During the late 20th century, Japan became a world leader in innovation and technology, pioneering efforts in nuclear energy, electronics, and robotics. Since then, Japanese tech has been coveted by consumers all across the world with popular brands like Sony, Nintendo, Mitsubishi, and Toyota all calling Japan their home. Japanese inventions like DVDs, CDs, portable cassette players, and digital cameras revolutionized the way people enjoy and create entertainment.
While Japan might no longer be the leader in technology, it still remains a powerhouse in the tech world and continues to create fun, innovative, and sometimes bizarre products that dazzle foreigners. Whether you’re looking for a more efficient way to eat your ramen or another frivolous cat toy to appease your feline overlords, cool Japanese products are always on trend.
Innovative Condiment Packets
If you’ve ever spent more than thirty seconds battling with a slippery packet of ketchup, you’ll wish that these innovative condiment packets were as widely available in the States as they are in Japan.
While capsule hotels used to have a more inglorious reputation, they’re becoming increasingly popular. These compact pods offer cheap accommodations for those who just need a place to sleep. That being said, more extravagant capsule hotels are popping up across Japan, providing their guests with flat-screen TVs and access to saunas and hot springs.
The first high-speed train, or bullet train, was built in Japan and was first put into operation in 1964. These trains are faster, more efficient, and help reduce environmental damage, not to mention they provide a huge benefit to the economy. They can travel anywhere from 120 mph to 260 mph. The fastest bullet train in the world is the Shanghai Maglev Train in China, which can travel up to 267 mph.
Toilet Paper Making Machine
This machine takes office paper waste and turns it into a roll of toilet paper in under 30 minutes. To produce each roll, it needs at least 900 sheets of paper - is it even practical? Not really. That’s a lot of paper to make one roll. However, if your office doesn’t have a dependable shredder, this might be a more secure way of disposing of documents with sensitive information.
Parking Garage Elevators
While automated parking systems can be found across the world, the number of automated parking garages are steadily growing in Japan, comprising nearly 1.6 million of the country’s parking spaces. Not only do these garages save space, but the parked cars are less likely to be damaged or stolen within this structure.
A Table And Blanket Hybrid
A kotatsu is a low table that’s covered with a futon blanket. Just under the table sits a heating source that helps trap the warmth beneath the table and blanket. People usually sit at a kotatsu with their legs under the table and the blanket draped over the lower half of their body. With one of these in your home, you'll never want to leave the living room. You can even snag one for yourself on Amazon!
Braille On Beer Cans
Japan has made significant strides in accessibility for those with disabilities. Just one of these developments can be seen in the imprinting of braille onto beer cans for the blind. The braille on the can usually reads “alcohol” - it helps the blind distinguish between alcoholic beverages and nonalcoholic ones.
Sake Vending Machines
Throughout Japan, you can find sake vending machines in convenience stores and outside of bars that close early. One train station in Niigata has a sake tasting area where enthusiasts can choose from 92 different types of sake courtesy of tiny coin-operated machines.