Bright lights, towering buildings, anime-dressed teenagers...that’s got to describe Tokyo, right? As impressive as Japan’s capital is at a first glance, its futuristic qualities go way beyond what we’ve seen in pictures or on TV. Dig a little deeper and we’ll discover things in Tokyo that could only be imagined or expected in a sci-fi movie.
We already know that Tokyo is a futuristic city offering sights, services, and amenities that are like nothing we’ve seen before in the Western world. Still, it’s hard to wrap our heads around the idea of a robotic restaurant or a psychedelic aqua park. But if Tokyo’s happy to offer us that, we are more than happy to take a look and delve into its land of advanced technology where anything is possible.
Now, we have no idea what the year 3000 is going to look like, but we have a hunch that it could look something like Tokyo. Maybe the rest of the world will have everything Tokyo has in the year 3000, but we don’t know about Tokyo. They’ll probably be way beyond that by then. Let’s just say Tokyo is not prepared to remain static. They are moving, transforming, progressing...ALL THE TIME!
And these photos prove it.
20 Unicorn Gundam Statue – the centrepiece of Odaiba
In front of DiverCity Tokyo Plaza, towering over spectators at an incredible height of 19.7 metres, is the Unicorn Gundam Statue. It really is the centrepiece of the island Odaiba and we can see why. Looking at it is like looking into the future. It’s not often we see statues like this. One of the best times to see this statue is in the evening when it gets dark and the statue lights up, with its panels glowing neon colors.
It really is an amazing sight and especially interesting for tech and gadget lovers because the Unicorn Gundam Statue simply looks like a gigantic robot.
19 Miraikan - the museum of the future
Known, officially, as the National Museum of Emerging Science and Innovation, Miraikan features interactive exhibits comprising of apocalyptic scenarios, robots and amazing feats in human engineering. Yep, it’s impressive. Tech lovers will have a field day here. The museum’s official site describes it as a place to learn things going on in the world today from a scientific perspective while contemplating what the future holds.
It’s a museum where we can have hands-on experience with technology, thanks to its interactive exhibits. It’s a place of open discussion, a place where we can design a future for our society, a place for thinkers.
18 Vending machines that sell everything – and we mean everything
From ordinary beverages to fully cooked meals to used underwear, we can find everything in Tokyo’s vending machines. With a vending machine virtually on every street corner, there will be no shortage during our stay in Tokyo.
We’re used to dispensing cold drinks and snacks from vending machines, but here in Tokyo that kind of stuff is just ordinary. We guess there’s not a huge amount of space left for endless stores, so it’s much more convenient just to sell things through vending machines, because they take up far less space.
17 Techno-cemeteries – where LED Buddhas replace tombstones
At Ruriden Cemetery, it uses LED lights to light up over 2,000 crystal Buddha statues. With over 38 billion inhabitants, Tokyo wouldn’t have the capacity to house thousands of tombstones. For that reason, these LED Buddha lights serve a useful purpose for showing respect for the deceased, while saving space at the same time.
One look at the picture would not make us believe this was an actual cemetery. It looks more like a high-tech light museum. However, there is something useful and practical about this creation. Plus, it looks really cool! These might start spreading into the Western world soon too...or, possibly, in the year 3000.
16 Shinkansen Bullet Train – they have a need, a need for speed
Japan is famous for its high-speed trains, particularly the Shinkansen bullet train. First debuted in 1964 at Tokyo’s summer games, this train can reach up to speeds of 200 mph. This was the first time ever that the world had seen anything like this. To this day, the line continues to expand. Today, we can find Shinkansen tracks that can transport us from between most major cities within Japan. To this date, the line has transported over 10 billion passengers and of course, that number is continually growing. The Shinkansen is famous for comfort, safety, efficiency and, of course, punctuality.
15 Fuji Television Building – a futuristic building with fantastic views
The Fuji Television Building, headquarters of Fuji TV, is one of the most futuristic buildings we’ve ever seen. It is Japan’s most famous television stations, but it is the building itself that stands out the most. Featuring a spherical observation deck and a stunning view of the Odaiba waterfront, the building’s sights are equally as impressive.
