Things I love about Japan: The Availability of Vending Machines

Vending Machine Japan

There are a lot of things to love about Japan, but top on my list is vending machines. Cheap(ish), diverse, and always in stock, these electronic havens have saved me more times than I would like to admit.

[For more, check out: Top 7 Things about Japanese Vending Machines]

But really, content aside, the main reason I love Japanese vending machines is because they seem to be on every corner.

IMG_3763 vending machine

Why I like Japanese Vending Machines:

Well, to start it off, Japan has the highest number of vending machines per capita – with around 1 machine for every 23 people. That means for the 127 million people that live in Japan, they share exactly 5557272 vending machines. As a country with limited space, busy workdays, and people always “on the go,” it makes perfect sense.

Which means it’s pretty common to see a vending machine on every street corner, even out in the middle of nowhere.

Out in the middle of nowhere in Aomori

Out in the middle of nowhere in Aomori

Why I really like the availability of Japanese vending machines:

I don’t have to plan ahead. I don’t have to ration my water. If I’m thirsty, I can just cough up 100yen, walk a couple paces, and pick up a nice, cold bottle of ice tea.

It’s really that simple.

Getting a drink in America is a much more time intensive process. It typically involves driving – and if not, all you get to choose from is some sugary drinks.

In Japan?

No, in Japan you can choose from canned coffee, tea, sugary drinks, and sometimes even beer.

Asahi beer in a vending machine

Asahi beer in a vending machine

Simply put, I like the freedom of choice associated with Japanese vending machines. And I like not having to worry about getting parched while out with friends.

It’s such a small thing, really, but (oddly enough) it’s one of my favorite things about Japan.




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About Grace Buchele Mineta

I got into the writing business by accident. Now I live in the countryside near Tokyo with my husband, Ryosuke, where I draw comics, blog, and make videos about our daily life. Contact: Website | More Posts

4 Comments on Things I love about Japan: The Availability of Vending Machines

  1. I was in Japan last October visiting my brother, and one of the (many) big things I took away from my experience there was the vending machines. I absolutely loved the convenience of them, it’s not something we have in the UK. They pop up in the most remote places too.

    • They really do. I love all the random places vending machines seem to pop up (even out here in the middle of nowhere at my in-laws).
      My husband gets frustrated with the vending machines in America, now.

  2. Anonymous // 14 March, 2014 at 6:00 pm //

    In Ghana there are no vending machines, but there are people on every corner with stalls, or “hawking” (selling by walking up and down the traffic) which is also handy – water, gum, plantain chips and other snacks – available during the day anyway. The nice thing about vending machines is that they’re available 24 hours.

    • I miss the plantain chips in Ghana. I found them (once) in an import store in Japan, but they were overpriced and rather stale. It just wasn’t the same.

      I do agree – it is nice to have the 24 hour thing. I used to stop at vending machines on my bike home (especially if I spent half an hour on a crowded train) around midnight. They were always in stock with my favorite things!

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