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30 Unique Vending Machines We Encountered in Japan!

Culture

ReleaseMay 30, 2022

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Walking around Japan, you’re bound to see vending machines at almost every street corner. In fact, there are over 2.7 million of these machines placed throughout the country.
* Reference: Japan Vending System Manufacturers Association (as of late December 2021)
Here, we’ll be introducing the many vending machines in Japan discovered by the att.JAPAN editorial team. You won’t be able to resist stopping and trying them out!

What Are Vending Machines?

Vending machines are automated machines from which consumers can purchase various products and services upon payment. While most typically offer bottled and canned drinks, variations are multiplying, from those that sell fresh produce and frozen foods to those with extremely unique features.

30 Vending Machines We Encountered in Japan

〜Standard Vending Machines (Drinks and Cigarettes)〜


①Drinks: Kurihama Flower Park (Yokosuka City, Kanagawa)

The most common type of vending machine in Japan. This one is wrapped with a cute Godzilla design.
Godzilla design Vending Machine

②Alcohol: Omiya Ward, Saitama City, Saitama

A driver’s license is required to purchase from this type of vending machine!
Alcohol vending machine Alcohol vending machine

③Cigarettes: Higashiyodogawa Ward, Osaka City, Osaka

A tobacco shop’s cigarette vending machine. If you’re lucky, you can meet Wasabi, the tobacco shop’s very own cat! You must also have the “Taspo” IC card to purchase cigarettes from a vending machine.
Cigarettes vending machine Cigarettes vending machine Wasabi

④Green Tea: Shibuya City, Tokyo (Inside MEGA Don Quijote Shibuya Main Store)

“Chabacco” is a stick-type powdered tea sold inside cigarette box-like packages. In addition to its cute, retro design, there is also limited-edition packaging. You’ll be tempted to collect them all!
Check out the vending machine locations here: https://www.chabacco.jp/shop/index
Chabacco vending machine Chabacco vending machine

~Food Vending Machines~


⑤ Snacks: Shinjuku City, Tokyo (Inside JR Yotsuya Station)

A “Petit Mall” of vending machines operated by confectionary company Bourbon Corporation Japan. You can find this mini-mall throughout Japan, most often in train stations.
Snacks vending machine Snacks vending machine

⑥Cake: Saitama City, Saitama (In front of Belle Vie OMIYA SUNPALACE/GLANZ)

These cakes are presented in transparent containers, giving you a look at their stunning layers!
Cake vending machine Cake vending machine

⑦Fresh Flowers: Saitama City, Saitama (In front of Belle Vie OMIYA SUNPALACE/GLANZ)

This fresh flower vending machine stands next to the canned cake vending machine. You can buy flowers at the push of a button, whether for yourself or as a small gift.
Fresh Flowers vending machine Fresh Flowers vending machine

⑧Edible Insects: Shibuya City, Tokyo

In hopes of promoting interest in Japan’s edible insects, the product lineup focuses on edible insects produced exclusively in Japan.
Edible Insects vending machine Edible Insects vending machine

⑨Rice and Vegetables: Tako Town, Katori County, Chiba (Inside Michi-no-Eki Tako Ajisaikan Roadside Station)

This vending machine has it all, from “Tako Rice,” a rice brand from Tako, the local specialty Yamato-imo (Japanese yams), to roasted sweet potatoes. We went ahead and tried the yams!
Rice and Vegetables vending machine Rice and Vegetables vending machine

⑩Eggs: Ibara City, Okayama (Agri Foods Egg Shop)

You can purchase a minimum of 10 fresh eggs for 180 yen, 24 hours a day. While visiting the countryside, you just might find these locker-style egg vending machines!
Eggs vending machine Eggs vending machine

⑪Pre-cut Fruit: Kita Ward, Osaka City, Osaka (Inside Hankyu Osaka-umeda Station)

You can buy peeled or unpeeled, fresh-cut apples with honey sauce for around 200 yen any time you want.
Pre-cut Fruit vending machine Pre-cut Fruit vending machine

