Skip to main content

Tokyo vending machine tempts runners with tomatoes

By Euan McKirdy, for CNN
January 31, 2014 -- Updated 0831 GMT (1631 HKT)
The vending machine dispenses two types of tomatoes
The vending machine dispenses two types of tomatoes
STORY HIGHLIGHTS
  • A vending machine near Tokyo's Imperial Palace dispenses tomatoes
  • Kagome is promoting the fruit as a healthy alternative to energy drinks and bars
  • Tomatoes are among a long list of weird things that Japanese can buy from vending machines
  • The country has 5.5 million vending machines, or one for every 23 people in the country

Hong Kong (CNN) -- The round, red objects that Tokyo's runners have been encountering lately are not the exhausted faces of fellow joggers, but rather a healthy snack at the end of their run.

The agricultural giant Kagome told CNN it has placed a tomato vending machine in a station providing lockers and shower facilities for joggers near a popular running route close to the city's Imperial Palace.

The bright red vending machine, which has the slogan "tomato loading" in Japanese emblazoned on it, serves two sizes of the fruit, costing either 300 yen ($3) or 400 yen ($4) per piece.

Kagome is pushing tomatoes as a healthy, rehydrating and nutrient-replenishing option for runners and will keep the vending machine in place until after the Tokyo Marathon on February 23.

Japan is the spiritual home of vending machines, with jido-hanbaiki, as they are known in Japanese, dispensing everything from soft drinks to toothbrushes, and even emergency underwear.

Kagome\'s tomato vending machine will serve runners
Kagome's tomato vending machine will serve runners

There are currently around 5.5 million vending machines in Japan, or one for every 23 people in the country, according to the Japan National Tourism Organization.

While vending machines dispensing apples and bananas are not unheard of, tomatoes are a new concept. They are replaced every other day, according to reports, to ensure freshness and the Nagoya-based company, which has a large share of Japan's tomato market, says that they can help combat fatigue.

"I recommend runners have one after jogging to supply nutrition," a Kagome executive was quoted as saying in the Asahi Shimbun newspaper.

Kagome has previously distributed tomatoes to marathon participants, handing out thousands of them at last year's Tokyo event.

ADVERTISEMENT
Part of complete coverage on
April 24, 2014 -- Updated 0626 GMT (1426 HKT)
A year ago, 1,000 garment workers died in the collapse of Rana Plaza building in Bangladesh. Here's a look at what has changed since then.
April 24, 2014 -- Updated 0453 GMT (1253 HKT)
Focus is on the fish as U.S. President starts tour with visit to legendary Tokyo restaurant.
April 23, 2014 -- Updated 1723 GMT (0123 HKT)
Fireworks are fantastic and human endeavor has its place, but sometimes Mother Nature outshines any performance we can produce.
April 24, 2014 -- Updated 0306 GMT (1106 HKT)
In 1987, China sent its very first email. Here's what it said,
April 24, 2014 -- Updated 0213 GMT (1013 HKT)
The world's new fastest elevator will fling you from earth to the 95th floor before you're done reading this article.
April 23, 2014 -- Updated 2012 GMT (0412 HKT)
In one U.S. state, a new bill will allow ordinary citizens to carry guns in all sorts of places. Does it make you feel safer?
April 21, 2014 -- Updated 1410 GMT (2210 HKT)
In South Korea, volunteer divers are risking their lives to rescue victims of the sunken ferry.
April 23, 2014 -- Updated 1915 GMT (0315 HKT)
Park Jee Young, 22, helped passengers escape as the Sewol ferry sank -- giving out life jackets while refusing to wear one herself.
April 22, 2014 -- Updated 1643 GMT (0043 HKT)
What did outgoing manager David Moyes get wrong in his six months with English Premier League football team Manchester United?
April 23, 2014 -- Updated 1736 GMT (0136 HKT)
In honor of Shakespeare's birthday, here are 15 of the world's most amazing theaters.
April 22, 2014 -- Updated 1734 GMT (0134 HKT)
CNN exclusive: Australian officials are hammering out a new agreement for widening the Flight 370 search area.
April 22, 2014 -- Updated 1228 GMT (2028 HKT)
Malaysian officials sent to brief Chinese families are armed with little to no information.
April 22, 2014 -- Updated 1545 GMT (2345 HKT)
When a team of Indian surgeons opened up the stomach of a 63-year-old man, they had no idea they'd extract a fortune.
April 22, 2014 -- Updated 0701 GMT (1501 HKT)
Do these photos CNN of gun-toting men wearing green uniforms prove Russian forces are in eastern Ukraine?
April 23, 2014 -- Updated 1711 GMT (0111 HKT)
If the Duchess wears it, then your fashion career is sorted for life.
April 24, 2014 -- Updated 1729 GMT (0129 HKT)
Browse through images you don't always see on news reports from CNN teams around the world.
ADVERTISEMENT