Vending Machine Heaven

When I visited Tokyo 1-2 years ago, I saw a new kind of vending machine. The vending machine looked like a very large smart phone. Immediately, I took a photo. People must have thought “Why is she taking a photo of a vending machine? She must be from the country side.” Haha.


(Photo Via Acure)

According to the company, Acure, that makes this smart phone looking vending machine,  if you download the App, you can buy a drink through the App and receive your beverage from the vending machine. Also, you can give your drink to other people through the App!

You can find vending machines everywhere in Japan. In big cities, you might be able to find a vending machine every 100M. According to the Japan Vending System Manufacturers Association, there are 2,474,600 beverage vending machines, in Japan in 2016. They sold 2,029,802,000,000 yen (about 20 billion U.S. dollers) total for the year. You can find so many kinds of drinks. They are really colorful and have various designs.!

Vending machines in Japan, sometimes sell alcohol or Tobacco. There are 24,600 alcohol vending machines and 193,300 tobacco vending machines. When you buy alcohol or tobacco from a vending machine, you need to use a card called Taspo. Taspo is a card that shows you are over 20 years old.  You can apply Taspo card by sending your photo and a copy of your ID through their website. It will take 2 weeks to get the Taspo card. However, there are tons of convenience stores every where, so many people don’t have Taspo card. They just buy tobacco directly from convinience stores.

Most beverage vending machines accept IC card payment. IC cards as Suica, Icoca and Pasmo… are sold at train station ticket machines. You can buy an IC card for about 500 yen, and you can add money to your IC card. You can use these IC card to ride trains, buy things at convinience stores or vending machines. Many small shops do not accept credit cards, so having IC card is very useful.

Some vending machines have lottery system. If you are lucky, you can get one free drink!

I’ve seen a vending machine in Namba, Osaka provide free drinks for people during a disaster to save lives. I was impressed. Also, there are beverage vending machines which which have WiFi available. The vending machines provide free WiFi when any disasters happen. Even when there is no disaster, anybody can use free WiFi for up to 60 munites per device. Travelers who are from outside of Japan can use the WiFi for free for up to 2 weeks. (It requires ID/PASS Card) (Telwel-east, 2018).

There are many vending machines that sell food too. Recently, there are vending machines, which sell sliced apples and it is popular. The calolrie for one bag is only 42Kcal. M.V.M company uses vitamin C to preserve the apples, seal it in airtight bags, so the apples are kept fresh (M.V.M, 2018).

Sometime, there are vending machines lined up, sided to side, in a row like this photo:


You can buy hot drinks and cold drinks from vending machines. I love drinking hot corn soup from vending machines in winter. Many people love drinking canned coffee. When you travel to Japan, it’s fun to use vending machines!



Leave a Reply