The first modern vending machine, with coins, appeared in London around 1880, selling post cards. 8 years later, Koshichi Tawaraya created the first vending machine in Japan, selling tobacco. Unfortunately, none of these machines survived until today, but at the Museum of Communications from Tokyo there is an “automatic stamp and postcard dispenser” built by the same inventor in 1904.
The vending machines are hugely successful in Japan because they are space-saving, are permanently open and can be placed anywhere (thanks to the low crime rate). Plus, the Japanese love to shop from vending machines… So, in 1999 there were 5.6 million vending machines in Japan, one for every 33 people! It is of notoriety the large variety of vending machines in Japan, from soft drinks, coffee, beer or sake to snacks, popcorn, umbrellas or even books…
The soft-drink machines are ubiquitous, but some vending machines are quite rare. Here’s one I saw only once, in the Palette Town, Odaiba - it was selling small perfume bottles made by… Bvlgari! If you like Bvlgari perfumes, I’m sure you will be very interested… and notice that the blue bottle was out-of-stock…
The green bottle is the first fragrance launched by Bvlgari in 1992, Eau Parfumée au Thé Vert:
Bvlgari perfumes vending machine
Yesterday’s Japan Photo: Tokyo Old-and-New, Yurakucho Station