Vendo Machine Food in Japan

Do you know that there is approximately 1 vending machine for every 23 people in Japan? That is roughly 5.6 Million vendo machines for the whole of the country. Locally these machines are called “jidouhanbaiki” (自動販売機) or in its short form “jihanki” (自販機) and everywhere you go even the most remote places you will see this unattended vendor.


Jidouhanbaiki has been a part of the Japanese landscape for a long time, in fact the first one that was rolled out was in 1888 but it did not sell food, cigarettes were the first one to hit its shelves. Today we will be concentrating on what I saw when we were in Japan and most of them were vending food or drinks. It was quite a disappointment because I am expecting those vendo machines that is out of the ordinary but I failed to find them, those ones who sell underwear, toys, neckties, fresh vegetable, toilet paper, and even freshly made pizza was quite a rarity and the only unusual ones that I saw was the vendo money changer

and hobby cards which I think can be easily found in game arcades

Most of the time you will see drinks and it is scattered everywhere, even in places you don’t think it will be placed, remote places will have them.

Apart from the drinks you will find a lot of food hot or cold which can range from chips, fried chicken, noodles, takoyaki and even different styles of ice creams.

In some restaurants they also employ a similar concept where you can order on a vendo machine where you choose the number assigned to the dish you want, in return it spits out a paper with your order number that you can give the chef who will cook them.

When we were here we tried some ice cream and hot food but most of the time vendo machines come in handy when you need a drink either because you are thirsty and even if it is too cold outside, a hot coffee can really warm you up.

So there you go, you can live in Japan just by buying your food in vendo machines, it is not surprising for them but for me as a tourist I find this very interesting. Truly Japan knows the real meaning of convenience, all your immediate needs are all sorted a few meters away from where you are staying.


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5 Responses

  1. Very cool I was hoping you were going to do such a post. They are amazing in their vending machine imagination. There were some in Beijing but not like this. I did think it was funny the machines kept saying ‘drink are not hot, cold drinks’ becasue in China it is bad to drink a cold beverage lol. thanks for the pics!

  2. GiGi Eats says:

    I LOVE seeing things like this when I travel! It’s such a culture shock and that’s why we travel, right?!

  3. suituapui says:

    Very convenient. Sometimes, like at airports, the things are cheaper than if you go to one of the shops at such places.

  4. Dorothy Lin says:

    love your articles…can you recommend a reasonable priced hotel in Tokyo…some of my friends n I are planning to visit Japan in November

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