Vending Machines in Japan: Easy and Free Guide

Vending Machines in Japan | FAIR Inc

Different vending machines in Japan make everyone curious. The reason behind it is because there are over 5 million vending machines all over Japan. Do you know why the number of vending machines is vast?

Because Japan has a low crime rate (vending machines in Japan can be left outside and rarely vandalized), vending machines are also convenient, requires low maintenance, offer a variety of options, healthy lifestyle, customized options, and selections, saves time and money, no overtime costs, easy overdrive and very accessible.

These automated machines scattered all over Japan are uniquely designed and suited ideally to their lifestyle are definitely interesting to know.

Set your seatbelts on for this article will be guiding you about the unique vending machines in Japan, including its different types, and the easy tutorial on how to use the typical and new vending machines.

Trivia First:
Japan has the highest number of vending machines (自動販売機,ベンディングマシーン) per capita worldwide. Japan surpasses the US which only has an estimated 4.6 million vending machines.

Top Reasons Why Japanese Vending Machines Are Unique

1. Cater Different Products

When we think about vending machines, we mostly think about coca-cola and drinks. But try imagining vending machines with a twist? 

Japanese vending machines are different from the common ones because it doesn’t offer just drinks, but vend… 

    • cigarettes
    • hot and cold drinks
    • milk
    • ice cream
    • beer
    • umbrella
    • many more. 

2. High Technology Vending Machines

The latest vending machines in Japan can suggest drinks according to 

    • your mood, 
    • the current weather, 
    • your age, and even on 
    • your gender. 

More advanced technology, such as Coca-Cola using AI for their vending machines. By installing Coke On app, one can collect points by connecting their phone to the machine when visiting a vending machine. When redeemed, the points will let you get a double coke. One for you, and one for your friend. 

Also, Artificial Intelligence will adjust the suggested drinks according to its location. For example, it will suggest more water in the gym. 

3. Machines can be placed anywhere in Japan

Japan is one of the countries that has the lowest crime rates in the world. The rate also decreases year after year. This is the reason why even vending machines in Japan are not defaced and vandalized despite being placed outside.

4. Easy to own one

There are two options:

1. Purchase a vending machine. Purchase the stock of any beverage companies. Look for a place to put it. It is very easy. You just need capital and you just have to pay for the electricity bills monthly.

2. Ask a vending machine company to bring one for you. Provide a land to place your machine to. Landowners will receive 20-yen per bottle(around 20% of the sales). 

5. Everything is cheap

Products such as beverages cost just 100 yen or below. So basically, if you have many coins in your purse, you can purchase beverages as many as you like. 

So did you see why Japanese vending machines are unique? Of course, imagining this makes you excited because you have a lot of choices on the things you need, and you just have to buy them instantly through vending machines on the streets of Japan. However, you need to know first about the types of vending machines.

23 Interesting Types of Japan's Vending Machines

Vending machines are part of the Japanese people’s lives. They give consumers the ability to buy foods and other products swiftly without having to fall in line. You just have to feed bills or coins into the money slot, select your preferences, and the machine will release your order. Check out these typical and special vending machines Japan has.

Hot and Cold Vending Machines

This type of vending machine is highly recommended, especially in winter. Imagine traveling in cold weather and you need a hot drink. Just by the corner on the street or at the entrance of a building, seeing the blessing in front of you is a miracle indeed.

Hot drinks are marked by red labels and cold drinks are marked by blue labels. Be careful on hot drinks because they are actually hot. This is very easy to operate and what makes it remarkable is the variety of drinks it offers (Suntory, Itoen, Kirin, Calpis, etc).

Soups Vending Machines

This one vends hot soups. The best one to try is the corn soup which is very flavory which melts on your taste buds. You can also try flying fish soup in winter.

Crepe Vending Machines

Craving for sweet snacks? Indulge on cheese, fruit, and chocolate cakes right through your friendly machine vendor.

Hot Food Vending Machines

A real lifesaver when the stomach demands a hot meal. This vending machine microwaves your chosen meal and will be given to you once done.

Umbrella Vending Machines

Umbrella Vending Machines in Japan | FAIR Inc

Imagine traveling in Japan and a sudden downpour caught you. These vending machines will actually save you in that situation. As the name suggests, this vending machine offers you a variety of umbrellas.

Ramen Vending Machines

Wait, ramen on a vending machine? Yes, the best cup ramens in Japan is right here. Try the steamy, and tasty noodles with these vending machines.

Burger Vending Machines

Is there any faster than a fast-food chain? This vending machine will prepare an instant burger for you.

Bread Vending Machines

Various options such as bread with whipped cream, raisins, and chocolate. All of these on a can. Yes, bread on a can.

Beer Vending Machines

Even though Japan has a strict underage drinking law, some beer vending machines can still be found. Because of this, you need to bring a “Sake-Pass” in order to get liquor. This machine also offers fruit-flavored beer and other alcoholic drink options.

Pantyhose/Lingerie Vending Machines

Mostly found at love hotels, this vending machine is very handy to those in need of underwear.

Condom Vending Machines

Another close at love hotels, this vending machine offers two brands of condoms such as Okamoto and JEX condoms.

