Japanese Vending Machines


When I very first arrived on the shores of Japan (by train and boat) one of the very first things I saw was a vending machine. It made me so happy and excited as it was official that I was in Japan!

This vending Machine was a friendly, inviting vending machine with drinks from Coke to Pocari sweat. It was fun to see so many odd, weird drinks available for 100 – 150 yen. I soon got used to these vending machines and I admit when I now see foreigners standing around a vending machine in a very excited manner, I think hmmm it’s a vending machine. That is when you know you have been in Japan too long.

A little history:

Originally Japanese vending machines were in Japan all the way back to the Meiji Era (1868-1912). The oldest machine is a stamp and card selling device made from wood, which is now exhibited in the Museum at Tokyo’s Chiyoda Ward. Arguably, people say a tobacco vending machine were first. I wasn’t around then so I cannot be sure.

Why are Japanese vending machines so popular?

Obviously, they are for convenience, but many vending machines sell items that are just shocking and there is no way you would go into a shop to get it or even ask. Also, there are items that you could have run out of like condoms, lingerie, feminine hygiene products, toilet paper and even nappies. While I wouldn’t think twice to go into a shop for the above mentioned, Japanese women especially would or did feel so embarrassed, so off to the vending machine it was.

A list of some of the things you can find in vending machines in Japan

  • Drinks                     
  • Tobacco
  • Alcohol
  • Rice
  • Vegetables
  • Eggs
  • Ramen
  • Cosplay costumes
  • Snacks
  • Masks
  • Toys
  • Ties
  • Flowers
  • Ice cream
  • Clothes
  • Toilet Paper
  • Fortunes
  • Used panties???? WHY???
  • Hot meals
  • Batteries
  • Umbrellas
  • Hot food

And many more things I am sure! Now you could say, “why” well on this list are some very useful items. Let’s say you have been working all day and its late, you forgot to get your better half flowers…. Aha! Also, you get caught in the rain and get soaked! Grab a t-shirt and an umbrella!

Now, let’s take a look at some of the vending machines I have seen around.

Next are some vending machines that I cannot understand at all. Selling “embarrassing things” I can sort of understand but food items which are extremely overpriced as well as just crazy things… no wonder these machines are becoming obsolete nowadays.

I will leave you with two of my favourite photos. These photos are of a very famous weird vender machines place in Akihabara, Japan. This place has a lot of weird items and there is a warning  sign! It simply says “Warning, this is not a toilet, if you pi** or sh** here, male or female. I will photograph and videotape your face as well as your private areas and put it on the internet forever.

Weird vender machine place in Akihabara

Address: Tokyo-to, Chiyoda-ku, Kanda Suda-cho 2-19-7 Hours: Open 24 hours

Article written by David
Photos by David


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