20 Fascinating Japan Vending Machines

Japan’s vending machine landscape is staggering, with a staggering 5.5 million units nationwide. These machines, offering a vast array of products, embody the country’s ingenuity and practicality. They cleverly circumvent the high cost of retail space, serving consumers directly on the street.

Japan Vending Machines
Japan Vending Machines

Japan has been perfecting this automated retail since the 1950s, resulting in some of the world’s most unique vending experiences. For travelers, the sheer variety of vending machines makes Japan an intriguing destination.

Japan Food Vending Machines

Food vending machines are the most common ones in Japan and all around the world. However, you might get shocked to know that the Japanese have vending machines for basically every food they have.

You can even find some vending machines selling bizarre food. 

1. Japan Drinks Vending Machine 

Japan Vending Machines
Japan Drinks Vending Machine

Japanese vending machines elevate a global concept with their original flair, offering an array of drinks in eye-catching units.

Positioned in bustling terminals and stations, they provide a quick refreshment stop for on-the-go commuters. This seamless integration into daily transit exemplifies Japan’s innovative approach to convenience.

2. Ice Cream Vending Machine

Japan Vending Machines
Ice Cream Vending Machine

Japan’s summer is sweetened by the presence of seventeen ice cream vending machines, offering a cool treat in numerous flavors across 27,000 locations.

The machine at Shinagawa Aqua Park stands out, leading in sales and delighting not just locals but tourists with its multilingual options. This unique vending experience highlights Japan’s commitment to convenience and cultural charm.

3. Japan Cup Noodles Vending Machine

Japan Vending Machines
Japan Cup Noodles Vending Machine

Japan’s innovative cup ramen vending machines cater to those seeking quick, hot meals in places like capsule hotels and manga cafes. These machines not only dispense a variety of ramen but also provide hot water for immediate enjoyment.

This convenience transforms a simple snack into an accessible, on-the-spot dining experience.

4. Egg Vending Machine

Japan Vending Machines
Egg Vending Machine

In the serene Japanese countryside, egg vending machines bridge the gap between local farmers and consumers, providing a direct source of fresh eggs. This innovative approach bypasses traditional retail, making the simple act of buying eggs a novel and enjoyable encounter.

5. Hot Food Vending Machine

Japan Vending Machines
Hot Food Vending Machine

For those in a rush, 24-hour hot menu vending machines serve up warm meals at any hour, perfect for late-night dinners or quick bites. Unique to this innovative concept, frozen foods are stored and cooked within the machine, a rarity beyond the Japanese landscape.

6. Ramen Vending Machine 

Japan Vending Machines
Ramen Vending Machine

Ramen vending machines have emerged as a culinary savior, offering pre-cooked ramen kits for fans craving a late-night or anytime noodle fix. These convenient machines dish out restaurant-style ramen, ensuring a gourmet experience in the comfort of home.

7. Japan Vegetable Vending Machine 

Japan Vending Machines
Japan Vegetable Vending Machine

The vegetable vending machine is one of the vending machines you can only find in Japan. You can easily find these vending machines in the residential and rural areas of Japan.

When you need to do some groceries, you don’t have to go far to the mart and make a long queue to pay for your fresh vegetables. You can just go to the nearest vegetable vending machine and make a quick purchase.

8. Grilled Meat Vending Machine

Japan Vending Machines
Grilled Meat Vending Machine

Grilled meat vending machines have become a novel solution in Japan, providing seasoned meats for home cooking, especially during restaurant closures in the pandemic. They offer a contactless, convenient way to enjoy a savory meal, despite dining restrictions.

9. Dashi Vending Machine

Japan Vending Machines
Dashi Vending Machine

One of the weird vending machines in Japan would be the dashi vending machine. You might mistook this one for the ordinary drink vending machine. Dashi is the basic stock that Japanese use in their cooking. It comes in cans or bottles, thus it might come out just like a drink.

Since most people in Japan use this for cooking, they sell it in vending machines for easy access to the product.  

10. Curry Vending Machine

Japan Vending Machines
Curry Vending Machine

Japanese people love their curry so much that they have it in vending machines. This is another type of hot food vending machine that provides you with different kinds of curry dishes. Apparently, these curry vending machines have been around for at least 30 years.

These days, the technology has been improving and will allow them to serve better quality curry and rice for all. 

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11. Gyoza Vending Machine

Japan Vending Machines
Japanese Gyoza Vending Machine

Gyoza vending machines in Japan offer a twist on traditional dumpling access, thriving as a creative response to the pandemic’s impact on restaurant sales. These machines ensure gyoza lovers can still savor their favorite dish, despite reduced dining options.

12. Rare Sake Vending Machine

Japan Vending Machines
Rare Sake Vending Machine

Aside from the liquor vending machines, you can also find sake vending machines. These vending machines even sell the rare sake for you. Sake is a Japanese traditional alcoholic beverage made from fermented rice.

