One of the many things we love about Japan is its impressive variety of vending machines. We’ve seen everything from orange juice that looks like soy sauce to cans of hot, clam-packed miso soup make its way to the hands of customers through the wonders of mechanised distribution.
Recently, we stumbled on a machine we’d never seen before, and one that’s unique even by Japanese standards. Meet the persimmon vending box that delights customers on Sado Island with a rare variety of fruit that’s only grown locally, away from mainland Japan.
The vending machine can be found at the end of the indoor arcade that leads to the exit from the car ferry passenger drop-off point at Ryotsu Port on Sado Island. The 12-pocket machine contains bags of Okesa persimmons, direct from a local grower.
The four-step instructions taped to the machine aim to help visitors from big cities like Tokyo, who are likely to have never seen a machine like this before.
▼ 1. Insert coins 2. Press a button lit up with a red light 3. Take the product out of the open pocket 4. Close the pocket door
Hungry to try the delicious-looking local produce, as well as wanting some omiyage to take home for our friends back home, that’s exactly what we did!
Be mine, fruit!
And, in true Japanese style, there’s even a plastic bag included so you can carry your purchase with you as you continue on your journey!
Each bag retails for 300 yen (US$2.47) and contains five persimmons, which is an absolute bargain considering they usually retail for at least 120 yen each. A true local speciality, Okesa persimmons are seedless and less astringent than other varieties.
The reason for the discounted price is the fact that the fruit is slightly marked and ripe for eating now.
True, the machine might look like it’s seen better days but it worked like a charm, and the fruit inside was hardly blemished and wonderfully fresh.
With autumn being the prime time for persimmons, we were thrilled to try a local seasonal speciality from the trusty old vending machine. We wonder what other surprises he’ll have in store for customers at other times of the year!
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