But are they good enough to pass as a White Day gift?

In our never-ending quest to track down the country’s most unusual vending machines, we’ve travelled far and wide to purchase noodles, insects, and even hot potatoes at the push of a button.

Now we’ve stumbled upon another unique discovery, and this one is located right in the heart of the city, at Shibuya’s newly opened Miyashita Park complex. 

This new machine has been generating buzz around the city for both its contents and the high-tech system used to deliver its wares. In fact, it looks so different to most vending machines that at first glance, you might pass by the machine mistaking it for a digital information or advertising display board.

Operated by Preno, which specialises in large vending machines used for cosmetics, there are 20 different items on offer inside this special machine, and they’re all from Japan’s Uwakai Pearl Company.

▼ Touching the display brings up the shopping panel.

Located in Uwajima, a coastal city on the island of Shikoku renowned for producing some of the world’s top pearls, Uwakai specialises in Akoya pearls, which thrive in Japanese waters.

All the jewellery items available at this vending machine contain at least one Akoya pearl, and prices start at a surprisingly reasonable 1,500 yen (US$14.20).

▼ The most expensive items are strings of pearls, priced at 27,000 yen each.

The machine will only be here for a limited time, until White Day on 14 March, when men traditionally give white-hued gifts to women who gave them a present on Valentine’s Day.

▼ We decided to see what the quality was like by purchasing one of the cheapest items on offer: a Petit Akoya Pearl Ring for 1,500 yen.

Unlike a large majority of Japanese vending machines, this modern piece of machinery doesn’t accept coins or cash. Instead, there are two cashless payment options: credit card or payment via a QR code.

We swiped our credit card on the card reader on the right-hand side of the machine, and in moments there was a light thud as our purchase landed into the tray below. Reaching inside, we picked up a pretty Preno box, with a classy marble-like design.

As we opened the lid, we couldn’t help but wonder if this ring would look good enough to pass as a White Day present, or if it would look like a glorified gacha capsule toy.

▼ We unfolded the protective paper sheet and…there it was!

The box looked a little too big for the ring, but we figured the flat design of the box allowed more of them to fit snugly inside the vending machine.

Still, we weren’t here for the packaging, we were here for the ring, and picking it up we were surprised to find the pearl was beautifully polished, gleaming in the light like an expensive jewel. 

While there was nothing to indicate what the actual metal was, the pearl was so stunning it looked like it was worth more than what we paid for it. And with a Japanese Akoya pearl certificate included for authenticity, this would definitely put a smile on the face of anyone who purchased it.

Whether or not this is fancy enough to pass as a gift for someone else is up for debate, though, as it would definitely need to be dressed up a little more with at least a nicer ring box. However, the lustre of the pearl is certainly a stunner, and it’s a much better option for White Day than the cute and playful onigiri gacha capsule toy rings we purchased last year.

Vending machine information
Rayard Miyashita Park South 2F / レイヤードミヤシタパーク サウス2階
Installation period: 15 February-14 March
Hours: 11 a.m.-8 p.m.

Photos © SoraNews24
● Want to hear about SoraNews24’s latest articles as soon as they’re published? Follow us on Facebook and Twitter!
[ Read in Japanese ]