Jul 14, 2010

The Asia Trip: Vending Machines in Japan

Let me start out by saying that drink vending machines are everywhere in Japan. I was told that even in the middle of nowhere, on a scenic hill, you'd still be able to find a vending machine or two. It's less a vending machine on every corner, and more like a vending machine on every corner, street, store, train station... well, you get the idea.

A nice feature in the Asian countries I visited was that there was no price gouging at airports or in heavy tourist areas. It's nice to find that you're not paying like double the normal price when you find yourself hungry and stuck at the airport. Of course, things generally being a little pricier in Japan, the prices on the drink vending machines ranged from about 100 to 150 yen (roughly between $1.10 and $1.75).
There's a bit more variety than just your common soda machine. For one, there's hot and cold drinks; the red labels are for hot and the blue for cold. Besides paying with cash, you can pay with a Pasmo card, which is a prepaid debit card that you can use for train tickets, vending machines, and at selected vendors.

Japan is, by-and-large, a cash transaction society, so if you're thinking of making the trip be sure to pull out a lot of yen, because Visa and Mastercard aren't really accepted anywhere.
Most vending machines have a selection of coffees, teas, soft drinks, sports drinks, and maybe a fruit juice or two. A few also have soup though, like the one pictured about. I think's it's a corn chowder in a can. I also saw a red bean dessert in a couple of vending machines. I didn't try either though.
Most vending machines vend cans and bottles, but this particular vending machine, found at a temple (like I said, they are everywhere), only served cups and was maybe 10 yen or so less for it.
I got this can while walking the streets near Shibuya, it's a super hero drink! ...I think... like Ultraman or something. It was on sale for 100 yen. The thing is people don't really walk around and eat or drink in Japan; the vending machines have recycling receptacles for cans and bottles but there aren't really trash can about (Trust me, I went to a mall and couldn't find a single trash can... even in the bathroom! They only had hand dryers). I basically ended up carrying the can around and drinking it back at the house where I was staying.

1 comment:

  1. In Japan, many small restaurants make you buy food tickets by vending machine so they don't need a cashier


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