If you have never been to Japan, you may be surprised to know that there are more than 5.5 million vending machines all over the country, approximately one machine for every 40 people. Anyone can own one for an application fee of about 10 thousand yen (about $2000 USD) and if you choose the right location, it can be a very lucrative business.
Depending on where you are in the country, you can find anything from socks, fresh eggs, fruits and vegetables, and even fresh flowers! These machines are almost never vandalized or not operational, and the majority of them sell some type of hot or cold beverage. There are an increasing number of machines, however, that sell more interesting items.
Here are some of the more unique things you can purchase from a vending machine:
- Bags of rice
- Fresh fruit
- Fresh crepes with whipped cream and caramel
- Party supplies
- Pizza and other hot foods
- Surgical Masks
- Fortune papers (omikuji)
- Board games
As you can see, there is no shortage to the interesting, sometimes weird things you can get from a vending machine. When you go on one of our tours, be sure to ask your guide where you can find one and try them for yourself!