It also has an amazing view of Mount Fuji at dusk, which makes it all the more remarkable. One look at this would never give us the impression that this is a television building. It looks like something from out of space – totally futuristic and original.
14 Huis Ten Bosch Winter Light Show – where neon boats sail over Technicolor water
Not many light shows or winter shows look like this one in Nagasaki. With millions of light bulbs and illuminations, Huis Ten Bosch is a spectacular sight that has to be seen to be believed.
This resort is mainly famous for its Winter Light Festival which Yahoo has ranked as the top illumination display in Japan for three years running. That’s got to stand for something. Then again, we only have to see the pictures to realize this winter light show is anything but ordinary. It even has a stunning neon boat that sails over...wait for it...Technicolor water. Now if that’s not impressive, we don’t know what is.
13 Kirobo Mini – the perfect companion for car travel
Robots have become a big part of Japan’s society now. There is more robotics here than anywhere else in the world. That’s a big part of what makes Japan as a whole so futuristic and sci-fi-like. Robots are everywhere!
Another interesting device is Kirobo Mini, a little companion robot that can sit in a car’s cup holder and make conversation with us while we travel. Interesting concept, right? In fact, this little robot even encourages safe driving by saying phrases like ‘’oops’’ when the driver breaks suddenly. Best of all, he is small enough to carry around with us...if we get lonely and need some companionship on our travels.
12 Pepper, the robot front of house – we can order from his chest
At Hamazushi, a sushi restaurant in Japan, a humanoid robot named Pepper handles seating, escorts guests to their table and even allows us to order from the touch screen menu on his chest. It’s a really cool experience and for first-time visitors, a surreal experience for sure.
It’s not every day we go into a restaurant and deal solely with a robot, is it? It’s amazing how Pepper can handle so many things. But for Tokyo citizens, it’s just another day in the land of robotics. It’s becoming a part of their lifestyle.
11 Epson Aqua Park Shinagawa – a psychedelic experience
All aqua parks are thrilling to the eye, but this one in Tokyo is unreal. With neon lights, touch panel exhibits, and audiovisual displays, stepping into this aqua park is the most surreal, psychedelic experience we’ll ever have.
It gives us a true glimpse into the future of what it could be like in the year 3000. We can see in the picture above that it looks like something out of a sci-fi movie, but this kind of technology isn’t something unusual in Japan. Technology is everywhere and it is forever advancing. We can’t even imagine how aqua parks may look in another few years in Japan.
10 Smart Mirror – a mirror that tells us the truth
This looking glass is like nothing we’ll ever have looked into before. It can detect redness, pores, wrinkles and even sun damage. Even more impressive, the mirror offers product suggestions to address the skin problems. But wait...this Panasonic device gets even better. It actually allows us to virtually try out a selection of makeup looks. We can even print out the makeup on a sheet, which looks kind of like a temporary tattoo, from a 3-D printer to stick on our face. Now there’s something we’ve never seen or heard about before. Wow...just...wow! Yet the Smart Mirror has been around since 2016.
9 Robot Hotel – Be greeted by a robotic dinosaur
Like we said, robots are practically everywhere in Japan. Even in hotels, we’ll encounter humanoid robots that greet us at the reception. Well, at the five-star Henn-na Hotel in Nagasaki that is.
Japanese-speaking guests will be greeted by humanoid robots, while English-speaking guests are greeted by a robotic dinosaur. Now that would be an interesting greeting, wouldn’t it?
Droids at the hotel can also cart luggage to the hotel’s rooms and even clean up after us. How cool is that? Now there’s a hotel we wouldn’t mind staying in. It sounds like an experience of a lifetime and that’s just at the hotel reception.
8 Tokyo Skytree – the tallest tower in the world
Standing 634 meters high, Tokyo Skytree is the tallest self-supporting tower in the world. Now that’s quite an achievement, isn’t it? It was completed in 2012 and has quickly become the prime symbol of Tokyo. This striking white building is phenomenal to the point that we can’t emphasise its significance enough. However, we all already recognize Tokyo Skytree’s significance. Even just seeing pictures of the tower is enough evidence of that. Tokyo Skytree is more than a tower; it’s a multi-story complex of shopping, entertainment and dining as well as museums, souvenir shops and an aquarium. We could spend a whole week at Tokyo Skytree!
