This article was originally published on Travlerz
Japan is famous for all types of things, from its food to its television. But it is especially notorious for creating quirky and cool products that can't be found anywhere else. These inventions make everything from chilling at home to walking around town more convenient. And don't worry - you won't need to hop on a plane and travel across the oceans to see what we're talking about because we've gathered up their weirdest and best gadgets right here.
Funnel Glasses for Inserting Eye Drops - Genius
So many people require eye medication daily, but this can be problematic if they don't have good hand-eye coordination skills. Sometimes, putting liquid into our eyes is stressful enough, which is why a Japanese company called Topcon invented these eye drop glasses. They were created in 1991 and are still used by tons of people in Japan today. The glasses are attached to a funnel that guides the liquid directly into the eye.
Administering eye drops is one of the most uncomfortable things and can sometimes get everywhere if you don't have another person helping you. This invention completely takes care of that struggle.
A Sound-Catching Pillow for the Dedicated Couch Potato
This pillow has a tiny opening underneath your ear that can capture the sound around you, so you can rest your head and fully listen to your favorite tv show simultaneously. We all know that the one issue that comes with laying on a pillow is that you can only hear out of one ear (whichever isn't on the pillow). That's why FUJIPACKS created a cube-shaped pillow that captures the sound around you and sends it to your ear that's resting on the pillow.
With this pillow, you don't have to sacrifice a single sound. It really is ideal and useful.
Mop Shoe Covers Keep the House Clean 24/7
These are considered an item of clothing that simultaneously gets chores done. In this case, it's mopping the floor. Just slip them onto the bottom of your feet and go ahead and do what you usually do. Your floors will practically always be clean, and other than the funny look, we can't really think of a downside to this style. Just don't wear them outside; it defeats the purpose.
Walking is something we all do inside of the house, so attaching a mop to the bottoms of our feet is practically genius. This is the definition of practical fashion.
This Walking Fridge Comes to You When It's Called
Just imagine being delivered a cold drink to the couch by your very own fridge. Well, there's no need to dream with the Panasonic Japanese Walking Fridge. It was released in 2017 and costs around $5,000. It has LIDAR laser technology with sensors that allow it to travel to you without knocking into anything else. It's truly perfect for those lazy days in front of the tv when getting up feels like a task.
Instead of having to walk over to the refrigerator, this one will do all of the work for you. Yes, it's expensive, but it might be totally worth it.
A Soup Splash Protector
Simply secure this silicone frame onto the front of your face, and you can easily eat your soup without any hair getting in the way. And that's not the only thing - it will also keep any soup splashes from getting all over you. Many Japanese inventions have cleanliness and utility in mind, and this is no exception. However, we're not sure how we'd feel wearing this out in public.
But it sure is useful since eating noodles with long hair can be difficult, especially since hair never wants to stay in place when it's time to take a bite.
Realistic-Looking Ramen Blankets
Ramen is a beloved food of people all around the world, which is why this ramen blanket surely didn't have any issues when it came to sales. It's a unique and comfy way to honor a delicious meal and even comes with its very own pillow that looks just like the authentic packaging. You can even make your choice of either shrimp or beef, and both options seriously look like the real thing.
This design gives you the one and only chance you'll ever get to crawl inside your favorite warm meal. It looks so realistic that your stomach might start to grumble.
Rain Indicators in Elevators Tell People When They Need an Umbrella
Have you ever walked outside just to end up covered in the rain and without an umbrella? Well, that won't happen to you if you live in Japan. This is because elevators have rain indicators that turn red when it starts to rain and warn elevator passengers whether they should take an umbrella out for the day. So, you won't walk outside and get soaked because this indicator will give you a chance to prepare for the weather beforehand.
As an island, Japan gets lots of rain which is why they are always coming up with super cool inventions to help their citizens go about their average stormy days with ease.
Robot Waiters Provide Employment Opportunities for People With Disabilities
These robotic waiters were invented with a great purpose. The goal is to provide real jobs to people who are chronically ill or immobile. Workers can serve tables from the comfort of their own homes and beds while making money. Many have suffered from devastating spinal injuries making it impossible to move, so they can control these robots by a computer interface and can feel like a part of society while doing meaningful work.
