One thing that basically every tourist who is visiting Japan will immediately notice is a large number of vending machines in Japan. These machines are at every station, in every building, in streets and you’ll practically stumble upon a vending machine no matter where you’re going, even in the countryside.
There are some genuine reasons for the abundance of these vending machines. Asked a question to Hachiyoh, which is a Tokyo-based company responsible for vending machine maintenance:
Why are there so many Vending Machines in Japan?
1. Japan is Safe!
Vandalism is very less in Japan. So, even if a vending machine is installed in a public space such as a park or on the sidewalk area, it rarely gets broken.
While there is some debate available over why Japan’s crime rate is so low, one point that is readily obvious is that vandalism and property crime are rare. According to the Japan National Tourism Organization, vending machines are “seldom broken or stolen,” despite having tens of thousands yen inside and being frequently housed in dark alleyways or uncrowded streets.
2. Busy People Love Convenience!
Japan is very famous for its long working hours. And a lot of working Tokyoites are used to doing plenty of overtime. The result of that is less time for themselves, of course, and sometimes, people are even too busy to hit up the nearest convenience store. Then, there is nothing more convenient than grabbing a quick and tasty drink from a vending machine on the way!
3. Everyone Can Become a Vending Machines Owner!
This fact is not widely known but basically, each and everyone can apply to set up their own vending machine in japan. First of all, one should fill and submit the application for the vending machine. After the application is approved by the management company, one will pay an installation fee of ten thousand yen.
If the spot you chose for your vending machine installation is good and relevant, however, it’s a profitable business and quite a few people have done this as a kind of side job.
4. Maintenance is Flawless!
Trash PET bottles and cans are either installed directly in the vending machine or right next to the machine. Also providing a place to throw away their empty drinks in an otherwise rather trashcan-lacking country.
Specialized maintenance companies make sure the cleanliness. They restock the machines regularly and perform all sorts of other maintenance-related tasks. It’s a proper system that works so flawlessly. You will hardly find an overflowing trashcan or malfunctioning machine.
5. Even Now, The Prices are Low!
The selling prices of drinks in vending machines still are surprisingly low. Even while Tokyo has a reputation for being expensive and costly. Some decades ago, every drink was available for one single coin, but the raising consumption tax has caused vending machine drink prices to rise with it.
Though, One thing that has stayed steady is convenience. Without wasting time in a line at cashier and even offering to pay with electronic money, vending machines definitely have surpassed the test of time.
How to Use Vending Machines
In summer, most of Japan’s vending machines started offering cold drinks. But as soon as the temperatures start to drop at the beginning of winter. The warm beverages become part of almost every machine’s selection. Even if you can’t read the Japanese language. It’s very easy to understand: cold drinks have a blue label, hot drinks have a red label.
Generally, Japanese vending machines accept coins between 10 yen and 500 yen and even 1000-yen bills. Recently, a lot of vending machines also accept electronic payment in the form of prepaid cards – simply touch the little panel with the card, it even works through your wallet!
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