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The Japanese City Where Beautiful Koi Fish Swim in Drain Channels

Can you imagine an inhabited city where the water running through the the drain channels is so pure that beautiful koi fish can swim in it? Well, such a place exists on Japan’s Kyushu island. It’s called Shimabara, and it’s quite a sight to behold.

When the area around Shimabara was affected by the natural disaster known as the “1792 Unzen earthquake and tsunami” which killed 15,000 people, no one imagined that the dozens of fresh water springs that started gushing out would one day put the city on Japan’s travel map and inspire its now famous nickname – the “City of Water”. There are at least 60 known springs throughout Shimabara, making clean water one of the city’s most abundant resources. There is so much of it, in fact, that it flows through the drain channels along some streets. But that’s not even the craziest thing about this place; because the water is so pure, at one point authorities decided to put some koi carp in the channels, and Shimabara became the City of Swimming Carp.

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This Famous Tree Log Has Been Floating Vertically for 120 Years And No One Knows Why

A floating tree stump known as the “Old Man of the Lake” has been bobbing in the blue water of Oregon’s Crater Lake for at least 120 years, baffling scientists with its upright orientation and allegedly even controlling the local weather.

The first account of the Old Man of the Lake dates back to 1896, when geologist and explorer Joseph Diller described a splintered and bleached white log floating vertically in Crater Lake. Five years later, Diller observed that the unusual log had moved 400 meters from the location it had originally been spotted at. Further research would show that the Old Man of the Lake is able to move more than four miles in just one day, despite lacking any apparent means of propulsion. How it’s able to do that is still a mystery, but it’s only one of many.

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This Whimsical Unicorn Cafe Is Probably the World’s Most Colorful Place

If you’re ever in Bangkok, Thailand, and you;re a fan of unicorns, ponies or just colors in general, there’s a place you simply must visit. It’s called “Unicorn Cafe” and, just like you’d expect, it’s full of plush unicorns, rainbows and lots of other colorful treats.

To say Unicorn Cafe is a colorful place would be an understatement. There’s colorful and there’s this place where even the food, including a multi-layered cake and spaghetti, come in all colors of the rainbow. There are plastic chandeliers and plush unicorns hanging from the ceilings, multi-colored couches, and tiny My Little Pony Toys decorating the tables. Did I mention you can put on a unicorn onesie to really get into a magical mood? It’s the kind of place you’d think only existed in someone’s acid trip, or in a pastel fantasy dream.

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Doll’s Head Trail – Probably the World’s Creepiest Hiking Trail

Just outside the city of Atlanta, in Georgia, lies one of the strangest, most disturbing hiking trails in the world – Doll’s Head Trail. Faithful to its name, this 1.5-mile course is lined with creepy doll heads that seem to be following you with their gaze as you walk by.

Long before it became home to the world’s creepiest hiking trail, Georgia’s Constitution Park was a huge 19th century brick laying site. But that shut down half a century ago, giving nature the chance to reclaim it, along with the deep clay pits which have since been flooded with rain water and created the network of ponds known as Constitution Lakes. And despite being located just a few miles from downtown Atlanta, this natural haven is home to several species of wild birds and even big game like deer. But the thing Constitution park is most famous for is its unique hiking trail, Doll’s Head Trail.

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How a Quirky Village Pond in Indonesia Became an Underwater Selfie Hot-Spot

It’s not very common for small ponds to have their own Instagram accounts, let alone tens of thousands of followers, but then again Umbul Ponggok is not your usual village pond.

Located in Indonesia’s Central Java region, Umbul Ponggok is a small pond measuring just 20 meters by 50 meters, but boasting the cleanest water imaginable. It is continuously fed with fresh water from 40 different springs, at a rate of 800 liters per second, so the water is always crystal clear. It’s this fascinating property that makes Umbul Ponggok an ideal location for underwater selfies, and in the age of Instagram you’d best believe people are taking advantage of it.

