- What will you find in the vending machines in Japan?
What will you find in the vending machines in Japan?
At first, the fun in observing Japanese vending machines lies in witnessing the variety of products that are available for automated sale. An astonishing amount of appliances throughout the country provide variety and character to the consumer experience. When you participate in this automated commerce, you are sure to see the usefulness, inventive spirit, and beauty that lie in the use and observation of these machines.
Japanese Automation at Your Service
Vending machines (jidōhanbaiki) have become a mainstay in Japanese life because of their ability to serve an amazing array of consumer items 24/7. This appeals to the busy company employees, students, travelers, and ordinary citizens that want and need consumable products at reasonable prices. On your trip, you may find one of the convenient machines that dispense small souvenirs of your travels.
A Noted Part of the Culture
There are plentiful Instagram feeds with views of the various types of vending machines found on streets in Japan. The most prevalent type of vending machines are for hot and cold drinks. Everything from soft drinks, juices, milk, coffee, tea, energy drinks, beer, get sold from machines. In many cases, these devices have an excellent view of the products and look like well-lit convenience store shelves. Regularly, some drinks are sold as vending machine exclusives, adding to their desirability and cachet.
Residents of densely-populated cities only need to go to street level to find goods for sale nearby. Vending machines occupy sidewalks alongside storefronts. During the colder months, getting a quick can of soup from a machine on your block can give you a warm afternoon boost. The vending machines outside temples that sell paper fortune-telling sheets called omikuji, although considered controversial by some, provide a useful service for many visitors to those sacred places.
From the Familiar to the Unusual
An automated laundry soap dispenser tends to be a familiar concept for most tourists from around the world, but how about being able to get your sweetheart a flower bouquet or your mother a bottle of fish stock from a machine? The versatility of the vending machines’ offerings is one of the keys to their success. Sometimes, the versatility of the automation makes the machine sought after. For example, a machine that sells bags of rice will also polish it for a little extra money.
Other machines that are less ubiquitous than the drink vendors are for things that many Japanese would rather not buy from a person. Items such as condoms and costumes are stocked in vending machines to provide sales without awkwardness.
With Japanese design fusing functionality with aesthetics, you can be sure of an engaging experience when you venture to use the machines. The surface areas of the machines are perfect for displaying marketing and branding images while they sell products. The aesthetic use of functional cues helps consumers understand the temperature of the drink selections they consider. It is guess-free if you remember the color coding; red for warm and blue for cool. Functionalism also means that the machines fit into their surroundings. On narrow streets, you will likely find vending machines that are proportional to the space available.
The versatility of the Japanese vending machines makes them leaders in efficiency. Slim and energy-saving vending units can be installed alongside the narrowest of walkways and stabilized by steel reinforcement rods. They provide shopping options for small items like electronics while making use of the limited room.
A Turn-Key Proposition
Many Japanese entrepreneurs have taken hold of the opportunity that vending machine ownership offers. The work to keep the machine clean and stocked can be delegated to businesses that specialize in vending machine maintenance. However, not every investor looks for limited involvement in their machines’ success. For example, some entrepreneurial farmers own vending machines that they stock with farm-fresh eggs.
Although there are instant ramen noodle cup machines throughout the country, the vending machine concept gets leveraged by many of the country’s sought-after ramen-ya restaurant experiences. Don’t worry, just because you pay for your order via a vending machine doesn’t mean that the food is marginal. Be prepared for a savory ramen experience that gets expedited by the fact that you have already decided and paid for the dish you want. Just buy your meal at the machine located by the restaurant entrance and give your ticket to the wait staff when asked.
It is estimated that in Japan, there is one vending machine for every 23 people. The significant amount of these sales stations belies their importance. Aesthetics, inventiveness, shrewd marketing, value, and supply and demand come all into play in the Japanese vending establishment. If you’re visiting Japan, it is worth pausing to look at these automated outposts to find out more about the country’s culture.
ID required to buy cigarettes or alcohol
When you purchase cigarettes from a vending machine in Japan, it is necessary to have TASPO, an ID card with IC chip installed. This ID card is issued to smokers aged 20 years or older, and vending machines identify this ID card to confirm that the person purchasing cigarettes is an adult. Also, some vending machines requires driver’s license when you buy beer.
What vending machine can do in disaster?
Some of the latest vending machines in Japan are equipped with disaster support functions. Those vending machines have the ability to post disaster information at the time of a disaster and provide free beverages. There are also some that offer cellphone battery chargers. In addition, some may have a backup power supply that can be used in an emergency, and some can generate power.