Tokyo vending machine tempts runners with tomatoes
January 31, 2014 -- Updated 0831 GMT (1631 HKT)
The vending machine dispenses two types of tomatoes
- 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
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.
Part of complete coverage on
April 17, 2014 -- Updated 1635 GMT (0035 HKT)
The possibility of pockets of air remaining within the hull of the sunken South Korean ferry offers hope to rescuers -- and relatives -- say experts.
April 17, 2014 -- Updated 1145 GMT (1945 HKT)
Despite hundreds still missing after the sinking of a South Korean ferry, reports of text messages keep hope alive that there may be survivors yet.
April 17, 2014 -- Updated 1614 GMT (0014 HKT)
An Iranian mother slaps and then forgives her 17-year old son's murderer in dramatic scenes at the gallows.
April 16, 2014 -- Updated 1237 GMT (2037 HKT)
Mentions of the 1989 Tiananmen Square student protests or political reform are still censored in China.
April 16, 2014 -- Updated 2131 GMT (0531 HKT)
Russia's propaganda worse now than at height of Cold War, says Leon Aron, director of Russian studies at AEI.
Sanctions imposed against Russia are working as a deterrent, President Barack Obama and other White House senior administration officials said.
April 17, 2014 -- Updated 0440 GMT (1240 HKT)
A lack of progress in the search for MH370 is angering the families of victims.
April 16, 2014 -- Updated 1509 GMT (2309 HKT)
The searches for the Titanic and Malaysia Airlines Flight 370 share common techniques.
April 16, 2014 -- Updated 1135 GMT (1935 HKT)
An "extraordinary" video shows what looks like the largest and most dangerous gathering of al Qaeda in years.
April 17, 2014 -- Updated 0335 GMT (1135 HKT)
This year's Pyongyang marathon was open to foreign amateurs.
April 14, 2014 -- Updated 1230 GMT (2030 HKT)
Explore each side's case, reconstructed from Pistorius' court affidavit and the prosecution's case during last year's bail hearing.
April 16, 2014 -- Updated 1753 GMT (0153 HKT)
How are police preparing for this year's 26.2-mile marathon, which takes place Monday?
April 15, 2014 -- Updated 1702 GMT (0102 HKT)
Romance is hard, for anyone. For people with intersex traits, love poses unique challenges.
April 16, 2014 -- Updated 2126 GMT (0526 HKT)
The "kill switch," a system for remotely disabling smartphones and wiping their data, will become standard in 2015.
April 17, 2014 -- Updated 1552 GMT (2352 HKT)
Browse through images you don't always see on news reports from CNN teams around the world.
Today's five most popular stories