From drinks to bananas: introducing vending machines in Japan
One of the things you will notice as soon as you walk on the streets of Japan are the VENDING MACHINES! You must have noticed at least one drinks vending machine around each block, but did you know there are many other unique vending machines selling all sorts of things.
Let’s start with a basic vending machine.
This one is a touchscreen, digital vending machine. When people are not using it, you will see screens showing the weather forecast as well as ads.
Once you stand in front of it, the screen changes and you can see the drinks available.
Depending on the season, the drinks change. In winter, you will see “red” or “blue”; red stands for hot or warm drinks and blue is for cold drinks.
In summer, most of the machines sell only cold ones.
Next we have a cute vending machine inspired by the cow!
This one sells all sorts of diary products.
Vending machines with popular characters in Japan! This one is a Pokemon but you will also see other trending characters.
At first, it seemed that the machine was only for drinks but on a closer look, you can see that you can also buy character figures!
So what can you buy other than drinks at a vending machine?
Ice cream vending machines are seen in shopping malls, around swimming pools or parks as well as train platforms.
You can also buy bread, sweets, chocolates and sometimes in vending machines in schools also sell onigiri (rice balls made using rice filled with different ingredients).
At a Natto (fermented slimy soybeans) specialty store, we found a vending machine selling all kinds of natto.
At Shibuya Station, we found a banana vending machine! Perfect for those fitness geeks as well as vegetarians or vegans!
Did you know oden (dish of various ingredients, e.g. egg, daikon, potato, chikuwa, konnyaku, etc. stewed in soy-flavored stock) is also sold in cans and you can find these at vending machines too! Sometimes, you will also find corn or miso soup.
One of the most weird machines was the one selling yakitori (skewered chicken), muffins and chocolate danish…
If you see the cost, its quite high so we wonder how delicious these were!
And sometimes between a coffee and a juice, what do yo find? A can of bite-sized pineapples.
Since it seemed like a drinks machine and the price was the same as the next drink, we were shocked to see fruit!!
Then there are potato chips and next to it are these bells! #OnlyInJapan
It is a bit surprising to see food and other goods sold in the same vending machine but there are also dedicated vending machines for products.
You can find vending machines selling Japanese souvenirs in popular tourist spots.
At train station, you can find items related to trains or that particular station.
Close to playgrounds, we found a vending machine sells toys for children like balls.
Sometimes, you see train models, insects, toothpastes among other things. But the most surprising was finding an Emergency Kit!!
So these were some of the interesting ones we found in the Tokyo area, if you find any other interesting ones in other regions of Japan, do let us know!!