In Japan, vending machines are known as 自動販売機 (jidō-hanbaiki) from jidō, or "automatic"; hanbai, or "vending"; and ki, or "machine", 自販機 (jihanki) for short. In my opinion they are some of the most interesting machines in the world. I love Japanese vending machines because they are always stocked with interesting products from food to toys, they all have a very clean and inviting look to them - hell some of them even talk to you. My favorite ones are the transparent kind that allow you to see how they operate while they fetch your product in robotic like fashion. Also you don't have to turn your head too far to find a vending machine. In Japan they are basically everywhere and that is the truth. I took the above photo near my house in Osaka.
According to Wikipidea: Japan has the highest number of vending machines per capita, with about one machine for every twenty-three people. Japan's high population density relatively high cost of labor, limited space, preference for shopping on foot or by bicycle, and low rates of vandalism and petty crime, provide an accommodating environment for vending machines. While the majority of machines in Japan are stocked with drinks, snacks, and cigarettes, one occasionally finds vending machines selling items such as bottles of liquor, cans of beer, fried food, iPods, pornography, sexual lubricants, live lobsters, fresh meat, eggs and potted plants.
The first vending machine in Japan was made of wood and sold postage stamps and post cards. About 80 years ago, there were vending machines that sold sweets made by the "Glico Company". In 1967, the 100-yen coin was distributed for the first time, and vending machine sales skyrocketed overnight,selling a variety of items everywhere.
Short Film: Little Kaiju The whimsical journey of a mysterious vending machine dwelling creature who explores the shadowy corners of Tokyo after dark. Kaiju (怪獣 kai-jū) is a Japanese word that means "strange beast," but often translated in English as "monster".
Have you experienced Japanese vending machine culture? What are favorite types of vending machines?