It may seem unfathomable to some that beer is so readily available in vending machines in Japan. I know I didn’t quite believe it until I saw it.
But in reality, it’s not such a big deal in Japan. Things work a lot differently there and people don’t exactly behave the same way as they would here in the States.
Just because something is so accessible to anyone & everyone doesn’t mean that they’ll all take advantage of that. If a Japanese person knows he/she’s not supposed to do something, chances are he/she just won’t do it.
Take bicycles, for example. I actually had a hard time finding locked bicycles around the country. It was far more common for people to just park them neatly side-by-side on the sidewalks. Since theft is frowned upon I suppose they felt safe leaving them unlocked & unattended. It’s an amazing thing.
So, tempting as these beer vending machines would be to, say, an underage drinker in the States, it likely wouldn’t have the same effect on an underage Japanese person.
And so the beer is indeed available openly like it was here, in the laundry room of one of our hotels.
Same goes for cigarettes. Simply locate a street-side machine, insert some Japanese Yen and out pops the cigarette brand of your choice. No big thing.
Of course it’s not limited to alcohol & cigarettes. All types of vending machines are everywhere. And they ended up being way more convenient than we initially thought they would be.
Badly as we may have wanted to have a real cup of coffee every day, it wouldn’tve been the wisest choice since it would’ve set us back roughly $4-6 dollars a cup. That adds up over a 3-week trip.
Luckily we found an alternative. Vending machine coffee. Hooray!
There’s a surprising array of choices, and many of them even come warmed up for you!
It was my first experience drinking a warmed beverage from this type of vending machine, and lemme tell you, that first day in Tokyo it was so frickin’ cold that I almost couldn’t bear the thought of drinking a chilled beverage. So I was a happy girl when I held that warm tin can in my frozen mitts.
For only about 150 Japanese yen, this drink wasn’t so bad. I quite liked it. It hit the spot & didn’t break the bank so I’m ok with that.
So yes, vending machines abound and often they’ll be serving up some stuff you may not care to partake in. But there are also times when they have just what you need.