You can find these at Dawn Cafe in Japan, where your soda or coffee could potentially be brought to you by an exceptional kind of robot controlled by someone with disabilities.
Forget Nose Jobs, Japan Has Nose Shaping Clips
The Hana Tsun Nose Straighter is made to be worn for twenty minutes a day and can straighten out a bent or out-of-shape nose. With time, it claims to reshape the cartilage and can even improve breathing and snoring issues when sleeping. The effects can't be confirmed, but tons of people have bought this item and love it while claiming that it really does what it's supposed to do.
Sometimes plastic surgery to change a nose shape is just way too expensive, so this is the next best option for those who only want to spend a tiny bit of cash.
A Literal Muscle Tee to Boost Confidence
Gaining muscles often involves hitting the gym daily, gulping down protein shakes, and counting calories. That's not exactly something many people can put time into doing, which is why a clothing company invented the Danrich Muscle Tee. It does exactly what it looks like it does, creating the illusion of muscles in a place where they might not really be. It can bring confidence to men who are struggling with their looks.
Building actual muscles take a ton of work and energy. It's something that isn't achievable for everyone, which is why this shirt with built-in muscles was invented.
Self-Driving Cars Sell Fast Food Around the City
In order to get food on the go in most countries, there is either a drive-through or a human delivering it to your door. Clearly, this isn't the case in Japan if Kentucky Fried Chicken is on the menu for the day. These trucks are completely automotive and constantly travel up and down the sidewalks, making it easy for any hungry customers to order a meal. This invention takes Japan's famous vending machines, where people can buy whole meals instantly, to another level.
This KFC car is both driverless and highly convenient. All you need to do is wave one down, order your food, pay, and enjoy. This is seriously genius.
An Eco Friendly Toilet-Sink Combo
There are so many people living on the small island of Japan, which is why an eco-friendly toilet sink can be crucial when it comes to making more room. Not only does this invention save space, but it also reuses the handwashing water for the next toilet flush, which is honestly genius as it reduces water consumption. In total, this device can help save millions of liters of water every single year.
Japan is really into being environmentally friendly, which is why they've invented this toilet that doubles as a sink. It helps conserve water as well as space since large apartments can be costly.
This Mechanical Arm Helps You Nap Literally Anywhere
A mechanical arm may be the best option when it comes to power napping at the office or even sleeping on airplanes. Simply attach the device to the arm of your chair or the side of your desk, and you can start snoring with minimal effort. It may look a bit creepy, but this flexible arm support might actually be perfect if you're both underslept and overworked (or just love napping everywhere you go).
Sometimes, a quick office nap will leave your wrists feeling tired and sore, so this invention would surely solve that problem, although your boss still may not be too thrilled.
The "Liberation Napkin" Makes Messy Eating Less Embarrassing
This is the perfect invention for those who love getting messy with a burger but also don't want anyone to witness the disaster. The napkin apparently liberates Japanese women who don't want to seem bad-mannered when getting down and dirty with their food. It's big enough to hide their entire face, and the company that invented this napkin became highly successful and had a great demand for their unique product.
In Japan, it's customary for women to cover their mouths in public, so a popular food chain restaurant was having trouble getting female customers to eat burgers. In response, they invented the "Liberation Napkin."
These Watermelon Cubes Are Real
These famously tasty fruits at this Japanese market look like something that came straight out of a video game. Some people are truly obsessed with symmetry, and if you're one of them, you might want to make your way over to Japan. These cube-shaped watermelons are grown inside tempered glass to get the shape. Unfortunately, these fruits aren't edible because the melons must be harvested before ripening in order to retain the cube shape.
Japan decided that the traditional watermelon shape can get a bit boring sometimes, which is why some markets sell them in a cube shape. They are called "shikaku suika" in Japanese.
Anti-Aging Product Helps Tighten Loose Face Muscles
Loose face muscles might not be something you think about often, but shaping and contouring the face with products like this one is a popular self-care activity in Japan. This device is made to be placed in between the lips in order to strengthen both the mouth and jaw muscles. It might look a bit strange, but this is typically used at home or in a place where nobody else can see. They're also not very expensive, making the item readily available for everyone.