If you are a big fan of sake, you might want to visit the Ponshukan Sake Museum. There is an extensive sake vending machine which allows you to taste different kinds of sake.

13. Bread In Can Vending Machine 

Bread In Can Vending Machine
Source: Pinterest (@flickr.com)

In Japanese vending machines, you can find not only canned drinks, but also canned bread. Selling bread in vending machines might be risky. The machines might have flattened the bread along the whole process.

Thus, the Japanese have figured out a way to prevent this by putting it inside a can. Don’t forget to find these bread in can vending machines on your next visit to Japan. 

14. Edible Insects Vending Machine

Japan Edible Insects Vending Machine
Japan Edible Insects Vending Machine

Edible insect vending machines in Japan are catching eyes, offering a quirky yet sustainable protein option in flavored varieties. This entrepreneurial venture aims to normalize insect consumption and intrigue those looking for unique souvenirs.

Japan Non-Food Vending Machines 

Japan also sells unique non-food things on their vending machines. The Japanese are all super busy so these non-food vending machines will be their go to for shopping. We will cover some of the most unique non-food items cold in Japan vending machines. 

15. Flower Vending Machine

Japan Flower Vending Machine
Source: Pinterest (@weheartit.com)

When you don’t have time to order some flowers as gifts, you can buy them on the go through these vending machines.

The flowers are already wrapped nicely into bouquets. It is super easy and fast, perfect for the busy people in Japan. Before a date, don’t forget to buy some flowers from these vending machines. 

16. Tobacco Vending Machine 

Japan Tobacco Vending Machinea
Japan Tobacco Vending Machine

Japan’s cigarette vending machines, numbering around 570,000, come with a safeguard: the Taspo card system, ensuring only legal-aged residents can purchase tobacco. This measure effectively restricts access for minors and foreigners, reflecting the country’s commitment to responsible sales.

17. Japan Film Camera Vending Machine

Film Camera Vending Machine
Japan Film Camera Vending Machine

If you forget to bring your camera on your trip to Japan, you don’t need to worry. You can find these vending machines which sell some disposable film cameras. So, you can still take nice pictures of your trip in Japan.

Brands like Fujifilm and Kodak have set up their own vending machines around the city that sell these film cameras. 

18. Pokemon Vending Machine

Pokemon Vending Machine
Source: Pinterest (@Mark Zarin)

Haneda Airport in Japan features cutting-edge Pokemon vending machines, offering exclusive merchandise with unique packaging for collectors. These digital kiosks are a treasure trove for Pokemon enthusiasts, providing last-minute, one-of-a-kind souvenirs.

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19. Japan Buddhist Amulet Vending Machine

Buddhist Amulet Vending Machine
Japan Buddhist Amulet Vending Machine

Japan’s unique Buddhist amulet vending machines offer spiritual keepsakes on-the-go, blending tradition with modern convenience. Accessible on city streets and temple grounds, they provide a quick, sacred memento without the need for a temple visit.

20. Mystery Vending Machine

Mystery Vending Machine
Source: Pinterest (@flickr.com)

Mystery vending machines add an element of surprise to the shopping experience, enticing customers with the thrill of the unknown. This playful twist on conventional vending captures the essence of innovation and amusement.

Final Thought

Japan’s 5.5 million vending machines transform convenience into an art, providing a vast array of items from essentials to the extraordinary. They are a testament to Japanese innovation, catering to a fast-paced lifestyle while becoming an attraction for visitors. This vending machine culture showcases Japan’s unique fusion of tradition, technology, and efficiency.

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FAQs (Frequently Asked Questions)

What is so special about Japanese vending machines?

Japanese vending machines stand out by offering an unexpected variety of items, combining speed, low cost, and accessibility with advanced technology. This puts Japan at the forefront of the vending machine industry, showcasing their ability to vend virtually anything.

How much do Japanese vending machines make?

One Japanese vending machine could make around $300 per month. If it is located in a strategic location, it could make up to $3750 per month. Looking at the profit you can make, owning one or two vending machines would be a great source of passive income for you. 

Drinks are the most popular items sold in vending machines. It ranges from juices to coffee to alcohol. Snacks would be another popular item sold in vending machines. They are popular because it gives people easier access to buying small snacks and drinks especially during commutes. 

What are some weird vending machines in Japan?

Snack and drinks vending machines are too ordinary for Japan. In Japan, you can find vending machines that sell vegetables, Buddhist amulets, umbrellas, and even real life puppies.

You can basically buy anything you want and need from wedding machines. 

How do Japanese vending machines work?

Just like any other vending machine you could find anywhere else, you need to make a payment first before choosing what you want to buy.

Most vending machines in Japan still accept cash and some also accept payment with transportation cards too. 

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