10 Mindblowing Japanese Vending Machines 2023

A trip to Japan is guaranteed to blow your mind every few minutes. When foreigners come to Japan for the first time, especially to Tokyo, one thing that is sure to catch their eye is how many vending machines there are. Vending machines are in almost every country in the world. However, what’s surprising is how many of them there are in Japan. 

There are more than 4 million vending machines, and more than 2 million of them sell drinks. Every time you turn a corner in Tokyo, you’ll see one. Colorful and clean, it has a wide range of drinks to quench your thirst. Vending machines are always there to help people in Tokyo get what they need. 

History Of Japanese Vending Machines

Vending machines do not only exist in Japan or were first made here. The first vending machine was actually made a long time ago. In 251 BC, in Alexandria, the first vending machine was made. It was a place to get holy water. You put a coin in a slot, and the weight of the coin made a lever move so that a vial of holy water came out. Based on the weight of the coins, different amounts of holy water would come out. The first vending machine was made in Japan in the year 1888. It was made by Tawaraya Koshichi. Koshichi’s machine was a common type of vending machine that still sells tobacco today.

Different Vending Machines

Apart from the usual vending machines that sell beverages, there are also vending machines that sell eggs, bananas, umbrellas, and even mystery gifts. In short, you have vending machines for almost everything in Japan.

Popcorn

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On the Nishi-Koya Highway in Wakayama prefecture, you can get popcorn from this vending machine. At 100 yen, the price is fair, and there are three flavors to choose from: curry, butter, and lightly salted. The smell of fresh popcorn is the best when you press the button. Even though the machine looks old, the popcorn it makes is fresh and delicious. One of the most exciting things about Japan is that even things that look old and useless are kept in great shape.

Umbrella

The idea of a vending machine selling umbrellas is unique and useful. It’s terrible to forget your umbrella on a rainy day. But you shouldn’t get stuck and worry even if it rains a lot in Tokyo. Tokyo’s umbrella vending machine is a lifesaver when it’s raining outside. People can get an umbrella that will work well even on the rainiest days from a vending machine.

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The weather in Japan is known for being very bad. From the beginning of June to the middle of July, rain can come out of nowhere in Japan. Because of this, you should never be caught without an umbrella. You’re lucky that they have enough umbrella vending machines. The umbrellas only cost 500 yen, but they are surprisingly strong for how cheap they are.

Surgical Mask

If you’re out and about and have a slight cough or are in a crowded place like the subway and want to avoid getting sick, you should always wear a surgical mask. Is there no quick-stop store close by? Then one of these machines that sell surgical masks could be very helpful. They were also not too expensive—about 200 yen.

Source: ft.com

There are a few mask dispensing machines on the streets of Tokyo. At Haneda Airport, there is a machine that has paper surgical masks in it. On the trendy streets of Harajuku and Aoyama, you can find more interesting and fun cloth mask vending machines. In many Asian countries, especially Japan, it is common for people to wear surgical masks daily.

Fish Broth

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People who have run out of this oceanic flavor will find the dashi vending machine interesting. In this machine, the top row of bottles is just cold water, and the bottom row is ago dashi, which is made from flying fish. There are two kinds of dashi to choose from at these vending machines. Make sure that the drink you get from a vending machine in Japan isn’t soup or broth. You can buy dashi, which is soup broth, from vending machines. In Japanese cooking, dashi stock is used a lot. It is often made from kombu (kelp) or katsuobushi (dried smoked bonito flakes). It can also be made from fish or mushrooms, like in this case.

Ready-to-eat Meal

Source: vendingmarketwatch.com

These vending machines in Japan provide ready-to-eat meals that can be taken on the move. Hot Menu is a well-known stand that provides customers with an extensive selection of foods, including spaghetti, onigiri, french fries, dim sum, and many other recipes for quick bites. People taking a brief food break will find it to be the ideal vending machine to use. After selecting what you want, clicking on it, and paying for it, you simply have to wait for it to heat up for two minutes, and voila! You now have a meal that can sustain you for the rest of the day.

Hamburgers

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This tiny store in a residential area of Tokyo would be completely unnoticed if it didn’t have a machine on the outside that looked like it was made by a kid. The “Tateishi Burger for Everyone Vending Machine” sells their lovingly made burgers for just 100 yen each. Look for this crazy idea of a hamburger vending machine when fast food isn’t fast enough. At the front of its shop in Tokyo, a restaurant has put in a vending machine that is always stocked with burgers. If you don’t have time to order, you can just drop some coins in and get a fresh burger.

Random Drinks

Source: content.fun-japan.jp

The fact that you won’t be able to predict the results adds to the excitement of the situation. This particular vending machine may have been discovered in Fukushima, which is located in Osaka. Why don’t you come on over here and give this mysterious vending machine a go at your money? Buyers have reported that carbonated drinks are among the most popular drinks that are released, but juice beverages do, on occasion, make an appearance.

Underwear

Source: vice.com

This vending machine selling underwear will, of course, be on the list. People often think that the vending machines in Tokyo that sell underwear sell used underwear, but this isn’t true. They used to be in the back alleys of Akihabara about 10 or 15 years ago, but the law is strict now, and they are no longer allowed. Some shops around here sold used underwear, not always from vending machines, but the police shut them down. Today, the machines that sell underwear are more of a joke than a weird fetish. And you can get your own for just 1000 yen.

Flower

Source: redd.it

You might find these flower vending machines on the lower levels of Shinjuku station. These vending machines are pretty big, giving out full-size bouquets that can even be in glass vases. This is a great option for salarymen who might not have time to stop at a florist on their way home to their loved one. The flowers come in many different sizes, from a single rose to a whole bunch. They’re changed every day, so there’s always something new.

Alcohol

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It’s not surprising to find beverages like water, juice, coffee, and the like in a vending machine, but alcoholic beverages? It is possible that you will come across a vending machine that sells beer, sour mixes, and several other alcoholic drinks at some point. They are typically found in the parking lots of smaller, family-owned liquor stores, and in order to obtain a drink from one of them, a Japanese driver’s license is required. In hotels, particularly those catering to business travelers, one can frequently find alcohol vending machines. In most cases, these can be used without the need for any kind of documentation.

Vending machines in future

Japan has always been a cash-based society, so most traditional vending machines are run by coins. But newer versions in big cities have touch screens and can take most forms of payment, such as credit cards or IC Cards (prepaid cards used for public transportation). The most advanced machines have facial recognition technologies that suggest items based on the customer’s age and gender by looking at them through a camera in the machine.

Customers can also buy things through an app or use the app to buy drinks for their friends. Their machines can also be set up to sell in places like schools or art museums. This makes it possible to show off products in a much better way, and the bright LED screens can be used to show ads. Some screens even change depending on the time of year, showing things like cherry blossoms or snowy landscapes.

How to use it?

It’s not hard to figure out how vending machines work in Japan because they work the same way they do everywhere else. You just put in the money and choose what you want. To pay with IC cards or electronically, you first choose the item and then bring the card or device (like a cell phone, Apple Watch, etc.) to the card reader. In the city, vending machines are an important part of everyday life, and you can always count on them to be there. Strange vending machines like these make it more fun to walk around the city.

Wrapping up

In the city, vending machines are an important part of everyday life, and you can always count on them to be there. Unusual vending machines like these make it more fun to walk around the city. During a pandemic, vending machines turned out to be the best thing and helped people to keep a social distance from each other. I hope you’ve enjoyed our list of the top vending machines in Japan.

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