Use these once a day for three minutes, and you might see some changes in your face over time. They're supposed to stop the skin from sagging and wrinkling with age.
Pet Robots to Ease Loneliness
These adorable fuzzy creatures are mechanical pet robots that come in various bright and warm colors. They can react to different moods and can easily persuade you to fall in love with them. Lots of people in Japan own these and even sometimes consider them to be part of the family. They're pretty cute, so we can understand why some people form deep connections with the robots. This is a pet that will require minimum maintenance.
It doesn't need to be walked, fed, or brushed and can still provide you a sense of comfort and friendship like any other animal. Some landlords just don't allow real pets, which is why companions like these are invented.
A Mask That Translates Languages
The C-Face Smart Mask has the incredible ability to translate the words of a single speaker into eight different languages. It was created by a Japanese company called Donut Robotics, which plans on selling them for fifty dollars per mask. They hope to solve the issue of not being able to communicate due to language barriers for both new immigrants and travelers. This is both an incredible invention and a game-changer for those who want to travel during the pandemic.
In order to work, the mask has to be connected to a smartphone which then completes the translations.
This Funnel Allows You to Sing in Public Without Anyone Hearing
This neon yellow invention works as headphones, as well as a personal microphone in which the only person that can hear you singing is yourself. It works by placing the funnel over your mouth as your favorite song is being played into your ears so you can sing along. Karaoke is a beloved pastime in Japan, so this device can help you prepare for a fun night out with friends, family, or coworkers.
This is the perfect purchase for people who may not be the best at singing and would like to do the civil duty of shielding the public from hearing the performance.
A Place to Lock Umbrellas
Most public locks are made for scooters and bikes, but this one is made simply for umbrellas. Japan knows these things need a safe place to stay on a rainy day to ensure nobody loses track of their umbrella. They are even made with a lock and key for extra security, and a number to make finding yours extra easy. Honestly, these should exist everywhere in the world.
Umbrellas are often lost or stolen, so this is a fantastic idea for anyone who doesn't want to carry their umbrella around but wants it to be totally safe.
This Autonomous Drone Is Perfect for Taking Selfies in Space
If you plan on going up into space anytime soon, you might want to take the JEM Internal Ball with you for all of your selfie-taking needs. It's multidirectional and has no problem capturing footage from every and any angle while chilling inside of a spaceship. It seriously looks like something that came straight out of a SciFi movie. Plus, the little drone is self-propelled, autonomous, and has an adorable face.
This technology was specifically invented to float in zero gravity while taking pictures and videos of astronauts as they are up in space. It's an excellent way to keep connected to their friends on the ground.
A Bathtub Phone Holder
A nice hot bath is one of the best ways to relax after a long and stressful day. A common problem with that is figuring out how to keep your cellphone at arm's reach without it accidentally falling into the water. This tub accessory has a slot where you can slide a phone into, guaranteeing that it won't get wet or damaged as it sits inside of a waterproof sleeve.
This device comes with a very long name and is called Thanko's Bath Air Pillow Smartphone Holder. It works as both a comfy backrest and a safe place to browse your phone.
Toe Stretching Inserts
Shoes are pretty limiting and actually change the typical structures of your feet by squishing your toes together. The inventors of the Genki-Kun Toe Stretcher want to solve that issue with this product. It's excellent for relieving stress after a long day of standing on your feet or walking around. Each section of the stretcher is designed to fit in between each specific toe to provide maximum comfort for anyone wearing them.
These are made from polyethylene and are practically an easy yoga exercise for your toes. They're apparently super comfortable and can improve circulation, posture, and balance for people who buy them.
Luggage Locks in the Bathroom
Japan is known to be one of the safest countries in the world, and there isn't much crime there. That might be because they practically have locks for everything, and that includes ones that are designated for luggage in airport bathrooms. It's a simple solution to a big problem as baggage is constantly stolen while established owners are using the restroom. In Japan, it's ensured that this situation won't happen.
A common struggle of a solo traveler is figuring out how to keep a suitcase safe when needing to make a quick trip to the bathroom. That clearly won't be an issue in Japan.
