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10 Things You Didn’t Know About Japan

10 Things You Didn’t Know About Japan
14 September 2017 James Brooke

Whether you are visiting for the first time or are already familiar with Japan’s culture, there is always plenty to discover about this fascinating country. To celebrate the launch of its new trips to Japan, including Hiroshima, Takayama, Nara and Kyoto, Rickshaw Travel has put together its top fun facts to help you plan your next trip.

  1. KFC is the traditional meal on Christmas Eve

The festive food in Japan isn’t what you might expect. Instead of a traditional turkey roast, most will head to their nearest KFC branch on Christmas Eve. Around 3.6 million Japanese people feast on the KFC Christmas Dinner, despite hours of queuing and even ordering weeks in advance.

  1. Mountains, mountains everywhere

Japan has extremely densely populated cities, but surprisingly around 70% of the county is uninhabited forest and mountains that aren’t suitable for farming.

  1. It’s good manners to slurp your noodles

Good manners are highly important in Japan, but when it comes to eating noodles, there’s only one way to eat: LOUDLY. Slurping is a sign you’re loving your noodles, as well as cooling down them as you eat. Bibs are sometimes provided in restaurants, however, by the time you leave Japan, you’ll be able to polish off a whole bowl in a white shirt and walk out spotless.

  1. There’s a Rabbit Island in Japan

Japan has nearly 7,000 islands, and the island of Okunoshima in the Inland Sea is best-known for its floppy-eared population. Okunoshima was used to test weapons during World War II, but apparently, some of the test subjects escaped after the war. Regardless of how they got there, the numbers of bunnies flourished on this predator-free island and both dogs and cats are banned from entering.

  1. The number four is unlucky

The number four (‘shi’) is widely avoided in Japan, since it sounds too similar to the Japanese word for death. You’ll notice while in Japan that buildings don’t have a fourth floor, products are generally sold in sets of five or three and particular care is taken to avoid finding the number in daily life.

  1. There’s a naked festival Japan

Japan is well-known for festivals; however, Hadaka Matsuri is one of the strangest. Japanese men in their thousands strip naked in a bid to secure a fortune-filled year.

  1. Japans trains are some of the worlds most punctual

The average delay of Japanese trains is 18 seconds – Southern Rail customers won’t believe their luck!

  1. The Japanese love wacky flavours

Eel-flavoured ice cream and baked potato Kit Kats are just two of the crazy flavours you can find during your time in Japan. Kit Kats are the incredibly popular sweets (as ‘Kit Kat’ sounds like ‘kitto katsu’, a ‘good luck’ saying). There are also edamame, wasabi and ginger ale flavoured Kit Kats, too.

  1. Everyone has their own family seal

People don’t have signatures in Japan – they have their own family seal instead (very Game of Thrones). These are called Hanko, and the seal is your name made into Kanji characters. They are made from silk, or plant-based paste and adults will often have three variations of Hanko; one for signing off letters or personal matters, a bank seal and an identity seal.

  1. Anti-ninja floors

In Feudal Japan, wealthy lords built homes with intentionally squeaky floors (called Nightingale Floors) as a defence measure against ninjas. Pure genius.

Rickshaw Travel’s new trips include a mix of popular highlights and meaningful experiences, which offer travellers a taste of authentic Japanese culture, history and adventure.

Whether it’s sake tasting in a local brewery or learning how to become a traditional Japanese gardener, visitors will get the chance to experience the real Japan and travel in a way that the local people and environment also have a positive and beneficial experience. For further information or to book, visit


For further press information, please contact:
Melissa Hobson/Natalie Garland/James Brooke
Rooster PR
T: +44 (0)20 3440 8927
E: [email protected]

About Rickshaw Travel
Rickshaw Travel is an independent tour operator based in Brighton. They are committed to providing enriching, immersive travel experiences that take holidaymakers off the beaten path and into the heart of local communities.

Meaningful travel – or travelling in a way that everybody benefits from – is the core ethos of Rickshaw: the traveller benefits from enriching experiences where they learn something new (about the destination, culture, a skill or about themselves) and at the same time the local people, animals and/or environment benefit too.

Rickshaw Travel’s individual approach to independent exploration enables adventurous holidaymakers to visit the heart of a destination and experience the real spirit of a local culture. Rickshaw specialises in offering small-scale, authentic accommodation that truly reflects the character of each destination.

Rickshaw are proud to have built up a team of passionate Travel Specialists who each have extensive travel experience in their own dedicated destinations. They pride themselves on being open and honest about the places they have visited and are on hand to inspire and support travellers. The company’s style of travel is unique – Rickshaw’s dedicated Product Team has worked alongside the company’s in-destination partners to create a choice of carefully selected bite-size trips, typically 2-4 days long, which can be combined to create the perfect itinerary. Rickshaw’s bite-size trips include a range of local excursions, charming authentic accommodation and some transfers to ensure a hassle-free holiday.

Protecting nature and wildlife – and encouraging travellers to do the same – is also key for the Rickshaw team. The company has partnered with World Animal Protection to develop an Animal Welfare Policy, has committed to supporting the end of elephant riding by signing World Animal Protection’s elephant-friendly pledge, and is in the process of auditing trips involving any type of wild animal interaction.

Rickshaw Travel now offers trips in 26 destinations across Asia, Central and South America, and Africa, including Cuba, Vietnam, Myanmar, Thailand, India, Costa Rica, Peru, Borneo, Indonesia, Sri Lanka, Malaysia, Chile and Brazil and is launching Japan by September 2017. The company’s turnover and passengers carried increased by 50% from 2015 to 2017 and the company is aiming for a further 30% increase by 2019.

For more information, visit,, or or call 01273 934 823.