This is a combination of delicious and contemporary technology that was definitely worth the visit.

At SoraNews24, we think it’s pretty cool to grow up with so much rapidly-changing technology. Heck, the iPhone 3G came out 10 years ago! So many things are now being done electronically, including payments.

This new technology comes into play on JR Shibuya Station’s very own outer circle Yamanote line platform (on the Ebisu end). Where the iconic instant cup noodle shop Donbareya once stood, a much more colorful booth is open (but only temporarily!).

Ace Cook, Microsoft Japan, and iRobot Japan have teamed up to produce a slightly more futuristic instant cup noodle shop called Mocchicchi Station. This unmanned cup ramen shop is open from February 14-28, and our Japanese-language writer Mr. Sato was first in our team to size that opportunity.

Since it was his first time going to an unmanned ramen shop, he was a bit confused, but a staff member nearby pointed out this explanatory sign to him. Basically: you pick; pay by VISA, Mastercard, or JCB; and then you make it!

First, you buy a cup of ramen. Hidenori had a choice between wonton noodles or vegetable tanmen. When you touch the screen to select the type and number you want, the price will appear on the screen. Magic!

Then, he was directed to select a payment option. Score: in addition to credit cards, you can also pay using your IC train card! The total bill came to 212 yen (US$1.92) since he decided to eat inside the cozy eatery.

When the cup ramen came out, he poured in the water using the hot water machine…

…and then he took that, along with his tray and other freebies (like water) to a quaint little booth.

The touch screen set at each booth featured a timer that helped Mr. Sato keep track of the noodles he was about to consume without needing to pull out his phone timer!

If you looked at his booth arrangement clearly, you may have also noticed an image of a phone drawn into the counter. This is actually a contact phone charger; you can charge your smartphone just by setting it down on the indicated space on the counter (as long as it charges using Qi)!

And then there was the mystery device lurking in an alcove under the touch screen…but we’ll get to that later.

Before Mr. Sato knew it, his ramen was ready to eat, as the touch screen so helpfully informed him.

His excitement to taste the ramen was a little put off by wondering what that machine was, but when he took a bite…

Ahhh, right. That hit the spot. It had a mild flavor that you could almost taste the technology in (we mean that in a non-toxic way, of course). Here’s an obligatory close-up of the noodles!

Mr. Sato slurped down the noodles with vigor. When he was done, the touch screen showed a new button: Start Cleaning. Its subtitle also reads “Please press this button before you leave the store.” Not ominous at all, right?

When he pushed the button, the robot came out! It turns out that it was actually iRobot Japan’s Braava jet m6, a quiet robot machine. It tidied up the counter without any effort.

All in all, it seems like Mr. Sato was most impressed by the lack of physical effort it took to pop in for a cup of instant noodles — oh, and the robot. If only it also looked like the ramen, soba, and udon noodle vending machines of the Showa days

If you’re interested in going, then you’d better head over to Shibuya Station’s outer circle Yamanote platform (on the Ebisu side) before the end of February 28! It’s open everyday from 11 a.m. to 8 p.m.

Photos ©SoraNews24
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[ Read in Japanese ]