⑫Fresh Squeezed Orange Juice: Omiya Ward, Saitama City, Saitama (Inside Omiya ARCHE)

Enjoy a cup of fresh, machine-squeezed orange juice made from 3-4 oranges for 500 yen!
Fresh Squeezed Orange Juice vending machine

⑬Ice Cream: Takarazuka City, Hyogo

As its name suggests, this vending machine offers 17 different flavors of ice cream. Placed in train stations, parks, and amusement parks throughout Japan, you will come across this one quite often.
Ice Cream vending machine

⑭Local Cuisine: Hiroshima City, Hiroshima

This array of vending machines features local cuisine such as roast beef, Korean food, and yakitori (skewered chicken). There is even a microwave placed nearby that allows you to eat on the spot!
Local Cuisine vending machine

⑮Frozen Gyoza: Fukushima Ward, Osaka City, Osaka

This vending machine offers three types of gyoza made by the restaurant “Naniwa-no Ponchan Gyoza.” We couldn’t resist trying some ourselves! Small and juicy, they’re so delicious you won’t get enough.
Frozen Gyoza vending machine Frozen Gyoza vending machine

⑯Frozen Ramen: Nakano City, Tokyo

A frozen ramen vending machine next to a ramen restaurant. Savoring the restaurant’s flavors just got even easier!
Frozen Ramen vending machine

⑰Dashi: Asakusa, Taito City, Tokyo

A vending machine for dashi broth, an indispensable ingredient in Japanese food. You can easily purchase “Dashi Douraku,” a condiment made with grilled and dried flying fish. The vending machine is located in various regions throughout Japan, with 25 in Tokyo alone. You can find them all here: https://dashidouraku.com/machine/
Dashi vending machine Dashi vending machine

⑱Instant Ramen: Ota City, Tokyo (Inside Haneda Airport Terminal 2)

This vending machine offers about 20 types of instant noodles. It’s a great stop for those who missed out on buying souvenirs!
Instant Ramen vending machine

⑲Souvenir Snacks: Yodogawa Ward, Osaka City, Osaka (Inside JR Shin-Osaka Station)

“Fueki Nori,” the star product of an Osaka stationery manufacturer, has been gaining popularity for its retro cute charm. Candies, caramels, and other sweets tucked inside its adorable packaging make for the perfect Osaka souvenir.
Souvenir Snacks vending machine

~Vending Machines Offering Unique Services~


⑳10-yen Vending Machine: Fukushima Ward, Osaka City, Osaka

A unique Osaka spot known only to a select few! For as little as 10 yen, you can buy bottled drinks usually sold at 100-150 yen at other vending machines. Two of the vending machines drop a randomly selected drink for 10 yen, while the other offers a selection of 50-yen drinks (as of early May 2022). When we tried the 10-yen vending machine, we got a grape-flavored drink concocted to combat the summer heat.
10-yen vending machine 10-yen vending machine

㉑Sengoku Busho Vending Machine: Fukuchiyama City, Kyoto

Akechi Mitsuhide was a Sengoku Period busho (samurai general) with deep connections to the city of Fukuchiyama. At this vending machine, the character of Mitsuhide talks and sings upon pressing the purchase button. There are six of these vending machines throughout the city.
Sengoku Busho Vending Machine Sengoku Busho Vending Machine

㉒Surveillance Camera Vending Machine: Shinjuku City, Tokyo

Some vending machines take advantage of their public locations, protecting cities by being equipped with security cameras. One such vending machine exists at the foot of the Shinjuku Toho Building, home of the “Godzilla head” landmark in the Kabukicho district of Shinjuku. The vending machine also boasts a Godzilla design, making it safe to say that Godzilla is constantly monitoring the safety of Shinjuku.
Surveillance Camera vending machine Surveillance Camera vending machine

㉓Disaster Response Cup Vending Machine: Shinjuku City, Tokyo (Inside Tokyo Metropolitan Government Building)

