Bananas and haircare products: Tokyo's curious vending machines

Bananas and haircare products: Tokyo's curious vending machines

Branded vending machines continue to proliferate in this auto-centric city, offering a variety of goods
朝食を逃がした方は渋谷駅の Dole でバナナを1 本!

Chilled at 13 degrees celsius, the new Dole vending machine at Shibuya station delivers another consumer item direct to passing commuters -- bananas. The latest in a long string of curious coin-operated machines that saw freshly cooked burgers offered by Tateishi Burger last year, the Dole machine is also the latest own-brand machine to appear. 

Just last week Japan Trends spotted hairdresser Toni & Guy offering ¥2,000 hair-product sets to accompany your coffee outside their store in Harajuku. Is this more evidence of Japan reverting to a fully-automated society? More likely it's just clever marketing by each brand following a long tradition that has seen everything from cars, umbrellas and eggs become available at the touch of a button.

Toni & Guy の自動販売機休憩中に飲み物で一服?それともカーラーでヘアスタイリング?Our favourite though is far more ubiquitous. Beer vending machines. Though there have been many efforts to use face recognition and ID cards as a way to determine the age of the consumer, for the most part, as this video shows, there is nothing to stop anyone getting themselves a can of alcoholic refreshment.

The convenience of the machines though do come at a bit of a cost. Each Dole banana will set you back ¥130, or ¥390 for five, more than most supermarkets, and considerably more than at 100 Yen stores that can be found at just about every station offering sets of three.


Robert Michael Poole is a specialist on the Japanese music and entertainment scene.

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