Japan is the global pioneer in gadgets and gizmos designed for comfort, and the Japanese vending machines reign supreme. They can be found in both the city and the countryside, on mountaintops, suburban streets, and just about everywhere else you can think of, stocking things ranging from the most common to the most bizarre.
According to the Japan Vending System Manufacturers Association, there are more than 5 million Japanese vending machines across the country. This means that for every 23 people, there is a vending machine.
An Overview of Japanese Vending Machines
Except for 5 yen and 1 yen bits, most vending machines in Japan accept all coins. They also accept 1,000 yen bills in most situations. In certain situations, a picture or note next to the money slot would state if any other bills are approved, which may include the unusual 2,000 yen bill or, more likely, the regular 5,000 or 10,000 yen bill.
Many Japanese vending machines also offer the possibility of a hot drink, which is a real boon during the long, cold winter months. If two of the same drink appear, choose the one marked in red to get a cup of freshly brewed coffee, tea, or hot chocolate.
In Tokyo, touch screen vending machines can be found in certain JR East train stations. They have a camera and therefore can recommend a drink based on your gender and age, at least that’s what the developer claims on their Acure website.
A Deep Dive Into The Various Theories As To Why They Are So Common and Sought After
According to William A. McEachern, an economics professor at the University of Connecticut, Japan’s declining birthrate, aging population, and lack of immigration have all led to labor becoming scarce and expensive. High labor costs, according to Robert Parry, an economics lecturer at Japan’s Kobe University, are another reason why Japanese merchants have adopted vending machines so vigorously.
With 127 million inhabitants living in a country approximately the size of California, Japan is one of the world’s most populous countries, particularly when you realize that mountains cover about 75% of the land. Cities are home to 93 percent of the Japanese population.
Because of Japan’s dense population and high real-estate costs, people don’t have much room to buy consumer products, and Japanese businesses would rather put a vending machine on the street than open a physical business. “Vending machines generate more revenue per square meter of restricted real estate than retail stores,” Parry concluded.
Japan has long been recognized for having one of the lowest murder rates in the world, but it isn’t the only crime figure in which it excels. Although there is some controversy as to why Japan’s crime rate is so poor, one thing is clear: vandalism and property crime are extremely rare. Despite having tens of thousands of yen inside Japanese Vending Machines and being often housed in dark alleyways or uncrowded streets, vending machines are “rarely broken or stolen,” as per the Japan National Tourism Organization.
Here are 5 Unique and Weird Japanese Vending Machines in Tokyo
- AI Sakura-san – A multilingual concierge who is adorable. Her software includes a station guide, train link information, and she even uses voice commands to answer your questions. She may also suggest a beverage based on your age and gender using biometrics.
- Alcohol – You may come across a vending machine selling beer, lagers, and other alcoholic beverages. They’re usually found outside of mom-and-pop convenience stores, and they usually require a Japanese driver’s license to purchase alcohol. Within hotels, particularly business hotels, alcohol vending machines are very popular.
- Stock for Dashi Soup (Includes Whole Fish!) – In reality, this is a dashi vending machine. Many Japanese dishes use dashi soup stock as a base ingredient. It’s available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week with these vending machines! This particular company makes dashi with a whole fried flying fish inside it.
- MogBug – MOGBUG is a Japanese brand that aims to raise awareness about insect food. This vending machine has a wide selection of snacks, enough to please any adventurous eater.
- Bananas – A vending machine that only sells bananas They are individually wrapped and stored at 13°C (55.4°F). At 150 yen, they are slightly more costly than they would be in a convenience store.
Buying from Japanese Vending Machines: Few Pointers
Get your money ready for Japanese Vending Machines. To buy something from a vending machine in Japan, you’ll need coins or Japanese bills. Although we have found a small few that accept credit cards. Place money in the vending machine. You must find the cash slot and deposit your funds there. The machine’s lights will turn on to show that the transaction has started.
Choose the item you want to purchase. To choose your object, press the buttons on the vending machine. If you don’t know how to read Japanese characters, choose a product that you are familiar with or can clearly see. You may approach a local respectfully and they will normally assist you.
Japan is without a doubt the world’s leading vending machine country. With so many vending machines across the country, you can get almost everything you’d find in a store or restaurant. The technology of vending machines is developing all the time. As a result, we should expect more vending machine developments in Japan in the future.
Featured Image is by Fabrizio Chiagano