Rice Vending Machines

Usually found as a big vending machine, this one literally gives you the best quality rice in a rice-loving country such as Japan.

Ice Cream Vending Machines

Ice Cream Vending Machine in Japan | FAIR Inc

Ice cream chilling in the summer? Nice idea! These vending machines offer a good selection of Japanese ice cream, western type ice cream, and even mixtures of them. Häagen-Dazs machines can also be found around Tokyo.

Egg Vending Machines

Very helpful to the egg farmers, this vending machine will refrigerate eggs and will wait for a customer to order dozens of them. Eggs will be replaced every morning.

Vegetable and Salad Vending Machines

Eat the best produced and healthy vegetables fresh from the farm. Ready for cooking but it is still best to wash your vegetables carefully.

Milk Vending Machines

Milk Vending Machine In Japan | FAIR Inc

As the name suggests, these vending machines are for milk lovers. If you crave milk and you just came across this vending machine, satisfy your craving! This machine offers plain milk, flavored milk, coffee, and vegetable juice as extra choices

Fruits Vending Machines

Although rare, this vending machine offers bananas and even apples.

Surgical Masks Vending Machines

A country where people wear masks, Japan has a lot of vending machines of surgical masks.

Reading Glasses Vending Machines

A book lover but forgot your reading glasses? Worry no more, you can get one at these vending machines.

Batteries Vending Machines

As the name implies, these machines will replace your drained batteries. Just insert the bill, and get one.

Cutting Edge Vending Machines

These machines can be found at train stations along JR East Lines in Tokyo. What makes this different is that these are touch screen vending machines. Also, it is equipped with a camera and will suggest drinks for you according to your age and gender. Try this out when commuting through Tokyo.

Energy Drinks Vending Machines

Feeling tired after work? Try getting an energy drink from these vending machines.

Tobacco Vending Machines

Mostly found at Pachinko, this vending machine is for smokers. One can get to choose a different brand of tobaccos and cigarettes. 

As you can see, there are typical ones. And as time passes by, there are vending machines touched by technology and methods on operating vending machines are changing too. From here on out, learn how to overdrive and use the vending machines in Japan. 

Think about this!

Speaking of operation, a single vending machine has a national average sales of 40,000 ¥ monthly. If in a particular place like train stations where people are always found, it will sell for as much as 500,000 ¥. Wow! 

Guide on How to Use the Japanese Vending Machine

Using the typical Japanese vending machine. 

  1. Choose your drink. You can choose either small drinks (280-350 ml) or big drinks (500 ml). Small drinks cost 120 yen and big ones cost 160 yen.
  2. Get your money. Use an exact amount even though machines can provide change. 100 coin yen are silver-colored and 10 coin yen is copper-colored.
  3. Pay. Insert the coins into the money slot. Tip: Use smaller bills (below 5,000 yen).
  4. Press the button below the chosen drink. This is easy. Just press the button. If the drink is sold out, choose another one.
  5. Get your drink. After pressing the button, the drink will be dropped down to the compartment. Open the lid and get your drink. Enjoy your drink!

Using the new type of vending machine in Japan. 

This machine will suggest drinks depending on the weather and on how you appear before the camera. If you look tired, it will suggest an energy drink. If the temperature is cold, it will suggest hot drinks. 

  1. Touch the drink on the screen. Touch the preferred drink or the suggested drink. The machine will display the calorie count, the ingredient of the drink, the concept, and the cost on the screen.
  2. Pay. You can pay for coins or bills. But for convenience, tourists and travelers often use cards such as Suica and Pasmo Cards. These IC cards are used in transportation and can be used as a prepaid card in Japan.
  3. Get your drink. Arigatou Gozaimasu! Get your drink on the compartment and enjoy it! 


1. What are the best vending machines?

  • Rice
  • Umbrellas
  • Corn Soup
  • Hot and Cold Drinks 
  • Cup Noodles
  • Hot Food
  • Ice Cream
  • Milk
  • Cigarettes/Tobacco 

2.Why there are so many vending machines in Japan?

  • Offers the public an easy means of shopping
  • Giving the vendors the opportunity to sell their products on a larger scale
  • The public is accustomed to the lifestyle of beverages and cigarettes and most vending machines are used as a means of these product distributions. 
  • Vending machines can be left outside with a little chance of being vandalized or defaced.

3. Are food and beverages vending machines in Japan good for health?

Yes, they are healthy. 

  • Foods such as rice, vegetables, eggs, and fruits are fresh and they are replaced regularly. 
  • Beverages are made sure to become safe as every beverage company also regularly checks the products if they are out of stock or they are past the consumable date. 
  • Also, these vending machines heat up the goods to make sure the foods are clean and very safe to eat.

Final Thoughts

Different vending machines in Japan make the country very unique and it is one of the urges why you want to go there. Typical and technology-touched vending machines satisfy your curiosity. Plus, getting to know how to overdrive them is one of the top things to do in Japan. 

Do not worry. There are other vending machines in Japan. Some of them are weird and you will really wonder why there are weird vending machines found in Japan. See you in the next article!

FAIR Japan provides useful information (work and study) about Japan. 

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