to go turn on the stove top, and suddenly a women’s voice came from my stove! That was just the start of my quest. I went on that day to go find the many other things in Japan which talk to use as you use them. Fridges, Heat pumps/air conditioners, cars, ticket booths at parking garages, and arcade machines – that’s on the tip of the iceberg!

If there’s modern technology in it, then it will probably speak to you when you turn it on. 

– Isaac Mills, Off The Track Japan

2. Some people have urinals - in their HOUSE


Sure, it’s certainly a good idea, and can help keep the toilet clean, but is it really necessary? This was one of the household commodities which I rarely saw in my home country, but was fairly normal in Japan – from my experiences at least.

– Jake Wallberg


3. They Have Huge Crows!

Growing up in New Zealand, the biggest bird we see daily is a black bird – they are tiny, not much larger than a sparrow. But in Japan, the everyday birds I saw were so much different. Crows were everywhere, it blew me away seeing a bird that size in the city! Crows are huge!

– Marcus Williams, Off The Track Japan

4. The people are so polite and selfless.

Japanese people – like complete strangers – are more than happy to help you out where ever they can. It’s something that you don’t see now a days in most western countries. I was lost one day in Okayama, somewhere by Okayama station, and I was trying to get to the castle. So I asked just a random person if they knew the way – and she took me right to the castle. It was a 10 minute walk from where we started, but still, It shows that some people are willing to give up their time to help people out.

– Logan Keene

5. Iced Coffee/Tea

In most of the western world, when you go and get an iced coffee or a tea, normally it comes with a boat load of sugar to make it not bitter so everyone can enjoy. But in Japan, If you get and iced tea or a coffee from a vending machine, or a coffee, you will receive straight coffee/tea that has been chilled – no sugars, no milk,  no nothing. In a cafe, it will likely come in a tall glass with a bunch of ice, and a sugar and milk packet on the side to flavour to your taste. 

Completely different experience and flavour from western countries. 

– Lauren Carey

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