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
September 19, 2014 -- Updated 1049 GMT (1849 HKT)
British PM David Cameron has had the narrowest of political escapes.
September 19, 2014 -- Updated 0106 GMT (0906 HKT)
British journalist John Cantlie hadn't been seen in nearly two years. Now, he's the latest hostage to be paraded out by ISIS.
The burial leader. The hospital gatekeeper. The disease detective. All telling powerful, stories from West Africa.
September 18, 2014 -- Updated 2303 GMT (0703 HKT)
Alibaba's IPO is unlike anything investors have ever seen and could threaten other online retailers. Maggie Lake reports.
September 21, 2014 -- Updated 1812 GMT (0212 HKT)
Indian PM Narendra Modi has said al Qaeda will fail if it seeks to spread its terror network into his country.
September 18, 2014 -- Updated 1201 GMT (2001 HKT)
Put yourself in the shoes (and sixth-century black robes) of ISIS' Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, the mysterious boss of the terror group.
September 20, 2014 -- Updated 1444 GMT (2244 HKT)
 Tennis Player Li Na attends the WTA Pre-Wimbledon Party as guests enjoy Ciroc Vodka presented by Dubai Duty Free at Kensington Roof Gardens on June 19, 2014 in London,
Asia's first grand slam singles champion Li Na has called time on her 15-year tennis career.
Jenson Button has some of quickest reactions ever shown at an advanced sports lab.
September 19, 2014 -- Updated 1124 GMT (1924 HKT)
Creative companies with quirky ideas find new lending models advantageous.
September 18, 2014 -- Updated 1409 GMT (2209 HKT)
Even death couldn't part two skeletons excavated from a lost chapel in an English county, found with their fingers entwined.
September 19, 2014 -- Updated 1007 GMT (1807 HKT)
Each day, CNN brings you an image capturing a moment to remember, defining the present in our changing world.
Browse through images from CNN teams around the world that you don't always see on news reports.
ADVERTISEMENT