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Monet’s Pond – The Japanese Pond So Beautiful It Looks Like a Real-Life Monet Painting

Up until four years ago, Monet’s Pond, a small body of water just outside Seki City, in Japan’s Gifu Prefecture, didn’t even have a name, but thanks to social media and a catchy nickname, it has become one of the most popular tourist destination in the Land of the Rising Sun.

Before it became known as Monet’s Pond, this hidden gem was called Namonaki, or “Nameless Pond”, and what’s even more interesting is that it was never meant to be a tourist attraction. It was originally designed as an irrigation reservoir, but after it fell into disrepair during the 1990s, the owner of the neighboring  Itadori Flower Park took it upon himself to clear the overgrown weeds and clean it up. With the help of the neighborhood council, the man filled the lake with clean water from Mt. Koga, and planted beautiful water lilies. Later, Japanese carp were donated by local owners who could no longer care for them. But it would take over a decade and a half for this pristine body of water to reach its full potential as a tourist attraction.

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SkyCycle – Japan’s Sluggish Yet Terrifying Pedal-Powered Roller Coaster

Most roller coasters rely on speed, tight turns and steep slopes to get riders’ adrenaline levels up, but SkyCycle, a pedal-powered coaster ride in the Japanese city of Okayama is proof that roller coasters can be even more terrifying at low speeds.

Located on a greenery-covered hill at the Washuzan Highland amusement park in Okayama, SkyCycle is probably the world’s slowest roller coaster ride. That’s because it’s pedal-powered so it goes as fast as the rider can pedal. It doesn’t have any steep slopes or spectacular drops either, but it still manages to get your heart racing by constantly conveying an uneasy sense of danger and uncertainty. It may look like a quaint ride for people who are too scared to go on conventional roller coasters, but once you get on one of those flimsy carts and realize there’s nothing but a loose safety belt keeping you from falling to your doom, your pulse goes up instantly.

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Monte Neme – Spain’s Very Own Toxic Maldives

During the same time that a turquoise but toxic lake near the Russian city of Novosibirsk is making international headlines as the “Siberian Maldives“, a similarly dangerous attraction is gaining notoriety in Spain.

During the first and second World Wars, Monte Neme was a prized tungsten mine that supplied the material necessary for making light bulbs and hardening steel. Today, the mine is no longer accessible, but it remains popular, albeit for a totally different reason. Galician influencers have discovered that the turquoise lake that now covers the flooded mine is the ideal location for spectacular selfies. Despite knowing that the alluring water contains a high concentration of chemicals that give it its unusual color, they flock to Monte Neme to take photos, and some even bathe in the toxic water.

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The Siberian Maldives – An Alluring But Dangerous Tourist Attraction

Russian Instagram users in search of the perfect selfie have been flocking to a lake near the Siberian city of Novosibirsk that boasts turquoise water and white sandy beaches similar to those in the Maldives. But unlike the popular Indian Ocean archipelago, there is nothing natural about its beauty.

Dubbed the “Siberian Maldives” or “Novosibirsk Maldives”, the gorgeous lake is actually a man-made toxic dump used to dump ash from a nearby coal plant. The water apparently gets its bright turquoise color from its depth and the calcium salts and other metal oxides dissolved in it. Alluring as it may seem at first glance, the Siberian Generating Company (SGC) warns that its ash-dumping pond has a high pH of more than 8 and cause an allergic allergic reaction in contact with human skin. That hasn’t stopped people from posing for photos on the lake’s beaches and even venturing on the water on paddle boards and inflatable unicorns.

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World’s Longest Water Slide Will Take You on a Four-Minute Ride Through a Malaysian Jungle

Located on a jungle-covered hillside in Malaysia, the new 1,140-meter-long water slide being built at Penang’s Escape Theme Park will most likely be declared the longest in the world when it opens, in August 2019.

The current Guinness record for the world’s longest water slide has been held by the 605-meter slide at Action Park, in New Jersey, since 2015, but in just two months time it will be claimed by a new water slide currently under construction in the Malaysian state of Penang. Already 65 percent complete, the slide already measures 705-meters-long, and when finished will take thrill-seekers on an epic 4-minute ride from the top of a hill, through a lush jungle before, dropping them into a large swimming pool at the bottom. Escape Theme Park announced that the remaining 435-meter section of the water slide will be completed in time for its August inauguration.

