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Eating at a Vending Machine Restaurant Tokyo

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We are reasonably seasoned travelers. We have had our share of navigating across foreign cities and figuring out all manner of travel problems.  We generally relish all manner of off the beaten path restaurant experiences. The vending machine restaurant Tokyo put our travel figuring-out skills to the test.

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We have been managing, but nothing was coming easily. It has been testing all of our foreign travel skills much moreso than our previous travels to Europe or even to Thailand have (Thailand was very westernized in many ways, and EVERYTHING was in English.)

Other than picking up snacks from the 7-11, we hadn’t eaten since a small breakfast at McDonalds since morning. It had been cold walking around outside. We didn’t bring winter coats, because it would have been stupid to carry them through Thailand on the chance that we might spend a couple days in Japan on the way home. Moral of the story, we were chilled and it was getting dark and starting to rain. We needed to find some warm, affordable food.

Having seen an appealing poster outside of a casual looking restaurant a few blocks back, we walked back and walked in.

Noodles at the vending machine restaurant Tokyo

Conquering the Vending Machine Restaurant Tokyo

Seeing a counter surrounded by Japanese people, eating bowls of appealing looking noodles, rice and meat, we proceeded to sit down at a table nearby. The next step was figuring out how to order. Were we supposed to go up the the counter or wait for someone to come to us?

Our first question was answered shortly thereafter, but the answer only made more questions. The young man at the counter came over and showed us to a machine which appeared to be for ordering and paying. We had seen something like this in Madrid-a system where you use a machine to order and pay for food, then bring the receipt to the counter to have your food made.


Bowl of noodles at the vending machine restaurant in Tokyo

We almost lot our fight with the machine. We almost got frustrated and walked away (all of the buttons were in Japanese, this was not a restaurant intended for tourists.) Another customer came up, and we watched how he ordered. When confused, always watch what the locals are doing!


Problem solved, food ordered, machine conquered! Dinner eaten, and it was good. Our authentic experience for the day, a vending machine restaurant Tokyo .  These machine order restaurant are a great option for affordable, filling, quick food in Tokyo (and it turned out to be one of our favorite things that we did in Tokyo!)

Shanna Schultz

Hello, my name is Shanna, and I am a detail obsessed travel addict on a mission to make planning your own family trips fun and easy! I offer tools, guides and resources to help you through all of the steps of planning meaningful, memorable family vacations. Come over and check out our Facebook community where I share real tools and resources to help you move the needle on your travel goals. Let's start making those travel dreams real, y'all! Life is too short to spend dreaming...let's start DOING!

This Post Has 6 Comments

  1. Ramin

    Wow! That’s pretty cool. But at least the food is still made by humans.
    In Berlin there was a pizza vending machine in a train station – so after you put in your coins, I guess it somehow managed to heat up a frozen pizza and spit it out. I never had the courage (or inclination) to try it though.

    1. Shanna

      Yeah, the automated food trend is interesting. We ate at a local, hole in the wall restaurant in Segovia, Spain that was similar…we ordered and paid through a machine and brought the ticket to a window to get our food.

  2. We’re going to layover for a couple days in Tokoyo next summer. I’ll definitely hit you up on what vending machines you recommend. 😉

    1. Shanna

      I hope to delve more deeply into the Japanese restaurant scene next time we visit, but we were only there for two days on that trip and we were on a strict budget…

  3. Long Jack

    Your post on a vending machine in Tokyo actually gave me a terrific business idea, which I would wish to apply locally… 🙂

    This is my first time here, love the blog’s template 🙂

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