Dining Out: Vending Machine Stand

img_0031  img_9993

Japan possesses a ridiculous number of ‘jihanki‘ (vending machines) equating to one for about 22 people or something like that. The majority of them sell drinks and cigarettes but other things are available such as newspapers, flowers, condoms, bananas, ice-cream, tissues, toys, rice, snacks, apples, eggs and perhaps the most famous story overseas is of used schoolgirl undies being sold in these vending machines but I think that may just be urban myth. I am certainly aware that new underwear can be purchased from these vending machines as I have seen that.

With all that in mind it really should be no surprise that a vending machine stand like this one in Shimbashi exists! After the Rambling Northerner (a.k.a. Jack) and I returned to central Tokyo from our day at the races for the Japan Cup we decided to experience this unique place for eating out!

img_0034  img_0040

It’s located about a ten minute walk from Shimbashi station and is called Vender Stand which when written in katakana script actually reads as Benda Sutando! Yes, really!!

img_9998  img_9995

Whilst doing some research on a more restaurant-like vending machine place up in Gunma prefecture, I came across this tiny standing-room only hang-out. It’s about as glamorous as drinking in a launderette but is seemingly quite popular with businessmen needing a quick smoke, beer and chat after work. During our 90 minutes here a fair few men came and went. Lord only knows what the two guys in this place on our arrival were thinking when we walked in and continued to snap away. Jack wasted no time in purchasing a bottle of beer whilst I went for the lighter chūhai (alcoholic drink made with shōchū and carbonated water) though I mistakenly bought a grapefruit flavoured one rather than my intended lemon one!

img_0018  img_0016

Whilst there we thought we should sample some of the culinary delights it had to offer and there was one particular machine selling hot dishes for 370 yen a pop with each item heating up for a minute or two before being ready to take out. Basically a vending machine that’s like a microwave! Yaki-soba noodles were put to the taste test first and were pretty good to be fair and set the benchmark for the various dishes that followed.

img_9999  img_0005

The hamburger set was next which also included a karaage chicken piece and three chips. The latter tasted fairly awful but I’d expect that coming from a machine! The chicken was fine and the burger was ok but certainly didn’t justify the price tag when one can get such a thing for about 100 yen in any convenience store.

img_0006  img_0007  img_0009  img_0013

Next up was the takoyaki which are upside down in the box so that the tops can more easily be coated in sauce. There was a packet of seaweed flakes in the box to be sprinkled on too but I didn’t even notice that until we’d almost polished them off.

img_0023  img_0026

Overall, there’s over a dozen machines with other ones I’ve not mentioned yet selling cup noodles, tea, coffee, nuts, waffles, crisps and other such beer snacks.

img_0010  img_0025

Our final purchases were some smoked mussels and yakitori in a can. Food in such containers is never the best but both were better than expected, particularly the latter one which I thought would be awful…..or maybe the alcohol was talking and I could’ve eaten anything at that time and been satisfied!

img_0021  img_0029

What was perhaps most surprising to me was that there are actually toilets in this tiny place and, though I don’t plan to make a habit of dining out in such places, it was good fun experiencing such a uniquely Japanese place.

img_0001  img_0036

Vender Stand is located at 2-5-14 Higashi-Shinbashi in Minato-ku 

Click here to read Rambling Northerner’s post about this experience

About tokyofox

A Leicester City fan teaching English in Japan
This entry was posted in Food & Drink, Japan Life, Quirky Japan and tagged , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

11 Responses to Dining Out: Vending Machine Stand

  1. Pingback: A Typically Japanese Dining Experience? | Rambling Northerner

  2. Pingback: Dining Out: Namja Town In Sunshine City (Ikebukuro) | Tokyo Fox (東京狐)

  3. Pingback: Dining Out: 10 Yen Sushi In Tokyo! | Tokyo Fox (東京狐)

  4. Pingback: Dining Out: Jihanki Shokudo (Vending Machine Restaurant) | Tokyo Fox (東京狐)

  5. Pingback: 16 Hours On Local Trains To Hiroshima Just To Eat Pizza From A Vending Machine! | Tokyo Fox (東京狐)

  6. I stopped in here yesterday 8 June ‘19 and was kinda devastated to find that it’s become a far less entertaining prospect than you found back in 2016. No more quirky options, aside from one machine with a few little tins of something inside. There’s one with cup noodles, but the rest are drinks, beer, cigarettes and one or maybe two with some big-standard snacks. I was so disappointed!

    • tokyofox says:

      ah that’s sad to hear but it was never a glamourous place, that’s for sure! So the hot snack ones have gone then? Thanks for updating me anyway. I have only been there the one time still

      • Yep, seems most of the quirky delights you wrote about —- the ones I was so looking forward to! — are all gone. There was one machine with some tins but the place was so full of smoking salary men that I couldn’t bring myself to stay any longer than I did! 🙂

      • tokyofox says:

        That place is basically just a quick refuge for salarymen so is not so nice. Anyway, big shame!

  7. Pingback: Dining Out: A Long, Long Row Of 30+ Retro Vending Machines In The Middle Of Nowhere | Tokyo Fox (東京狐)

  8. Pingback: Dining Out: A Restaurant That Only Sells Canned Food! | Tokyo Fox (東京狐)

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.