Vending machines, called Jihanki (自販機) or Jidohanbaiki (自動販売機) in Japanese, are incredibly popular in Japan. They are even common in many parts of the countryside, and it is nearly impossible to walk more than a few minutes without finding one within bigger cities.
Types of Vending Machines
Most vending machines sell hot or cold beverages. Due to its immense popularity, there are many different types of machines here in there. However, many of the more uncommon ones are situated in the city. Here is a list of the most common types of vending machines you will find throughout Japan:
Non-alcoholic beverages machine
Most vending machines you will find in Japan will offer soft drinks, water, tea, juice, and even energy drinks. There are some types of machines that only offer soft drinks and water.
Hot beverages machine
Some machines will sell hot beverages such as coffee or tea. Depending on the machine there will be both plastic bottles and aluminium cans. Some vending machines even sell half hot drinks, half cool drinks. Hot drinks have a red label, while cold drinks have a blue one.
Tobacco vending machines
These vending machines are decreasing little by little, but can still be spotted in many public places. If they are places in public places, like on the streets, they will usually have a card checker. Indeed, you need a special ID card in order to buy cigarettes with these machines. Some hotels may have such machines without ID check.
Snack vending machines
While vending machines with beverages can be found nearly everywhere, vending machines with food inside are pretty uncommon. These machines can have ice-cream, potato chips, chocolate, and more. Most of the time these are situated in big train stations, within major cities, or in service areas alongside the highway.
Hot food vending machines
These machines are usually situated in major train stations or within service areas. Depending on the machine, they can have anything from hamburgers, to cup noodles, yakisoba, or even Japanese hot sweets such as taiyaki.
Adult vending machines
Machines with adult good are one of the rarest types. Depending on the machines, these can have erotic books, pornographic DVD’s, or more commonly just condoms.