Though this vending machine typically sells coffee in paper cups, it will temporarily serve free drinks during disasters. Having access to warm drinks during difficult times will surely help uplift spirits.
Disaster Response Cup vending machine

㉔Donation Box Vending Machine: Shinjuku City, Tokyo

This “Yubi Bokin” donation vending machine allows you to donate 2 yen for every drink purchased. Each vending machine specifies which charity your money will be going to, whether for disaster relief or barrier-free charities.
Donation Box vending machine

~High-tech Vending Machines~


㉕Innovation Vending Machine: Toshima City, Tokyo (Inside Ikebukuro Station)

Pre-order a drink online using the app “acure pass” and present a QR code to receive your purchase on-site at the vending machine. You can also buy a drink for a special someone by sending them the QR code. These vending machines are located inside JR East Japan train stations, mainly in the metropolitan area.
Innovation vending machine Innovation vending machine

㉖TThe Label Fruits: Shibuya City, Tokyo

Get a one-of-a-kind fruit latte with a customized drink and label design. Pre-order from the app and present your QR code to receive your drink at the store vending machine. Placing the order under a favorite idol’s name or based on their member color are popular ways people purchase their drinks.
The Label Fruits vending machine The Label Fruits vending machine

㉗Trading Cards: Kita Ward, Osaka City, Osaka (Inside JR Osaka Station)

You can purchase rare trading cards from this vending machine for 500-2,000 yen. The games range from Pokémon, Dragon Ball, Yu-Gi-Oh!, and others, so you’ll have to try your luck.
Trading Cards vending machine Trading Cards vending machine

㉘Stamps: Nakano City, Tokyo

This vending machine allows you to use a touch screen to create an original stamp in just 10-15 minutes. With English instructions available, you can make the perfect souvenir to remember your trip to Japan! In addition to engraving the English alphabet, the machine can also engrave English words converted to two random Japanese characters.
Stamps vending machine Stamps vending machine

㉙AI-Recommended Cosmetics: Shinjuku City, Tokyo

A vending machine by cosmetics brand “Kate.” AI will analyze your skin and facial impressions to provide a unique palette of four eyeshadow colors from 350,000 different application combinations. The eyeshadow palette also comes in a personalized package with your name on it. The machine is the only one of its kind in the entire world, and it is expected to travel to various locations.
Kate AI vending machine Kate AI vending machine

㉚Accessories: Shinjuku City, Tokyo (Inside NEWoMan Shinjuku)

A vending machine where you can easily purchase pearls produced in Uwajima (Ehime Pref.), Japan’s largest pearl production area. You can make a payment with a QR code or credit card.
Accessories vending machine Accessories vending machine
Conclusion
Although Japan is known as the vending machine capital of the world, the number of vending machines is actually decreasing each year. However, we are seeing more vending machines Japan-wide offering unique products, features, and services that take advantage of their public locations. Also emerging are state-of-the-art vending machines that make use of apps and AI.
So, what explains the rise of unique vending machines? There are many reasons, but we believe that the growing awareness of food waste, as well as no-contact, no-touch retail amid COVID-19 provide some explanation.
Why not make the most of this uptick in new, fascinating vending machines and go on a journey to discover them all?

Related Video
Watch the video of unique vending machines in Tokyo by Tokyo Convention & Visitors Bureau!
* The Japanese souvenir vending machine is not currently in place.


*The information herein is as of April 2022.

writerSHASHA

I’m SHASHA, born and raised in Osaka. You can find me simultaneously satiating my obsessions as a Korean idol otaku and enthusiast for 1980s culture. These days, I also enjoy visiting Tokyo’s myriad thrift shops and retro cafes. I hope to convey the deep charm of Japan to people overseas in an easy-to-understand way through interacting with friends worldwide!


Vending Machines in Japan
Vending Machines in Japan
index History of vending machinesReasons why the vending machine business has fl.....