Letter From Tokyo

New wave of vending machines takes root in Japan

SPH Brightcove Video
Vending machines are making a comeback as they evolve beyond just dispensing drinks and light snacks. From Korean ginseng chicken soup to caviar and even special surprises, newfangled vending machines are offering more than just convenience.
New: Gift this subscriber-only story to your friends and family

TOKYO - From the summit of the 3,776m-tall Mount Fuji to the emptiest of plains in rural Hokkaido with nothing else in sight for miles, the inviting lights of a vending machine beckon passers-by to slot in some change for a drink.

Any visitor to Japan will be struck by how ubiquitous these machines - known as jido hanbaiki in Japanese - are, and it will come as no surprise that Japan lays claim to the honour of having the world's highest density of vending machines per capita.

Already a subscriber? 

Read the full story and more at $9.90/month

Get exclusive reports and insights with more than 500 subscriber-only articles every month

Unlock these benefits

  • All subscriber-only content on ST app and straitstimes.com

  • Easy access any time via ST app on 1 mobile device

  • E-paper with 2-week archive so you won't miss out on content that matters to you

Join ST's Telegram channel and get the latest breaking news delivered to you.