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2022 Rewind: From noodles to insects, Japan's love affair with vending machines continues

You guessed it right: Japan's vending machines are continuing to churn out all kinds of weird and wonderful items, as the following articles published in The Mainichi in 2022 show. Check out some of the offerings of Japan's famed vending machine culture -- from noodles to insects, hot pot meals and even diapers.

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    "Somen" noodle restaurant owner Hideyuki Kato shows off his crepe vending machine in Sakurai, Nara Prefecture, on Dec. 20, 2021. (Mainichi)

    <<Vending machine selling handmade crepes in west Japan creates layers of online buzz>>

    SAKURAI, Nara -- A vending machine that sells handmade crepes in west Japan's Nara Prefecture has created a social media buzz, prompted by popular YouTubers introducing it in their videos. Full story.

    The vending machine placed outside the Iidabashi Higashi-guchi outlet of Ringer Hut is seen in Tokyo's Chiyoda Ward on Dec. 22, 2021. (Mainichi/Hiroki Masuda)

    <<Frozen noodle vending machines boost business for Japan's Ringer Hut restaurant chain>>

    TOKYO -- Ringer Hut, a restaurant chain specializing in Nagasaki champon noodle dishes, is pushing ahead with the installation of vending machines selling frozen versions of its products for people to savor at home. Full story.

    Hacienda International President Nobuyasu Himuro points to a recommended product in an insect snack vending machine in Sapporo's Shiroishi Ward on Jan. 17, 2022. (Mainichi/Yui Takahashi)

    <<Sapporo 'vending machine land' store begins selling insect snacks, other unusual items>>

    SAPPORO -- Japan's northernmost prefecture Hokkaido has seen the opening of its first store specializing in selling unusual items including insect snacks from vending machines in its capital Sapporo in late January. Full story.

    Shinya Handa, representative of ramen shop operator Shinsyunya, stands in front of a vending machine selling ramen selected by a popular YouTuber, in the city of Yamagata on Jan. 10, 2022. (Mainichi/Taisuke Kodera)

    <<Ramen vending machine offering dishes selected by YouTuber SUSURU debuts in Japan city>>

    YAMAGATA -- A ramen shop operator in Shinjo, Yamagata Prefecture, has installed a frozen ramen vending machine carefully selected by a popular YouTuber. Full story.

    A child watches a video on the Sayama tea vending machine in Tokorozawa, Saitama Prefecture, on Feb. 4, 2022. (Mainichi/Takashi Seido)

    <<Vending machine in Japan city whisks customers on virtual ride in train driver's cabin>>

    TOKOROZAWA, Saitama -- In Japan, vending machines are definitely a common sight. But one new vending machine in this city just northwest of Tokyo also gives its customers a far more exclusive sight: the view from a train driver's cabin as the train zips along the rails. Full story.

    An employee is seen promoting insect snacks sold in a vending machine in the city of Matsuyama, Ehime Prefecture, on April 27, 2022. (Mainichi/Yasutoshi Tsurumi)

    <<Vending machine selling 'nutritious' insect snacks creates buzz in west Japan>>

    MATSUYAMA -- A vending machine that lets people try "nutritious" insect snacks was unveiled along a national road in this west Japan city on April 27. Full story.

    A vending machine selling frozen meals of "mentaiko" spicy pollack roe and "motsunabe" hot pots is seen before the bullet train ticket gate on the second floor of Hakata Station in the city of Fukuoka on July 16, 2022. (Mainichi/Toshiki Inoue)

    <<Emergence of frozen food vending machines across Japan brings hope for shrinking market>>

    FUKUOKA -- Vending machines selling a variety of frozen meals, including ramen noodles, seafood bowls, broiled eel and cakes, have recently been on the rise across Japan, amid a shrinking market for the country's signature automated vendors. Full story.

    This photo provided by the Koga Municipal Government shows a vending machine selling diapers at a park in Koga, Fukuoka Prefecture.

    <<Diaper vending machines at Fukuoka Pref. parks dispel parents' worries>>

    FUKUOKA -- Vending machines selling diapers have been installed at two parks in the Fukuoka Prefecture city of Koga, which see many family visitors with small children. Full story.

    Vending machines selling goosefish dish sets are seen at the Shiosai no Yado Akatsukien inn in Kitaibaraki, Ibaraki Prefecture, on Oct. 26, 2022. (Mainichi/Takahiro Tauchi)

    <<Frozen deep-sea fish vending machines debut at Japanese inn>>

    KITAIBARAKI, Ibaraki -- Vending machines selling goosefish dishes -- a specialty of this east Japan coastal city -- have debuted at an inn famous for its meals using the deep-sea fish. Full story.

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