Vending Machines for Anything

There is NOTHING that can't be bought from a vending machine in Japan
July 3, 2016, written by The Captain

It is almost as if the Japanese make a past-time of thinking of different things they can sell in vending machines. Or large corporations have entire research and development teams working on ways to accelerate the technology so that previously impossible items could be sold.

But before we even get into all the amazing and weird things you can buy from vending machines, let’s talk first about beverages. The Japanese beverage vending machine is by far the most prevalent. They are omnipresent. They are legion. They are with you. If you were in Japan right now, there is a 100% chance that there is a beverage vending machine within 50 feet of you.


Did we mention the fact that there is one beverage vending machine for every resident in Japan? Well, not quite but you get the idea.

The Japanese beverage vending machine is quite a marvel, and it is a shining example of Japanese ingenuity.

What is so ingenious you ask? Let me itemize:

  1. There are ‘hot’ vending machines and ‘cold vending machines. Hot ones serve heated teas or coffees. There is no sensation more pleasing than warming your hands on a cold winter's day with one of these heated cans of coffee; its like winning the lottery. Ironically, one of the brand names of said coffee is ‘Gold’. Oh, such clever marketing. Imagine yourself walking in the cold, with your frozen shaking hands, popping in 100 yen, grabbing the can, clenching it tight and sucking the heat out from its body. It is truly a life-changing experience.
  2. Cold vending machines serve either juices, waters or sodas.
  3. Some machines are mixed… having a hot section on top, and cold section on the bottom.
  4. VARIETY! It’s not just sprit and coke, people. There is an enormous variety of different types of juices, drinks. However, to be honest the selection of sodas are much less than of juices, drinks and others.

Beer: Also a beverage but worthy of its own section

Let’s continue our stroll and discover something absolutely shocking!

Beer vending machines. Correct. And this ain’t O’Douls.

Beer vending machines in Japan sell Japan’s most popular beers, including:

  1. Asahi
  2. Kirin
  3. Ebisu
  4. And more…

You might say: Well, those Japanese certainly have their biometic age verification tech down!

Nay! There is no such tech!

There is no age verification, any human being can walk up, slip in 300 yen and score some amber nectar.

Yes, it is true! Think of the implications. There would be no fake-ID market! Kids would have no difficulty scoring beer. What are the social implications? Surely all the children in Japan are a bunch of wino drunks. But lo and behold… they are not.

Have no doubt, that if in the US there were such vending machines, they would have to be re-stocked every 12 hours due to the never ending line of giddy pre-prepubescents.  

What else can I get in Japan at a vending machine?


Yes! You can support your habit with ease and convenience. Just pop in a few yen and grab your pack. But, you’re going to need a special ID card which you scan, proving you are at least 20 years old. One acquires said ID by applying for it, with the National Tobaco Vending Machine Association.

In 2008, it became a crime to sell tobacco to those under the age of 20. It was at that time that the ID system was introduced and implemented in all the machines. Until that time, any child or young adult could acquire cigarettes with ease (as with Beer). But due to pressure the ID system was implemented.

It is interesting to note that no system has been implemented for purchasing alcohol.

Why so many vending machines???

Oh, we can speculate!

  1. It’s just super convenient. Plain & simple.
  2. Japan is an island nation. Japan’s people are also an island in themselves. Insular. Wanting to avoid interaction with other beings if possible. This is the underlying reason for Japan’s use of condom vending machines. The Japanese are far too embarrassed to purchase these from a human.

This is only the beginning

We have barely scratched the surface of Japan’s vending machine universe. Stay tuned for future articles where you can learn about more things being solid. Including undergarments. Oh, Japan…

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