Do you notice that you can get the vending machine nearly every corner in the city like convenience stores? It might be startling to see a variety of vending machines in Japan.
≪Hot and Cold≫
I guess the uniqueness of Japanese vending machine is to offer hot drinks. You can see the different color in the button, which show blue as cold drinks and red as hot drinks. Especially, during the winter time, you would see an unusual drink such as corn soup or sweet red-bean soup besides ordinary hot drinks like coffee.
On a different note, but it should be mentioned that it is amazing to know the technology used for keeping them cold and hot together inside the vending machine with energy saving method (heat pump unit to make use of the heat generated from keeping cold drinks, which is used for keeping hot drinks)
≪Freshly made coffee is available≫
Especially when you travel on the highway and stop at the service area, you can see this type of vending machine a lot. When you purchase, they can freshly grind coffee beans and prepare various types coffees that you choose. You can also decide with or without milk, sugar, and even the amount of sugar you would like to have.
Instant Ramen Noodles is common to purchase in the business hotels, ferries, and maybe in the office. As the other Guidable writer was bringing up the topic of Japanese broth purchased from the vending machine (http://guidable.co/culture/dashi-doraku-bottled-broth-which-can-buy-at- vending-machine-cant-believe-it-is-not-bottled-oolong-tea/), some unique items could be sold from the vending machine.
For example, eggs, toasted bread, Udon Noodles, Soba Noodles, Hamburgers、Ice cream….though some food vending machines are pretty much old. It is probably manufactured during the 70s and 80s, and the maker no longer produces the parts, hence the pieces are started to be falling apart…to be honest with you, still, some like to visit and get some food from this old vending machine.
≪Alcohol and cigarette≫
Although it has been reduced the numbers due to the restriction by the government, but you can still buy alcohol and cigarette from the vending machine. Since these products are prohibited to underage (you are eligible to have them from 20 years old in Japan) and should have an ID to prove for purchasing them, the new types of vending machine, especially one for the cigarette has been introduced since 2008.
In order to purchase it from vending machine, should you have a driver’s license or an IC card called Taspo, which you can apply for it if you are a resident of Japan (After all it would be easier to buy them in the convenience store).