Robotic Dinosaurs Run This Hotel
At this hotel are robotic dinosaurs with high-tech sensors that can detect approaching people and welcome any new guests as they enter. The mechanical creatures have replaced the standard employee who usually assists with checking in and checking out visitors. Truly, associating with humans at a hotel can sometimes get kind of plain and boring, so this company decided to step it up a notch and hire prehistoric creatures to run the hotel.
Some people might truly prefer speaking to a robotic dinosaur as opposed to a real person, and if you're one of them- consider booking a trip at the Henn-Na Hotel in Tokyo.
Vending Machines That Sell Hats for Cats
Yes, these are vending machines that actually dispense cat hats, and they really do exist. If you're a cat lover, you might want to make your way over to Japan just to get an outfit or two for your furry friend. They have tons of designs to choose from and will keep those adorable ears warm throughout the winter. Your cat may not exactly be happy about the wardrobe change, but you sure will be.
Vending machines are the best, but the fact that these solely dispense hats made for cats is absolutely adorable. Plus, they only cost a dollar. Can't go wrong with that.
Tunnels Made For Turtles Keep Them Safe From Trains
Sometimes, animals need a little bit of help when it comes to crossing the streets safely, which is why these turtle tunnels were created. They are notoriously slow creatures, sometimes too slow for fast-moving cars. This inspired Japanese engineers to create tunnels especially made for turtles, allowing them to cross roads and travel without getting injured in our fast-paced world. It's s a highly creative idea that has surely saved a ton of turtle lives.
An aquamarine in Kobe, Japan, partnered with West Japanese Railways to create these turtle tunnels in order to prevent them from being hit by cars, and it has actually been working.
These Bankers Are Robotic
While walking into a public establishment in Japan, you might come across one of these humanoid robot greeters. These were invented by a company called SoftBank in 2014, where they released "Pepper," the robot, into the world. It's the first social humanoid robot that can potentially recognize both faces and human emotions with ease and replaces positions that are usually taken by real-life people. They are mostly used to greet customers.
These start at about $1,500, making them a bit pricey. This is why they are usually sold to public institutions like banks and museums as opposed to private ones.
Umbrellas That Change Color When Wet or Dry
Getting caught in the rain isn't always a good time, so a company called RainStoppers created an innovative umbrella that makes the experience a little bit better. The umbrella changes color when it gets wet and will stay like that up until it dries completely. It's a creative way to take a walk in the rain a little more fun, and you might be excited for stormy weather when you pick up one of these.
Japan is a country that has a lot of rain, which is why many inventions are centered around the weather. This invention also comes in other patterns that show up when wet.
Pink Bear Barricades Block off Construction Sites
These cute little pink bears look extremely huggable, but the entire point of their presence is to stay away. Japan is known to have mastered the art of adorable cartoon making, from Anime to Hello Kitty, and they even applied the popular art to construction sites. The bears are meant to keep citizens safe from potential work hazards while making your day a bit brighter with the simple yet adorable design.
Barricades are generally industrial and ugly while hardly being pleasing to the eye. Japan decided to change things up a bit with theirs while turning away from the standard yellow cones.
These Glasses Show Phone Messages and Notifications
A Japanese eyewear company has altered the issue of phone addictions by transitioning the software into a pair of glasses. The product is called Fun'iki, and they connect to any smartphone through a Bluetooth connection. They are compatible with both iPhone and Android and can display messages and notifications that you would typically see on your phone, but they also have an option where you can limit what you want or don't want to see.
If you find yourself looking at your phone too much, you might want to pick up a pair of this tech-wear. You practically won't ever have to look at your phone again.
This mop doesn't require a ton of energy in order to get cleaning. Sometimes, doing so can cause a ton of strain on the back and knees, but this mop is connected to a remote control that can guide it in every way. It was created by a company called Kyosho, which describes it as "a mop without moping." It's perfect for lazy days where cleaning seems to be impossible.
Sometimes, cleaning needs to be turned into a game just to make it a bit more tolerable, so this remote-controlled mop is the perfect way to have a bit of fun while cleaning up.
