Japan’s Vending Machine Craze


Copyright: Okinawa Soba


One of the first things I noticed when arriving in Okinawa, besides the ridiculously, beautiful blue ocean water and the prominent use of signage on commercial buildings, was the vending machines located everywhere.  I am really not kidding.  They.  Are.  Everywhere.  Some are in useful locations, such as the front of a public building.  Then I started to notice them in a parking lot or at a playground.

Japanese locals will stop their car on the side of a narrow road, block traffic, run out, buy a drink, and run back to the car.  Usually, these machines carry items such as coffee, tea, juice, soda, and even BEER!  I personally have only seen beverages in the machines located in Okinawa.  However, I have heard of vending machines that sell hard boiled eggs, milk, rice and umbrellas.  Mainland Japan tends to have the machines selling the more unusual items.  I found a fun website with a list of the most bizarre items in vending machines around the world.  You can check it out here.  It listed finding lobsters and neckties in Japan vending machines.  Really?!  So, if you are ever in Japan, do not fear.  You will always be close to a machine to quench your thirst or perhaps pick up a lobster for a delicious dinner.

Below are some of the machines I have seen in Okinawa.

Left: This one is located in an apartment building parking lot next to the sidewalk.
Right: Leaving the apartment to head to work? Grab a coffee at the machine on your way out the door!

My son saw this one at the playground and wanted a juice.

Another unusual spot, at a street intersection.

Just got a haircut at the salon? Grab a drink!

8 comments on “Japan’s Vending Machine Craze

  1. Greg says:

    What happened to the articles by Shannon? I haven’t seen any new ones lately?

  2. Jessica says:

    Shannon, I cannot believe they sell lobster in some machines! That is hysterically funny! I’m looking forward to hearing more Japanese stories.

  3. I forgot to share that these machines even withstand strong typhoon winds!

  4. Rob says:

    Great post ! Somewhere I saw one dispensing batteries. Another was selling a heath drink labeled as some kind of “Mucous Elixir” (Yuck). I have seen several outside the Soap Land brothels in Naha City that are decorated with the names of the various establishments, and out in Yomitan Township, I saw one that dispensed condoms. It was next to a Coke Machine. ^_^

  5. Charlie says:

    It’s great to see actually! I believe they will be vandalised and robbed in most other first world cities.:(

  6. feckthisshit says:

    Even the vending machines in Japan are cool. Love it!!!

  7. thank you fro sharing this topic , good one

What are you waiting for? Please leave a comment below.

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s