If you ever visit Tokyo, the district of Asakusa is a worthwhile spot to wander around in. It has a healthy mix of tradition, entertainment, food, and shopping that should please anyone looking for a small but all-encompassing Japanese experience.
But there’s one other unique feature that Asakusa has and it’s one that’s surprising even the most entrenched Tokyo residents. Apparently, Asakusa is home to an enormous selection of wildly unusual vending machines. And coming from a land positively peppered with automatic vendors, that’s saying a lot.
Fancy a bottle of tea? Don’t worry, sugary beverage master Coca-Cola has you covered!
かなえ (@kanae3533) June 03, 2014
Don’t like tea? Well, screw you, then! Tea-maker Itoen is taking all theirs and going home.
浅草にて (売り切れ自販機) http://t.co/ETA8gUIClP—
かんちゃん@ssc (@knn_ssc) April 07, 2014
That above picture is not always the case though. Coca-cola machines usually have selections that will knock your socks off!
“The other day in Asakusa. If someone didn’t cross their legs while taking their shoes off this scene would be impossible. It looks like the machine sucked up whoever was wearing them.”
Yuki T(e-ism)@NZchch (@poko62) July 16, 2014
Actually there are a lot of different kinds of Coke machines in Asakusa from retro ones to ninja ones lurking in the shadows and listening in on your conversations.
“The Cola machine is still around at the Asakusa Batting Stadium.”
“Asakusa even has elegant vending machines.”
|･ω･｀)みお (@mio5_ns63) May 06, 2014
And of course wherever Coke is, Pepsi can’t be far behind. Here’s an old-school Pepsi machine that looks straight out of a Silent Hill game.
“I haven’t been to hang out in Tokyo in a while, but if I go to Asakusa I want to see if this vending machine is still there. It had vegetables inside.”
Although a lot of old-timey vending machines can be found in the area, there’s no guarantee that they’ll always be there as one Twitter user learned.
“The other day I went to Asakusa and this retro milk vending machine was gone.”
田奈伽 (@yukihitosi) September 03, 2014
In fairness, it’s understandable that people might hesitate to buy milk from a machine that looks like it’s been sitting there since the days of Max Headroom. Milk products from 600km away, however, are a different story. Mother’s brand Cafe Au Lait has been a favorite of wealthy dowagers and bear mascots in Kyushu for over thirty years and is also available at Asakusa Station.
ゆきうさぎ (@uhagi224) June 29, 2013
There are capsule toy machines which really kind of cheat the buyer out that satisfying rumble sound of a real gachapon.
夏野*12/29東レ01b (@natsuno_) June 08, 2014
And while Akihabara may have ramen in a can from their machines. This machine seems to offer a full-course meal, but without any images it’s hard to say. The menu lists: Whiskey [highball, with water, on the rocks]; Hoppy [a brand of low-alcohol beer-flavored beverage]; Nihonshu [rice wine]; Tsukune [grilled chicken meatballs]; Tripe; Tuna; and Pickles or, as I like to call all that, one hell of a Saturday night.
ニュースサイト IRORIO (@IRORIO_JP) October 24, 2014
Yes there certainly are a lot of… oh, wait a minute, what do we have here?
“In Asakusa, Koiki sold in a vending machine at the Asakusa View Hotel.”
Koiki is a brand of loose tobacco which, in this instance, is sold alongside a kiseru! A kiseru is an old-fashioned Japanese pipe used distinctive in its small bowl and slender, sometimes very long shape.
Again, these machines are just one of the many reasons to visit the Asakusa area of Tokyo. Where else can you buy vintage 1900 style pipes and tuna without any human interaction?
Source: Naver Matome (Japanese)