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5 Ways Japan Is Living in the Future

A woman buying hot a Japanese noodle dish from a vending machine

Japanese culture is made up of two vital elements: ancient traditions and modern technology. If you ever visit Japan, you can experience many marvelous things such as touring a Shinto shrine, riding a bullet train going at 200 mph, trying out an ancient sukiyaki recipe, and checking into a robot-run hotel, all in the same day. Sounds pretty cool, huh?

But now, we’re going to focus primarily on the cutting-edge technology and knack for life efficiency that allows Japan to “live in the future,” so to speak.

Below are just a few of the appliances that assist in this lifestyle.

Vending Machines Galore

While vending machines aren’t unique to Japan, Japanese vending machines are in a class of their own. You can find one on practically every street corner selling virtually anything you could possibly imagine. Fancy a cold beer or some fresh ramen? Need a clean tie or a cell phone charger? In the mood for some pizza or canned bread? Rest assured, you will find a vending machine to meet your needs.

Vending machines also play a convenient role in small restaurants throughout the country. They are placed where you can order from them before going inside. After selecting and paying for your food and drink, you’ll receive a ticket to present to your server after being seated indoors. This orderly and efficient method involves very little human interaction and is particularly helpful for non-Japanese-speaking tourists. All you have to do is choose a picture and press a button and voila: Your meal awaits. It’s really that easy.

Climate On Demand

It’s quite natural to want to visit the beach when you live nowhere close to one. Perhaps you’re wondering where you can go to satisfy those seaside cravings? Enter the Seagaia Ocean Dome in Miyazaki, Japan! Part of the Sheraton Seagaia Resort, this indoor waterpark is the largest in the whole world, spanning almost 1,000 feet in length and 300 feet in width. Its main attractions include a flame-shooting volcano and palm trees (although both are artificial) as well as the world’s largest retractable roof, which offers a dazzling canvas of clear blue sky year-round.

The Dome remains at a steady temperature of 82 degrees Fahrenheit and features a man-made beach and swimming area complete with artificial sand and enough wave power for surfers to hang ten. It can accommodate up to 10,000 tourists at a time.

Toilet Technology

As a country renowned for its politeness and courtesy, Japan perfected their bathroom gear a long time ago. Almost all public restrooms have a very pleasant atmosphere and convenient equipment. Toilet features can include heated seats, attached bidets (with adjustable temperatures and pressure), and soothing music (for those having a hard time). Some toilets even have odor reduction techniques, blow dryers, and hand-washing stations. You may find yourself actually looking forward to using the gas station toilet in Japan!

Robot Workers

A dinosaur robot receptionist at a reception desk of a Henn Na Hotel in Kasai
Ned Snowman/Shutterstock

How much more futuristic can it get when you’ve got a robot-run hotel around? The Henn na Hotel, or “Weird Hotel,” opened in 2015 in southwest Japan. Upon arrival, a friendly robot receptionist (or a dinosaur, if you prefer) will greet you at the front desk. Don’t bother asking your robot host any complex questions, but it will be able to check you in, carry your luggage, and answer simple questions about the hotel and surrounding area.

According to the founder, the point of the hotel isn’t humor; rather, it exists to raise awareness and arouse curiosity about automation that can positively impact the world. (But let’s hope the robots don’t become so advanced that we find ourselves in an I, Robot situation!)

General Conveniences

There are plenty of reasons Japan lives in a futuristic world that positively benefits society. For example, capsule hotels offer guests a cheap place to sleep if all they want is a bed and some privacy. It’s also common to see park-and-lock umbrella stands in front of malls and restaurants, where umbrellas can be securely placed on a rainy day without having to be brought inside.

And there’s more. Japanese convenience stores offer many high-quality, easy-to-access food and products. Even the streets outside are meticulously clean. You’ll find small, pleasant details everywhere you look, from the original artwork on manhole covers to picture-perfect Starbucks drinks. Japan is truly like no other place on the planet. You really should visit sometime!

Anne Taylor Anne Taylor
Anne Taylor is a writer with a BA in Journalism and a passion for storytelling. Her work has been published on a variety of websites including Listverse and Introvert, Dear, and she is currently working on her first novel. When she's not breaking down complex topics into readable material, she loves to stay on the lighter side and blog about Disney and Universal parks on . Read Full Bio »