OK, so maybe Japan isn’t home to the world’s tallest man, nor does it hold the record for most simultaneous boob squeezes, but the land of the rising sun is still home to some pretty quirky records.
From “station with the shortest name in the world” to “world’s largest flower clock” (seriously), Japan has plenty to offer.
So come with us now as we take a sightseeing tour across the country to discover some of the coolest, most mundane and downright odd world records that few of us even knew existed. Plenty of photos and videos after the jump!
The info-compiling masters over at Matome Naver have put together a short list of record breakers scattered around Japan as presented by Japanese internet users, some of which we ‘d never heard of. While some of the entries are a little underwhelming, we can’t deny that they maintain a charm of their own for that very reason, and after reading the public’s suggestions we spent the best part of the morning scanning the web for more information about them…
So, without further ado, allow us to present Japan’s little-known world records. Fasten your seatbelts, boys and girls!
1. The World’s Longest… Wooden Pedestrian Footpath
Thank goodness we’re strapped in here(!)
This marvel of human engineering can be found in Shizuoka prefecture, about an hour south of Tokyo by bullet train. Measuring 8,974 metres (29,442 feet), the footpath should be ideal for all of you fitness fanatics who enjoy a quick jog in the morning…
And all this time, pedestrians have been thinking “man, this thing never ends…” without ever realising that they’re standing on a piece of history!!!
2. The World’s Narrowest Channel!
No, we’re not talking about closed-minded TV stations who even bleep out the word ‘god’. This is the narrowest body of water between two land masses. As the internet user who presented this rather modest entry states: “blink and you’ll miss it.”
At first glance, this, too, seems like a rather dull world record. But the channel, situated in Kagawa prefecture, Shikoku, has become quite famous since its official Guinness World Record certification and sees a surprising amount of tourism. For just 100 yen (US$1.25), visitors are actually able to purchase a commemorative card that certifies that they have crossed the world’s narrowest channel. Which, when you think about it, is pretty sweet. Despite looking like a simple river, the channel is actually pure seawater, and at the right time of year dozens of jellyfish can be spotted bobbing along it.
Hardly worth taking a plane to visit, but if you happen to be in Kagawa prefecture, this is definitely an unusual location to check out.
3. The World’s Longest Rollercoaster
Now this is more like it!
This is the Steel Dragon, one of Nagashima Spaland‘s main attractions. The steel-frame stomach-churner’s track measures an epic 2479 metres (8133 feet) in length with its cars reaching speeds of up to 153 km/h (95 mph).
It’s hard to imagine the length of a rollercoaster simply by looking at a bunch of numbers, though; instead check out this video taken by a visitor to the park. We’re sure you’ll agree that this is one loooong ride!
Now that’s a ride worth waiting in line for!
4. World’s Largest Flower Clock
See? We weren’t kidding!
Consisting of 40,000 individually planted flowers, this actual working clock measures 31 metres (101 feet) in diameter and features a giant, swooping second hand that we desperately want to duck and dodge like something from an Indiana Jones movie.
The clock is located in Toi, near the city of Izu, Shizuoka prefecture, and is tended to year-round, with the flowers rotated according to the season, making it a pretty cool location to sit and quite literally watch time go by.
For more information, visit Izu’s tourist department website (in English).
5. World’s Longest Tree-Lined Avenue
Staying with the nature theme, this cedar-lined avenue can be found in spectacularly beautiful Nikkō, Tochigi prefecture. Nikkō has long been a favourite among tourists in Japan, featuring some of the country’s oldest and grandest shrines and temples as well as spectacular natural beauty.
The record-breaking avenue is lined by 12,000 towering cedars which took over 20 years to plant, with some of the trees over 1,000 years old. The avenue stretches an incredible 30km (18.5 miles) and can be both walked and driven through, offering spectacular views, and is particularly beautiful during the winter, as we can see in the above image.
A genuinely enchanting location and one that should be on any tourist’s to-do list during a visit to Japan, in our opinion.
6. & 7. From the land to the stars with the World’s Largest and Most Technologically Advanced Planetariums
As well as looking like an enormous crashed alien spacecraft, Nagoya city’s Astronomy Hall (above) is registered in the Guinness Book of World Records as the world’s largest planetarium. The planetarium features “deliciously comfortable seats” that rotate left and right, allowing visitors to gaze at the heavens without having to crane their necks. The planetarium is very popular among tourists and residents of Nagoya alike, with tickets for the entire day’s shows often selling out within the first couple of hours of opening.
If you want to see the stars during the daytime, you’ll need to get up early and join the line!
Not wanting to be outdone, however, Tama city in west Tokyo has been awarded the honour of owning “the most advanced” planetarium in the world according to Guinness World Records. The planetarium is located in the Tama’s Rokuto Science Museum, and was completely renovated in July this year.
As well as featuring literally millions of LED lights and cutting edge projection technology, the museum has also added additional comfy seating, including “pair seats”, allowing couples to snuggle up together while checking out the stars.
8. The World’s Tallest Steel-Frame Tower: Tokyo Skytree
It may have already suffered a slight communications hiccup, but there’s no denying that the Skytree is an impressive sight.
Taking just under four years to complete, the enormous communications tower stands 634 metres (2080 feet) tall, dwarfing Japan’s previous broadcasting giant Tokyo Tower which stands at 333 metres (9 metres taller than the Eifel Tower!).
The Skytree is open to visitors and even has a restaurant where diners can look out over the entire city while enjoying a meal.
Those concerned with being at the top of the world’s largest tower during an earthquake can take comfort from the fact the the tower was designed with earthquake-proofing as a main priority. According to its engineers, Skytree features special “cushions” that can absorb around half of an earthquake’s seismic energy, as well as having a steel design that can bend and flex. Having been in Fukushima during the Great Tohoku earthquake of 2011, however, I don’t think I’m quite ready to take on the challenge, but the rest of you go ahead…
9. The World’s Longest Suspended Monorail
It certainly looks odd, but the Chiba Monorail is one of the best ways of getting around town, and has the honour of being the world’s longest of its kind.
Although trains are by far the most relied-upon form of transport in urban areas of Japan, many cities’ infastructures have yet to be modernised to accommodate the increasing number of trains arriving at stations whose tracks cross busy roads. At some railway crossings, both pedestrians and traffic are forced to wait for gaps- sometimes as short at 30 seconds- between trains when the barriers rise to allow them to cross the tracks. Chiba’s monorail dodges this issue entirely, with its track suspended high above the streets and, at some points, its carriages passing by fifth floor of nearby office buildings.
Looking down from inside the monorail’s carriages, passengers see nothing but the busy streets below, making the ride to and from work just that little bit more exciting.
10. The World’s Shortest Station Name
And finally, the last of this eird bunch; the shortest station name in the world. Any ideas? Tama? Kanda? It’s certainly not Takadanobaba!
No, the award for the shortest station name in the world goes to Tsu station in Mie prefecture. The station’s name (津, meaning “harbour” or “port”) is just a single syllable long. It might not look that short on paper, but when said aloud, it’s quite odd to hear a name that’s a syllable shorter than the word eki (station) itself!
We have yet to visit the station itself, but we’d certainly love to some day, if only to hear the official Japan Rail recording announcing the train’s arrival at the station; you’d certainly have to pay attention not to miss it!
Are there any other little-known world records that you could tell us about? Let us know in the comments section below!
Source/images: Matome NAVER / Trip Advisor