There are a lot of vending machines in Japan. A vending machine is called “jihanki” which is an abbreviation for “jido hanbaiki.” The benefits for owners are that they can save space and resources to sell their items because they don’t need to hire someone for its sales. They have to pay some running costs though. While the benefits of consumers are that they aren’t bothered by an annoying sales clerk. Once you like an item, you push a button. That’s a breeze, isn’t that? Therefore, items that sell at vending machines require something interesting to lure customers. I’m assuming that the company planning the items are working their butts off to surpass the customer’s expectations. I’m always curious what items are in vending machines. Of course, I don’t want to say what all vending machines are like in Japan, but I will warn you that some are frauds, so be careful. Is it just me? I’ll take a risk because “No pain, no gain,” right? On top of that, I’m sure it’ll be a special and deep souvenir in Japan. In my previous article, I wrote about beverage vending machines, so I’m going to share another type of vending machine.
If you have time, please kindly read them below.
Are you ready? Let’s get started!
1. Selling a Local Fresh Vegetables
There probably might be in the suburbs that is close to a patch of vegetables. You can get fresh local ones. For buying, first of all, you choose your favorite one among the options, and then, insert your bills. When the box opens, you can get it. Please make sure you close the box. Unfortunately, they are only written in Japanese in most cases, so you might want to use Google Translate. These vegetables are not in good shape but I bet the taste is great, for sure.
2. Fish in The Bottle
“Dashi(だし)” is soup stock based on dried fish, dried bonito, and dried kelp. You might know this type of vending machine because it’s been really famous for a long time since it’s on TV. It might be worth sharing on social media. Sorry for going off on a tangent, this maker offers to use a special dried fish which is called “Ago.” Ago is a kind of flying fish that is caught close to the sea of Nagasaki prefecture. And it is supposed to be the most prestigious soup stock using the one that is roasted over the charcoal. This maker is particular about other ingredients. This maker is not big enough so you can only see it in major cities like Hokkaido, Tokyo, Nagoya, Osaka, and Fukuoka. When it comes to dashi, once you get used to this taste in Japan, you can’t live with that. I usually use it as a secret recipe at the last minute instead of adding salt, soy sauce, and other condiments.
You might want to put it in to cook fried rice as the finishing. One more thing, you can eat the fish in the bottle. After you take the fish out, it’s best to crush them and eat them as Furikake with rice.
3. Fortune Lottery Vending Machines
You might see this type of machine, which looks like fraud, and you can’t take back your money. Actually, you can get valuable game consoles like PS5, Switch, and stuff. If you’re lucky, you can get it by paying only 1,000yen. For buying, it’s simple. After you insert a 1,000 yen bill, put your favorite button. There are a lot of junk toys and joke goods. I saw some YouTubers got a game console so I would say it’s not a scam but it’s less likely to get fortunes.
“Basashi” is a sliced horse meat sashimi, one of our traditional foods in Japan. I’m not going to lie, I don’t know much about how it would be effective for our bodies, scientifically. I believed that it would be high protein and low fat, and you can heal by putting it where you got burned. It also decreases your high blood pressure. So I feel energetic whenever I eat it. I eat it a couple of times a year with soy sauce and crushed ginger. Not so many but I do, maybe it might be our traditional food for me.
5. It’s a Small Café
There is a vending machine close to a bakery shop. At first, I wondered why they sell bread in the vending machine despite having a physical shop. Later, I realized vending machines can sell them twenty-four-seven without complaints. It workouts with humans sometimes. It’s a good idea to coincide with beverages, I’d say.
You might see this type of machine at train stations. These are selling a variety of snacks like chocolate bars, Calorie Mate, cut fruits, snacks, etc. When you feel hungry during your commute, it’s very convenient like a kiosk. Snacking is not that bad habit because you can relax at an office instantly. Don’t forget to rush when you push a button so that this kind of machine is going to have some trouble. Be sure to push a button step at a time.
That’s all for today. How was that? You’ll already get the hang of how to use vending machines in Japan won’t you? There might be interesting vending machines when you visit many places. I hope this article helps you. Thank you for taking the time to read my article to the end. I hope to see you soon.
I’ve been working at a trading company for many years. I live in Tokyo with my wife. Love skiing, traveling, IPAs, wine , X-treme sports, fashion, and learning English and Chinese.