The first vending machine in Japan was made of wood and sold postage stamps and post cards.
In Japan, vending machines are known as jidō-hanbaiki (自動販売機) from jidō, or “automatic”; hanbai, or “vending”; and ki, or “machine”, jihanki (自販機) for short. Vending machines are also commonly used in casual restaurants to sell meal tickets, similar to automats: one purchases a meal ticket from a vending machine, then presents the ticket to a server, who then prepares and serves the meal. These are referred to as 食券機 (shokkenki, “food ticket machine”).
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[What makes Japan’s vending machines unique?]
Japan’s vending machines sell a wide variety of goods, from obvious items such as drinks (including beer and other alcoholic beverages!), cigarettes and food, through to toys, card games, written oracles, books and umbrellas.
Around half of the vending machines in Japan sell drinks, and this has led to the development of proprietary technology such as that which enables both “attakai” (hot) and “tsumetai” (cool) drinks to be housed inside the same vending machine.
Some vending machines now display their products on touch-panel displays. People can buy what they want simply by touching the display, although the machine will also suggest other products that it thinks are perfectly suited to the customer. If you visit railway stations in Tokyo, you can experience for yourself next-generation vending machine models that are just like the near-future vending machines often seen in movies. The products displayed change to reflect the season or time of day, etc., and when no one is standing in front of the machine it becomes a giant animated character putting out messages and promoting new products.
Sensors installed in the vending machine automatically estimate the user’s age and gender, and then appropriate product suggestions are made. For example, young women may be recommended types of water containing vitamins or jasmine tea, while male employees returning from work may receive suggestions for coffee or energy drinks.
If you have some photos of the unique vending machines you’ve encountered during your Japan trip, please feel free to comment below this facebook post (with the photo) or tag us on instagram at @japanloverme with hashtags #japan #japanloverme #japanesevendingmachine ~
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Art by Keeshia / www.instagram.com/keeshuuu