Japan has the highest density of vending machines worldwide, according to Business Insider. With slightly over 5 million vending machines in the country, that means there’s one vending machine per every 23 people. Take a moment to let that sink in.
Why are vending machines so prevalent in Japan? It’s partially due to convenience and the busy, hectic lives of the overpopulated cities, but there’s more to it than that. Along with being a cash-based society, Japan is known for its low crime rate. Therefore, the vending machine operators aren’t worried about vandalism, like those in other countries might be. Then, of course, there’s the culture’s fascination with automation. All of this adds up to the perfect recipe for vending machine success.
In the land of vending machines, one can find just about anything to go. Sure, there’s your standard beverage machines with cold drinks, as well as machines with hot coffee and even beer and wine. There are vending machines that give out canned soup, surgical masks, erasers, prayer cards, and even underwear! It must take something extreme to stand out amongst all of the options. How about a homegrown, homemade meal?
Seventy-four-year-old Tadashi Yoshimoto has just the thing. He has been running his vending machine business for over 40 years! He grew up as a rice farmer, so he had connections and decided to use his own rice instead of outsourcing. Tadashi uses hinohikari rice, which is a small-grain rice, but thick and full of rich flavor. The rice is soaked for around thirty minutes, and then Tadashi scoops it out and packs the containers himself, along with a delicious curry.
The rice and curry packets are stored at 140°, and the packs are switched out twice a day to keep everything fresh. Tadashi is very proud of the work he is doing to feed the people of Japan! He says often people will come by and purchase three or four meals at a time to bring home to their families. Find out more about this fascinating vending machine in the video below!