Fully Explained: (Weird) Vending Machines of Japan

Everywhere in Japan, you’ll see them. Sometimes they’re alone, sometimes they’re in a group, smoking thin cigs together and sniffing glue. They hang out in big streets, in malls, little side streets by the concrete parking lot. I’m talking about…street vending machines in Japan.

20170301_153532.jpgA vending machine that serves cold and warm drinks. The ones labeled red come out warm. You could buy the same ones in a konbini for a bit cheaper. This machine is very tea/coffee centric; the selection of drinks vary widely depending on the machine.

I would like to call vending machines the oasis of the streets, but really, there are so many konbinis around that I didn’t have to resort to going to a vending machine. I would buy from them just for the novelty of having done so. They are on almost every street in Japan, and it’s fun to see what each of them offer.

I think I saw like, two Japanese people use these during my 30 days here. Maybe when the weather gets warmer, more people will use them. I saw uniformed workers filling up these vending machines every morning, so people must buy from them, though.

They can get very strange on you.

20170224_140715.jpg This one has a whole dried fish in the bottle. This is not for leisurely drinking. You use the broth in these bottles to add to your soups when you’re cooking.

20170323_114019.jpg At Haneda Tokyo airport, they sell these wooden wish plaques for you write your wish and hang up on a wall, like you would at a temple.

20170224_071048.jpg“Psst…Want some crack?” How bad-ass does this vending machine look, right by the parking lot?

20170301_050259.jpg 20170301_050642.jpg This “yogurthie” was delicious. I tried to find this in konbinis but never succeeded. Are they limited vending machine editions, or something? They had little chewy jellies inside that were so satisfying to nibble on.

20170317_120658.jpg 20170317_120706.jpgYou’ll see these “1 coin” machines around. 1 coin= 100 yen coin. These are actually cheaper than buying at a konbini. I got a drink from my childhood, Pocari Sweat. It tastes like yuzu flavored sweat. I’d see this pop up in Slam Dunk and crave it.

20170301_151713.jpg 20170301_151923.jpgThis machine was in an indoor mall. Large malls will have these vending machines around, even though there are konbinis inside the mall. You’ll never be thirsty in Japan, basically. This apple juice was delicious.

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