Japan x Vending Machines

If you ever find yourself thirsty, in the middle of the night, in the middle of nowhere, in the wilderness, chances are that there would be a vending machine nearby. Vending machines (自動販売機ー自動機) are immediately accessible almost anywhere in Japan. Around the block of my apartment building, I have counted at least 5 vending machines of various brands. Picking a good spot to place a vending machine is actually a legit job career.

That being said, let’s see some of the most interesting vending machines I came across in the past 3 years. They are not the strangest, and they are not the only ones, just the ones I happened to snap a picture of. For practicality’s sake, I grouped the vending machines per ‘Design’ and ‘Goods’. Notable absences from this collection are a buff-monkey memorabilia and an old-school condom vending machine. Let’s go!

[Last Update: December 2021]

Category: Design

Drink vending machine in the (now permanently closed) Kawasaki warehouse game center, covered with dust and dirt in order to match the scary atmosphere of Hong Kong’s Kowloon district
A “disaster response” vending machine, themed from Neon Genesis Evangelion, in Hakone (fictional Tokyo III)
Vending machine with ShinGodzilla & label of Tamagawa Jinja next to iconic Maruko bridge
It’s a collaboration project with the mythical hero Kintoki, located at the foot of the homonymous mountain.
Vending machine with Pikachu campaign, found somewhere in Nara
In Hakone there are a couple of vending machines decorated with heroes from NGE, here Asuka
Vending machine decorated with the bald male-fairy mascot of Atami city
Vending machine with Hatsune Miku campain, suggesting poccari sweat to survive the humid and hot summer
Geisha-themed coca cola vending machine in Kyoto

Category: Goods

Chiffon cake vending machine in Meguro
Lucky bag vending machine in Jogashima
Umbrella vending (renting) machine in Harajuku
An old Tobacco vending machine that was transformed to sell handmade earrings
A banana vending machine in downtown Shibuya
Origami vending machine in Nikko
Fake nail vending machine in Musashikosugi
Life-saving when you are failing with family planning (condom vending machine)
Vending machine for fried potatos and onigiri in the Sano rest area
Initially I thought it was a tobacco vending machine, but it actually sells tea in a stick form (chabbacco). Rest area in Shizuoka prefecture.

A vending machine for beers outside a liquor store for emergencies when the shop is closed. In order to purchase a drink, you need to first insert your driving license in the slot, so that you can prove that you are of legal drinking age.

Honorary mentions (Not vending machines)

Capsule coffee vending machines for self-prepared filter coffee in Mori art museum
Ticket machine connected with a robot server in Hamasushi chain restaurant for merry-go-round sushi in Yokohama

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