You can see vending machines everywhere in Japan, especially in busy cities like Tokyo, Osaka, Fukuoka and so on. It’s next to impossible to avoid them. There are about four million of these machines in Japan according to the JVMA (Japan Vending machine Manufactures Association) in 2013. To give you a sense of how many that really is, that’s almost the same as the population of Los Angeles.
One of the new vending machines is called a “Digital Signage Vending Machine” which has become common and popular in Japan.
Surprisingly, it doesn’t have any buttons. You can make your purchase with a touch screen. It reacts to individuals on a case by case basis and introduces recommendations based on your appearance, gender and age when you’re approaching it. Making purchases are also available by various ways, like mobile phones which have credit functions, train passes and of course, Japanese money. In addition, it displays advertisements, current weather and news when no customers are trying to make a purchase.
This used to be the most common type of vending machine for a long while.
If you want a cold drink, you can have it and if you want a hot coffee or tea, they are also available. You will find a ton of these machines when you walk around Tokyo, something that may be overwhelming for foreigners. However, even though the number of vending machines has decreased compared to the previous year according to JVMA, the industry keeps adding to the number via new and creative options.
What do you think of this?
This is a vending machine unlike the snack dispensers seen in Canada. This is extraordinary. It serves food such as french fries, hot dogs, karaage (fried chicken), nikuman (pork buns), takoyaki (wheat ball include slices of octopus), yaki onigiri (grilled rice balls), onigiri (rice balls) and sushi. If you push the french fry button, it’s actually able to serve you hot fries, since this vending machine has an installed microwave inside.
The next type of vending machine is made specifically for business people.
This machine is located in Shinjuku station, which is the busiest train station in the world according to the Guinness Book of World Records. Now, if you’ve forgotten your business card at home, you can use this machine to layout your business card and write your information, before printing it.
So, why are many vending machines spread around Japan?
In my opinion, one of the reasons is peace and order. These machines are of low risk and are easy to expand into the market. Also, another reason is because of Japan’s high population density. The more people living in a small region, the more potential customers, keeping these machines highly profitable.
Vending machine have clearly made there mark on Japanese culture. If you have chance to visit Japan, you definitely won’t have to look very far before seeing them.
Photos: Wikimedia Commons