We all know that the vending machines in Tokyo are the best. Snacks, drinks, even ice-creams! Anytime you feel peckish you can just stroll around and I guarantee that you will find a vending machine within 5 minutes. On cold winter days, they even offer warm drinks to provide momentary comfort. Vending machines in Japan are simply awesome, not to mention incredibly convenient.
What if I told you that the same thing applies to souvenirs?
In Japan, there are little vending machines for toys and souvenirs. They are called “Gacha-Gacha”s or “Gacha-Pon”s, and although you may assume that the quality of these souvenirs is not that good, but the thing is, they are. They are also very unique, and anyone who receives these souvenirs as gifts will be more than happy!
The ¥100-¥300 souvenirs inside these round plastic capsules can be funny, useful, weird, or just plain cute.
Some popular ones in Japan include:
“Cup-no-Fuchiko”, which features a typical Japanese “Office-Lady” named Fuchiko. The Fuchiko comes in many poses and is able to be hung from the edge (“Fuchi”) of your mug cup or glass.
“Jiyuu Sugiru Megami”, which features the Statue of Liberty in many different poses, including those that are conventionally Japanese such as the “Seiza”. The name of the Gacha-Gacha is a play on words, stating that the Statue of Liberty is “Jiyuu Sugiru” which translates to “Too Liberated”.
“Neko Sushi Nya-ta”, which features the two things that all Japanese people love: Sushi and Cats! The cats even have names, and they come in strap form so you can flaunt your Neko Sushi anywhere!
“Kabuki Kumadori Omen Mascot”, which features the villains of Kabuki plays. The strap version is only available at the Haneda airport, but there are other similar ones that are available in places that tourists usually go to. The look of the villains leave a big impact, and I personally love my Namazukuma strap!
Some people become obsessed with these little capsules, and try to collect all of them. However, since there is no way you can choose which one you get, collecting Gacha-Gachas can be quite a pain. Plus, most Gacha Gachas have a “secret” version amongst all the other ones, and if you get the “secret” version, you’ll get automatic bragging rights and a truly unique souvenir for yourself!
Buying souvenirs can get expensive, and most of the time you end up buying something cliche like a Japanese style fan (Sensu). Why not pop to your nearest KIDDYLAND, TSUTAYA, or any large electronics store and buy something fun? You can also search where you can buy the Gacha-Gachas on their websites.