Japan is famous for its rich culture and cutting-edge technology, and one of the things that really stands out is the existence of vending machines.
These are not just any vending machines; they're a diverse collection that can be found almost everywhere—from busy city corners to shopping centers. Among these, Gacha vending machines hold a special allure, particularly for collectors and fans of pop culture.
Gacha toys are small collectible items encased in plastic capsules. These vending machines are a common sight in various places around Japan, including shopping malls and street corners.
The name "Gacha" is derived from the word "gashapon," which mimics the sounds made by the machine: "gasha" represents the sound of turning the wheel, while "pon" signifies the capsule falling out.
If you're keen on trying out a Gacha vending machine while you're in Japan, here are the simple steps you can follow:
First things first, you'll need coins. Most Gacha machines operate only on coins, so it's important to have enough change on hand before you make a purchase.
If you don't have coins, you usually can find a coin exchanger near the Gacha vending machines. This is a convenient option for converting your bills into coins.
In terms of costs, the price for a single Gacha capsule usually ranges between 100 and 500 yen. Prepare 100 or 500 yen coins according to the price mentioned on the machine.
The options for Gacha vending machines are vast. They offer a wide range of themes, from anime characters and animals to various types of miniature foods. Choose a machine that catches your interest, but also pay attention to the price and type of items you could receive.
As for me, I chose a Gacha machine featuring the TinyTan Butter BTS theme because I'm a BTS fan. That particular machine costs of 300 yen each.
Once you've decided on the machine you want to use, the next step is to insert your coins. Each machine will have a slot for this, along with instructions on how to do it.
It's crucial to look at the instructions to find out which coin denominations are accepted. In my experience, the machine I used accepted both 10 and 100 yen coins.
After inserting the coins, you'll usually hear a sound or see an indicator that signifies the machine is ready. Locate the round lever—often situated on the side of the machine—which will have a circular arrow on it.
Turn this lever firmly and wait to hear the "pon" sound that signals the Gacha capsule has fallen into the retrieval area.
If for some reason the capsule doesn't come out, don't worry. You can usually get your coins back by pressing a white button located near the coin slot. Once you've retrieved your coins, you can start the process again.
Finally, grab the fallen capsule and open it to reveal your new collectible! As an added feature, some Gacha machines offer a mini catalog that displays all the potential items you could receive. This is especially fun for those interested in collecting a full set of items.
And that's the guide to buying Gacha toys from vending machines in Japan. Whether you're a collector or simply curious, these small toys offer a slice of Japanese pop culture that's hard to resist.