A genius way to sell some very Japanese staples. 

Japan is well-known for its vending machines, but when you’re looking for ones that sell food rather than drinks, you usually have to travel out to the suburbs, where you can find them stocked with more unusual items like fruit and herbs.

However, just the other day, our roving reporter Mr Sato was visiting the Don Quijote novelty store in Kasai, in Tokyo’s Edogawa Ward, when he saw a machine that looked to be selling drinks, but on closer inspection, he found it wasn’t.

▼ Don Quijote

It was hot that day, so Mr Sato was hoping to grab some water from the vending machine, which was located in a nearby parking lot. Like a lot of vending machines, this one had what appeared to be advertising on the side, which read “Furusato Rice” (Hometown Rice”).

When he saw the front of the machine, it was filled with plastic PET bottles, just like an ordinary drinks vending machine, but the liquid inside the bottles looked unusually pale

Stepping closer to find out why, Mr Sato took a step back again in surprise as he realised these PET bottles weren’t filled with liquid. Instead, they were filled with…

▼ …rice! 

▼ Rice was inside bottles in the top row, bottles in the middle row, and…

▼ …bottles in the bottom row!

The machine was stocked with rice from top to bottom, with the only exception being three buttons for green tea in the top left corner.

▼ Rice and tea. Could this vending machine be any more Japanese?

These were two staples any Japanese person could happily live on, so it was nice to see them paired together in one machine like this. Mr Sato quickly forgot about his thirst, though, as the rice-in-PET-bottle idea got him so excited he ended up using all his coins on the bottles of grains instead.

▼ There were two varieties of rice here: “Harumi” from Kanagawa Prefecture and “Koshihikari” from Chiba Prefecture.

It was a genius idea to use PET bottles to sell rice from a vending machine, because the larger bottles were able to hold 3 go of rice, while the medium ones contained 2 go and the small ones contained 1 go (“Go” is the traditional measurement for a serving of rice). Being able to buy just one to three servings of rice is perfect for busy Tokyoites living on their own, who might not have enough storage space to keep a big five-kilo (176-ounce) or ten-kilo bag at home.

Plus, the compact PET bottle makes it easy to carry the rice in your bag.

Mr Sato bought 2 go of Koshihikari for 500 yen (US$3.71) and 1 go of Harumi for 300 yen and popped them in the pockets of his bag to cook up at home.

This vending machine is a great way to sell rice, as it makes it super easy to purchase the staple at any time of the day or night, without even having to step into a store. And though anyone who looked closely at the contents of Mr Sato’s PET bottles on his way home would probably mistake him for a weirdo, it didn’t bother him at all — this is a guy who once wore a frightening smile mask on a train, after all.

Vending machine information
Don Quijote Kasai Store / ドン・キホーテ葛西店
Address: Tokyo-to, Edogawa-ku, Kitakasai 4-14-1 (vending machine is in the vicinity of the multi-storey parking lot)
Hours: Vending machine operates 24 hours a day

Photos © SoraNews24
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