A Vending Machine for Origami? Only in Japan’s Ehime Prefecture!

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  • When it comes to vending machines, Japan’s always a champion. While the rest of the world settles on the simplicity and practicality of the machine, here comes Japan bringing it to an entirely new level by dispensing all sorts of items not just limited to those we use every day. From bento and noodles to vegetables and bread in a can, Japan just seems to have a vending machine fit for everyone’s needs. But this time is different…

    Located at Kita District (喜多郡) in Japan’s Ehime Prefecture (愛媛県) is the town of Uchiko (内子町), a place known for its natural beauty and rich agriculture.

    Recently, the place caused a buzz in both national and international media outlets for this one-of-a-kind vending machine that truly displays creativity and the concept of “thinking outside the box.”

    Origami

    origami-cranes

    Origami is literally the art of folding paper and has long been attributed to Japan, though the term is now widely used around the world to refer to all kinds of paper-folding art. Anyone with skilled hands can create various paper figures like animals, symbols, and even characters.

    Origami Vending Machine

    Origami might be popular, but nothing can prepare us for the reality that someone finally made the move to make them available on vending machines!

    Yes, that’s right! Creating your own might be enjoyable but it also takes time, especially if you’re not a master of the craft. If the purpose is to have a quality origami piece, then why not get them straight out of a vending machine?

    This particular vending machine in Uchiko offers a full array of origami pieces neatly arranged in rows with corresponding prices.

    The creative selection includes the following:

    • Sold at 10 yen each: plane, ninja shuriken, goldfish-shaped balloon, rabbit balloon, winged balloon, balloon
    • Sold at 30 yen each: sword, three kinds of helmet, carp streamers, Japanese iris, ornamented envelope
    • Sold at 50 yen each: frog, a pair of lips, crow, acrobatic horse, spinning top

    Judging from the items, we can conclude that the difference in pricing is primarily based on the complexity of the design. The 50-yen items are also movable, adding up to their allure.

    The Brilliant Creator and Her Subtle Call to Recycling

    As of this writing, the 61-year-old woman who runs a shop in town and who is said to be the creator of these brilliant pieces remains to be unnamed.

    According to a report published at SoraNews24, the idea came from the desire of the woman to use their old vending machines rather than throwing them away.

    Given Uchiko’s rich paper manufacturing business, creating origami figures seemed like a great way to provide items for the empty vending machines. Moreover, the creators also made an effort to attach a bag on the machine to encourage buyers to put back the origami containers that come along each piece so they can reuse it for replacement items. Talk about being eco-friendly.

    There’s no sign yet of this machine going mainstream, especially in main cities like Tokyo, but it certainly got enough attention to make it a must-see attraction for locals and foreigners.

    Vending machines are efficient and practical tools for people on-the-go, but Japan has once again proven that you can always go beyond the mainstream and make something better! Origami isn’t as practical as noodles, but isn’t it just the item you need for a creative boost?

    Shop address: Ehime-ken, Kita-gun, Uchiko-cho, Hiraoka-ko (愛媛県喜多郡内子町平岡甲) 1555-3

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