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This Russian Beach Is Covered With Hundreds of Man-Made Stone Towers

Cape Vyatlina, one of the most picturesque places in the Russian Far East, has come to be known as the Russian Stonehenge in recent years, after people started building stone towers on its rocky beach. Today, there are hundreds of them, and new ones are erected almost every day.

The tradition of building towers at Cape Vyatlina by stacking stones of various sizes on top of each other started in 2015, when a group of activists from Vladivostok built 155 such monuments in celebration of the city’s 155th anniversary. Many of these original towers, some up to 3.5-meters-tall, were destroyed by the collapse of a nearby grotto, but other locals and tourists took it upon themselves to restore them and even add to their number. Today, there are several hundreds of these hand-stacked stone towers covering the beach at Cape Vyatlina and building them has become somewhat of a superstition.

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Shinjuku Tiger – Tokyo Living Legend Has Been Wearing a Tiger Mask for 45 Years

Yoshiro Harada, a newspaper delivery man from Tokyo, Japan, was only 24 years old when he decided to live the rest of his life as a tiger and became Shinjuku Tiger. Today, at age 69, he is considered a living legend of the business district.

Born in Nagano Prefecture, Harada moved to Tokyo in 1967 to attend Daito Bunka University. He started delivering newspapers while he was still in school, and eventually decided to quit the university and dedicate himself to his job full time. He can’t really recall the reason he quit his studies, all he knows is that he wanted to quit. The same can be said about his beginnings as Shinjuku Tiger. One day in 1972, as he was attending a shrine festival in Kabukichō, an entertainment and red-light district in Shinjuku, he passed by a row of shops and noticed one of them was selling colorful, plastic tiger masks. That’s when it hit him, he was going to live the rest of his life as a tiger.

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Solothurn – The Swiss Town Obsessed with the Number 11

Solothurn is a picturesque town in the north-west of Switzerland known primarily for its special affinity for the number 11. It seems like everything in this place was designed around this magical number, from the fact that there are precisely 11 churches and chapels, as well as eleven historical fountains, eleven museums and eleven towers in Solothurn, to the rather bizarre clock in the town square that features an 11-hour dial and the number 12 missing.

Although virtually everyone in Solothurn knows about the town’s obsession with the number 11, its origin is shrouded in mystery. Some say it was inspired by a folk legend about magical elves coming down from the nearby Weissenstein mountain to hearten the people of Solothurn, who worked hard but never prospered. The grateful inhabitants started incorporating the number 11, or ‘elf’ in German, as a tribute for the creatures’ aid. But there are also those who claim that the number 11 has biblical connotations, deeming it holy and prophetic. One thing’s for sure, though, Solothurn’s obsession with this number can be traced back centuries.

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Montenegro’s Water Tree – A Rare Natural Phenomenon

The small village of Dinoša, in Montenegro, is home to an old mulberry tree that turns into a water fountain every time it rains heavily.

As we all know, water doesn’t normally gush out of living trees, but at least in this case the phenomenon has a perfectly reasonable explanation. You see, the meadow that the mulberry tree grows in has many underground springs which flood during heavy rainfalls, and the additional pressure pumps the water up through the hollow trunk of the tree and out through a hole a few feet above the ground.

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Conch Island – A Man-Made Island Built Out of Millions of Conch Shells

Conch “Island” isn’t technically an island, but a mountain of conch shells discarded by fishermen in the same place over hundreds of years.

Located just east of Anegada, the second largest of the British Virgin Islands, in the Caribbean, Conch Island is both a stunning tourist attraction and a testimony to the popularity of conch meat in this part of the world. For centuries, local fishermen have been diving in the shallow waters on this side of Anegada in search of these, slow-moving, edible marine snails and many of them have been throwing their large shells in the same spot. The shell mountain that is Conch Island is a result of their perseverance.

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