Top 5 Japanese vending machines that you didn’t know you needed
Japan is notorious for its quirky and one-of-a-kind products and sub-cultures. From anime to fashion, cool and unique elements of Japanese culture have spread across the globe, but one perhaps mundane product has escaped people’s interest: Japanese vending machines.
1. 24-hour hot food vending machine
On those chilly days when you just need a quick meal to warm you up, 24-hour vending machines providing hot food are the perfect solution. While a five-star meal should not be expected, there is a fairly large selection of foods under ¥500. Whether you’re looking to sink your teeth into some crispy chicken or some sweet taiyaki, these unique vending machines will be sure to keep you happy and warm. Although they are not as common as typical drink machines, hot food vending machines are more commonly found in park areas and more isolated regions.
2. Alcohol vending machine
After a rough day at work, the first thing that some people may want to do is relax with a nice can of beer, or even a cup of sake! While alcoholic beverages are also sold at convenience stores, those who would rather not interact with other people on their quest will find comfort in such machines. Of course, underaged customers are discouraged from using the machines and most machines require ID confirmation. If you happen to be at the legal drinking age, which is 20 in Japan, enjoy the convenience and fun that these alcohol vending machines have to offer!
3. Ice cream vending machine
As someone who is obsessed with eating ice cream 365 days of the year, this type of vending machine is one of my favorites. These machines sell ice cream of popular companies like Glico and Lotte, so the quality of these sweet treats will exceed expectations. Especially attractive on hot summer days, ice cream vending machines are actually quite easy to find and are stocked with a variety flavors that everyone can enjoy. It might be a fun idea to try a different flavor every day once the ice cream eating season rolls around…
4. Umbrella vending machine
We all know that frustrated feeling when we leave the house without an umbrella, only to be caught in a sudden rainstorm in the middle of the day. In Japan, particularly during the rainy season, otherwise known as tsuyu, when the sudden downpour of rain is nothing out of the ordinary, having an umbrella on hand will end up being more important than ever. Of course, there will be times when the weather is deceivingly clear until the rain begins to fall; these are the times when umbrella vending machines can come in handy. Depending on the quality of the umbrella, a standard model is often available for under ¥500.
5. Banana vending machine
Last but not least, bananas! Perhaps one of the cutest vending machines I’ve seen, banana vending machines sell individually wrapped and sometimes whole bunches of bananas for customers to enjoy. These vending machines are perfect for those who need a refreshing and healthy snack. There are even some vending machines that sell apple slices and other pieces of fruit.
I find that people who live in Japan often overlook some of the most convenient and unique things in everyday life because we’re so used to seeing them. Vending machines are one of these mundane yet amazing things that people take for granted and I think it would be fun to experience and learn more about these wonderful contraptions!
Originally published at moving-japan.com.