Jun 25, 2008

City Icons: Tokyo Japan

Perhaps you were expecting Tokyo’s pop culture, architecture or throngs of work hard play hard businessmen in grey and blue suits on the metro during rush hour. All are iconic but what stood out most to me was utilitarian, but with a uniquely Japanese flare for gizmos and design.

You’ll find them in every neighborhood and even under the city on metro platforms. According to some statistics there are approximately 6 million vending machines in Japan. Tokyo is home to about 2.4 million. Most sell energy and soft drinks, hot tea and coffee, beer, saki and cigarettes. You can also purchase anything from umbrellas to razors. In Tokyo vending machines cater to the lifestyle of city dwellers that are constantly on the go and live in small spaces. For these urbanites buying in bulk is not a practical option.

Convenience isn’t overly pricey. A soft drink will set you back about 120 yen, which is about $1.10. The machines do not fall victim to vandalism, graffiti or theft, which would be unheard of in other major cities.

Previous City Icons:
Antigua, Guatemala
Casablanca, Morocco
Mexico City


Sheila Scarborough said...

Georgia coffee - light brown can - hope it's still 110 Yen. My staple!

Lakshmi said...

thats a very interesting perspective that you have shared

Nomadic Matt said...

I lived and died by those green tea bottles....mmmmmmmmmmm no sugar though b/c with sugar they were too sweet!

Prêt à Voyager said...

The vending machines were definitely a highlight for me in Japan (simple pleasures). It was also the first real time I started to pay attention to product design- so cool!


Wendy said...

-Sheila-Coffee drinkers of the world unite!
-Lakshmi-glad you find it interesting.
-Matt-I'm with you on the no sugar.
-Anne-I'm a huge fan of Japanese design in general.

Jenny said...

Green tea!!!!!!!!! We have them here as well, but only in a convenience store

Wendy said...

Hi Jenny,
Looks like the Green Tea is a hit!

Anonymous said...

the vending machines look very cool...just one of many things I'd like to try out in Japan!

Wendy said...

Hi Bella,
I bet you'd love it.