The Oi Ocha Karakuri machine is something you have to see to believe.

We’re always on the lookout for a good vending machine in Japan, and after coming across varieties that sell origami, flying fish soup stock, and roasted sweet potatoes, we’ve now stumbled upon one of the best-looking machines we’ve ever seen.

Located at Haneda Airport, the machine belongs to Ito En, the largest green tea distributor in Japan, and is filled with the company’s most famous product: Oi Ocha bottled green tea.

▼ The Ito En Oi Ocha Karakuri Machine stands out with its bright display.

“Karakuri”, which means “mechanisms” or “trick” in Japanese, has a history of entertaining the masses that stretches back to the 17th century in Japan. One of its defining features is the use of Karakuri puppets — often made from wood, which work like magic due to their concealed mechanisms — and that’s what this machine uses to tell the story behind their Oi Ocha green tea.

▼ Ryokumaru, the green tea fairy, twisted our arm with the offer of a trip to see how Japanese green tea is made.

We put 160 yen (US1.54) into the machine and pushed the button for a bottle…and that’s when the machine sprung to life with this gorgeous karakuri display.

First, the tea leaves are picked from the green tea fields and then taken to the factory for processing.

The leaves are dried slowly, which allows them to be stored for longer while also enhancing their aroma and flavour.

▼ Watch the entire show unfold here.

Our favourite part was when the doll rushed from the processing area to the place where our drink was being delivered. The bottle of green tea came out shortly after, making it seem as if the tea had just been freshly made and delivered by a lovely doll. 

▼ The special “Tokyo” packaging on the bottle was also a nice surprise.

The vending machine can be found in the departure lobby on the 2nd floor of Terminal 1 at Haneda Airport. As it’s not located beyond a security checkpoint, visitors who aren’t taking a flight can use the machine as well.

It’s a fun introduction to Japan and its tea-drinking culture, so if you do come across the machine, we highly recommend taking a trip with the green tea fairy. And once you’re in Japan, there are a plethora of other unusual vending machines waiting to meet you, including this one at an Akihabara train station platform filled with milk from around the country!

Photos © SoraNews24
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