If you’re looking for a cheap souvenir that comes with a bit of fun and surprise, try gachapon! These coin operated toy vending machines are seemingly everywhere in Japan—from tourist attractions to airports, arcades, supermarkets…even dedicated gachapon centres like Akihabara Gachapon Hall.
Simply pop in a few coins, turn the crank and see what comes out. For those who don’t mind a bit of plastic, it’s a neat little activity you can slot into even the most scheduled day. Besides, you get a little something to take home, too!
What’s with the name?
Gachapon is an onomatopoeia of the words gacha (the sound of turning the crank) and pon (the sound of the capsule landing in the tray). Very literal, though perhaps tricky for non-Japanese speakers to remember.
Even though similar machines have existed around the world since the 1880s (for gumballs and postcards!), gachapon has had a place in Japan since 1960. The name became trademarked in 1977 and the rest was history for these kawaii little capsule toys.
You can read the rest of the article at this link. This article was first published by Team JJ on February 20, 2021. Check here for deeper and unique insights into visiting Japan, including wellness, travel, cuisine and more. Follow on Instagram @japanjourneys.jp, and on Facebook at this link!