Phone Booth to Talk With Loved Ones Who Passed Away
After a terrible tsunami that caused many deaths, someone went and put this phone booth in the middle of a field in Japan. The idea was to provide a safe place for those to communicate with their friends and families that have died, allowing them to spend a moment alone to reflect on their thoughts. Even though it may not be functional, it was simply an act with the intent of uplifting. The name of the booth is "telephone of the wind."
The story is an inspiring yet sad one, where a single person made an act of kindness, helping those who lost their loved ones find a little bit of comfort after such a tragic event.
A Selfie Stick With a Microphone
Enjoy singing and recording? Need to capture the perfect angle while singing your favorite tune? Then this is certainly the product for you. Simply connect your phone to one end, and sing into the other. Suddenly, you could be a TikTok star with absolutely minimal effort. You won't even need a camera person to capture the performance; all you need is yourself. It even comes with a built-in karaoke app. This actually might be the key to becoming internet famous.
Do you consider yourself to be a performer? Maybe you haven't yet transitioned from the comfort of your own home to the stage; if so, you should pick up the SelfieMic.
Have Your Baby Clean While They Crawl
If you want your small child to start helping out around the house, you might want to pick up the Baby Cleaning Onesie. All you need to do is put it on, let them crawl around, and suddenly- you'll have one less chore to do around the house. It's probably the first baby outfit that is cute, fun, and useful all at the same time. It's even absorbent to soak up any spills.
Sure, babies don't do much other than eat, sleep, and repeat. This might be a helpful outfit to put on your kid during their crawling phase for a comfy kid and clean floors.
A Tiny Washing Machine for Your Accessories
A company called Thanko has created a miniature washing machine made for small items. It's powered by a USB and can even sit neatly on a desk as a fun little gadget. It's adorable but also highly functional and can get your waterproof watch squeaky clean and shining in no time at all. Simply dip the gadget into the water, close the top, and let it run. It's seriously perfect.
Items like watches, keys, and jewelry would certainly get lost if thrown into a normal-sized washing machine, so this is practically the perfect solution to helo clean up your tiny dirty items.
Japanese Rice Art
For just five months a year, farming artists from the Japanese village of Inakadate create an amazing work of art using growing rice. The incredible image can only be seen from high above the ground, in which their rice paddies are put together to tell a unique story. These images are truly massive and take a ton of time, practice, experience, and patience to execute without making any potential mistakes. Somehow, people are able to create amazing things with items like sand and, in this case, rice.
This is called Tambo art, and they do this by planting multicolored rice into the field. It takes a lot of time to perfect, but as it grows, it creates a unique view.
An Umbrella Walkway
A theme park in Japan is dedicated to The Moomins, which are hippo-like creatures that were invented by an author named Tove Jansson. The park is called Moominvalley, and it is in the Saitama area of Japan. At the park is a walkway that is covered in beautiful transparent umbrellas that reflect colorful lights throughout the forests. If you're ever in this area of Japan, it's highly recommended that you check out this park.
As the sunlight travels through the trees, it creates a unique filter effect that makes you feel like you're on another planet or in a world of magical Moomin creatures.
Stacked Vertical Parking Saves Space
These vertically stacked parking spots run on a conveyer belt and provide tons of extra parking for the cities they're in. They're placed in urban centers in order to save space and have been helping Japan utilize and limit space more effectively in several areas. After running an errand, your car will automatically be delivered to you, and you won't have to put much effort into getting out of the parking spot. It's a highly cost-effective and convenient way to solve parking issues in Japan.
Sometimes finding a good parking spot in small cities can be really difficult, making people choose public transportation. This is why engineers invented this alternative smart multi-leveled parking system throughout Japan.
Japanese Aquarium Shows the Penguins' Complicated Romances and Breakups
Staff working at the Kyoto Aquarium in Japan have created a love board that documents all of the penguin relationship drama going on at the zoo. It gets into some serious detail and carefully lays out all of the crushes, melodramas, and heartbreaks on a single board. Penguins tend to enjoy switching things up a bit, so the board is constantly changing in order to stay updated on affairs and egg-stealing.
The zookeepers that created this chart have basically made a penguin soap opera that can be enjoyed by any and all people who want to indulge in a bit of penguin drama.