Since their introduction in the 1930’s, drive-thrus have become part of modern life. We’re used to the idea of ordering fast food or a coffee through a little glass window, but there’s also a a range of other shopping and services available from the comfort of your car, from picking up prescriptions or dry cleaning, to getting your groceries. And of course Vegas even offers those infamous drive-thru weddings! But one of the more bizarre drive-thrus is, of course, to be found in Japan.
Ever been in a hurry to buy a Buddhist altar, or butsudan? Then get on down to Odawara in Kanagawa Prefecture, only an hour and a half’s drive from central Tokyo!
Many Japanese homes have a butsudan, which provides a spiritual centre and a place to reflect on family members who have passed away. These cabinets range from the simple to the elaborate and can cost a pretty penny. Somehow the idea of a drive-thru doesn’t quite fit with such a traditional and spiritual item, but that didn’t put this store off.
▼ The store is located in Kanagawa Prefecture, Odawara City, Ougimachi 2-6-58.
▼ The 24-hour drive-look-thru!
Apparently this is actually a drive-look-thru, according to the sign, which means that these items are just for display and won’t be handed out to you through a little window wrapped in a brown baggie. If you decide you’d like to buy any of the goods on offer, all you need to do is call the store employee on the intercom to order and they’ll bring it out to you. So you don’t actually need to get out of your car! We think that qualifies for full drive-thru status.
It seems pretty convenient for when you’re in a real rush to buy that butsudan. There’s one catch though: The sign boasts 24-hour opening, but that’s actually just for the first floor show case. Unfortunately, if something takes your fancy when you’re browsing the wares at midnight on a Saturday because “it seemed like a good idea”, you’ll have to wait for normal opening hours between 09:00 and 18:00. Perhaps that’s quite a sensible precaution.
▼ It’s a butsudan bonanza!
▼ This gilded beauty will set you back 398,000 yen (around US $3,980)
▼ Once more?