Mr. Sato taste tests some famous fish from Shizuoka.

Vending machines are absolutely everywhere in Japan. While most of them are filled with your stock standard drinks, every now and again you’ll come across vending machines dispensing some unique wares.

In recent years, vending machines selling food have become more popular, according to our vending machine expert and Japanese-language reporter Mr. Sato. So much so that a new pop-up store in Ginza, Tokyo is full of one-of-a-kind vending machines selling local specialties from all across Japan.

For example, you can buy apple juice and peach juice, fresh from farms up north in Aomori

… or perhaps yuzu citrus juice, or pickled vegetables, courtesy of the island of Shikoku?

Those all looked appealing, but the thing that really caught Mr. Sato’s eye first was this vending machine from nearby Shizuoka, home to Mt. Fuji. Shizuoka is known for wasabi, green tea and…

sea bream. In particular, this golden bream comes from Numazu, a port town in Shizuoka famous for fish.

This was the first time Mr. Sato had seen dried golden bream in a can, and what’s more, clearly unrefrigerated. Even the slogan on the bottom of the box says “Eat it as it is, bones and all!” meaning Mr. Sato wouldn’t need to do any kind of cooking to enjoy his Shizuoka golden bream. The can cost 860 yen (US$7.80) so he thought “Why not?” and bought a can to try.

As he looked closer at the box, he noticed a small disclaimer saying “picture shown for illustrative purposes only”, but Mr. Sato still kind of hoped he could open the can and the contents would be fish-shaped.

The can was a ring-pull type, and the use-by date was February 2023, meaning the can could be kept at room temperature for almost two years. Pretty impressive.

Disappointingly, the can was not filled with a whole fish in its original form like Mr. Sato had hoped, but rather boiled fillets of dried golden bream. But as Mr. Sato took his first bite, he was immediately struck with a feeling of high class.

The meat was soft and slightly sweet, and Mr. Sato savoured each bite. This wasn’t your everyday can of fish you can buy at the supermarket; this was a luxurious fish. 

The pop-up vending machine store was created as a way to connect producers and customers throughout Japan, as due to the coronavirus many of those connections have been lost. Mr. Sato suspects we may be seeing more and more of these kinds of vending machines in the future, and we hope so too — if it means we can get stuff like fresh pizza whenever we want, we’re certainly not complaining!

Location information
Sukima Department Unmanned Pop Up Shop / スキマデパート 無人ポップアップショップ
Address: Tokyo-to, Chuo-ku, Ginza 2-2-2
Open: 7 a.m.-10 p.m.

Photos ©SoraNews24
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