7 Robot Restaurant – where bikini-clad robots roll around on tanks
Situated in the Shinjuku, Robot Restaurant is one of Tokyo’s top tourist attractions. With cabaret, laser lights, dinosaurs and numerous robots, it’s one of the most entertaining shows on earth. It’s only been running since 2012, but it has quickly earned a worldwide reputation. Then again, how many restaurants have we heard of before that is full of 10-foot-tall transformer robots clad in sequined bikinis? It is like walking into an alternate reality here at Robot Restaurant.
Anyone who enjoys futuristic nightlife will love it here in Robot Restaurant. It will be an experience like no other.
6 Capsule hotels – we have to see them to believe them
With over 2.5 million daily commuters and rising dwindling space, the demand for practical and affordable accommodation was necessary. Thus was born the creation of capsule hotels, an inexpensive overnight solution for both businessmen and tourists.
Capsule pods come in all different sizes, but they remain minimalistic. We can stay in a room the size of a bedroom to a room as small as an oven – no exaggerating there! Although they might be affordable and small, there’s still something ultra-modern and futuristic about them.
As long as we’re not claustrophobic, these capsule sleeping pods are the perfect solution for cheap accommodation.
5 Aman Hotel Spa – an oasis above the city
The Aman Hotel Spa is not an ordinary spa hotel. Then again, what do we expect from Tokyo? It might rely on capsule hotels to feed lodging demands, but when it has space to build something immense, the city goes to town to make sure it is more than great. And there’s no doubt about it, the Aman Hotel Spa is extraordinary.
This six-floor hotel is brimming with natural light, amazing views of the city, and of course, it offers a wide range of classic treatments in a modern oasis. With those heated slate floors, we don’t have to worry about walking barefoot across cold floors. The hotel has everything sorted.
4 Pasona 02 – the farm of the future
Situated underneath the Pasona Building in the centre of Tokyo is Pasona 02, an underground farm often known as the farm of the future. Occupying 10,000 square feet in six different rooms, the Pasona 02 – created by the Pasona Group - is like nothing we have seen before. Through artificial lighting, hydroponics, and a controlled climate, over 100 crops are cultivated beneath busy Tokyo.
It was established to help make people aware of the way they use their environment. They hope that if the concept spreads, we could make more self-sufficient cities and feed more people.
3 Yodobashi Akiba Electronics Department Store
Anything that requires electricity – and we mean anything – will be sold here at Yodobashi Akiba Electronics Department Store. This 9-storey department store sells all kinds of gadgets – some we’ve probably never even seen before. It is way ahead of anything we’ve seen in the western world. It is located in Akihabara and is famous for its huge selection of electronic goods. It’s worth browsing every level of the store to see what they have on offer. And if we make it to the top floor, we can have fun hitting a few golf balls on their driving range – on the rooftop.
2 It’s like 22nd-century fashion in Akihabara district
We’ve all seen the pictures before of Japanese girls dressed as anime characters. That was no exaggeration. We really will see girls dressed like cartoon characters if we visit Tokyo. Specifically in the Akihabara district, we’ll spot numerous people dressed in what could be considered 22nd century fashion.
From future sci-fi steampunks to maids, don’t be shocked to see people – particularly the younger generation – dressed in these outfits. In Tokyo, people are not afraid to experiment with fashion and from where we’re standing, it looks like they are way beyond what we’re seeing in the Western world. Then again, are we ready for it just yet?
1 High tech toilets – we’d probably need a manual
Japan is known for its high tech toilets. There’s certainly nothing boring about toilet time in Japan. These remote-controlled toilets come with a variety of functions and settings that do all sorts of things. Some toilets in Japan even speak! Of course, we can’t speak to all of the toilets in Japan. But we can look forward to functions like seat warmers and massages. We’d really need a manual to use these toilets because they really do look so complex. However, we can’t say we wouldn’t be blown away by these futuristic works of art.
References: miraikan.jst.go.jp, cnn.com, japanvisitor.com, coolhunting.com, japan-guide.com, jpninfo.com,