Eating pizza in Japan is something of a rarity for me because the likes of Dominos and Pizza Hut are just so ridiculously expensive. For a long time now I’ve considered that there is something of a gap in the market for a more reasonably priced pizza and maybe, just maybe this vending machine in Hiroshima is trying to fill that void.
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.
Since last Summer, there has been a machine in Hiroshima dispensing pizza and when it first appeared people were lining up to try such a novelty but thankfully there was no one around when I turned up shortly after completing my mission of travelling from Tokyo to Hiroshima using only local trains. I was absolutely starving by the time I arrived at the machine which is located just outside a branch of Tsutaya video shop. Yes, such places really do still exist in Japan!
The machine, made in Italy, offers two flavours; margherita for ¥980 and 4cheez (that’s how it’s spelled on the machine! I’m not sure if it’s trying to be cool or is just the typical spelling error common in this country!) for ¥1,280. I opted for the latter as a reward for my efforts in getting there that day. Despite the clickbait-style title of this post, I didn’t actually go to Hiroshima just to sample this pizza but the truth is I didn’t do too much else there other than chilling at my in-law’s apartment.
Ready in three minutes is the claim but the reality is that it takes about double that time which is still alright I think. The clock counts down on the screen and it is possible to look inside the machine but you can see very little of interest really.
Anticipation was building as the last few seconds passed by and then it magically appeared in all its glory.
If you’re wondering how you cut it then fear not as there is a compartment containing a plastic cutter, a napkin and a special plastic bag for carrying it in as this is Japan where people don’t tend to eat in public and often carry their food home to eat there. For the mavericks, like me, who just rip up the rule book and eat it right there and then, the empty box (which can be folded up into a normal pizza box for takeaway purposes) can then be posted into the all-purpose desk thing next to the machine which I eventually realised was a bin!
It didn’t take me too long to wolf it down and it was actually not that bad. It was better than my expectations, that’s for sure. As you can see, it was a bit overcooked and burned in parts around the outer area but thankfully that didn’t affect its taste too much. I’ve got to admit that the taste was pretty good although my review may be heightened by the fact that I was so hungry on arrival.
I was still hungry after that and thought why not just get the other one (¥980) as I could always just take any leftovers for breakfast the following morning. As it was, I managed to polish that one off too and in the process spent the same amount on pizza as I had on getting from Tokyo to Hiroshima that day!
Pizza SELF is located at Kusunokicho 4-9, Nishi-ku, Hiroshima-shi, Hiroshima-ken. It is 11 minutes on foot from Hakushima Station on the Astram Line but the better option may be Shin-Hakushima on the far more convenient (and cheaper) San-yo or Kabe Lines. It is a 15 minute walk from there.
Click here to read ‘TF Top 10……Things To Do In Hiroshima City Once You’ve Done The Big Two!’
Click here to read ‘TF Top 10……Day Trips In Hiroshima Prefecture’
Bonus: In the build up to Christmas, there was some other big vending machine news as the Lawson convenience store chain trialled a karaage-kun chicken piece machine (below) in one store at the TOC Building in Osaki. Usually it takes about 15 seconds to purchase them but, like many others, I opted to buy them from a machine which can “make” them in 60 seconds. Instead, it took about 15 minutes of lining up before it was my turn to scan the back of the package which in turn opened the door. I popped the empty package inside, closed the door and one minute later my fried chicken was ready!
Click here to read ‘Dining Out: Jihanki Shokudo (Vending Machine Restaurant)’
Click here to read ‘Dining Out: Vending Machine Stand’