EHIME, Nov. 4 ― A mandarin orange from Ehime, an apple from Aomori, and an Umeboshi pickled Japanese plum from Wakayama. Believe it or not, all of them are sold in capsules today in vending machines in Japan.
The new and unusual fresh food capsule vending machines are drawing attention all over Japan. They are called Gachapon or Gacha. They usually sell small toys in capsules, but today, there are Gacha machines that sell locally-grown fresh food, and they are doing a good job particularly with children. The targets are young consumers who are eating increasingly less fruit and grandparents who are always happy to say yes to their ground children.
Real mandarin orange in capsule making kids smile in Ehime
On November 3, 2017, Mikan Gacha, a vending machine that sells real mandarin oranges in capsules debuted at Shiroyama Monzen Matsuri festival in Matsuyama city, Ehime Prefecture. Matsuyama is already known for having an airport shop that sells “orange juice right out of the faucet” based on the idea from one urban legend that “in Ehime, you can get orange juice directly out of the faucet.” Now the city is trying to surprise people by selling “a mandarin orange in a capsule.”
A capsule with one SS-sized mandarin orange costs you 100 yen, relatively higher, but children at the festival queued to wait for their turns. A 9-year-old boy from Matsuyama said, “I love Gacha. Today, I had so much fun buying a real mandarin orange in a capsule!”
On November 4, the Mikan Gacha machine was moved to the 1st-floor entrance of Ehime Egao Kanko Bussankan, a local tourists and products center located in the Matsuyama Ropeway Shopping District. The shop owner, Ehime Tourism and Product Association, said, “We’d like to catch the eyes of the tourists, especially those who use SNSs (social networking services).”
Fresh food Gachapon popular in Tokyo and tourist spots
In Misawa city, Aomori Prefecture, Aomori Prefecture, a famous hot springs resort Hoshino Resort Aomoriya introduced a Gacha vending machine with apples two years ago. It’s received extensive media coverage and become one of the favorite attractions for visitors to the resort. An apple in a 15-centimeter big capsule is sold at 100 yen until November 28 this year.
In Yurakucho, Tokyo, an Umeboshi Gachapon vending machine is doing a good job at an antenna shop of Wakayama Prefecture, Wakayama Kishukan. It sells a capsule that contains one umeboshi in individual package, a magnet of a matching character, and a small note to explain the history of the plum production at 200 yen each. You have a chance of winning a rare capsule, the one with a large-sized umeboshi of about 40-50 mm in diameter, only once in 7 purchases. This feature also appeals to the consumers.
The umeboshi vending machines are installed in the antenna shop in Tokyo and shops in Minabe and other towns in Wakayama Prefecture.