Who would’ve thought you could get Japanese rice wine from sake vending machines in Tokyo? Yes, you read that right. A vending machine where you just pop in your change, select the sake of your choice and voilà, your cup is filled with delicious sake. In this post, I’ll tell you what kind of sake is available, how to use the sake vending machines and where you can find this little gem. With 30 different sake to choose from, this is one unique and fun experience that I’d highly recommend for all sake lovers.
Here’s a quick video on how to use the sake vending machines. We got a cup from each machine to create our own sake tasting flight!
Types of Sake from the Sake Vending Machines
There are three sake vending machines and each carries a different type of sake: Junmai shu, Ginjo-shu and Daiginjo-shu. At each machine, you’ll find bottles from 10 different sake breweries in Tokyo. The sake’s information along with its flavour profile is clearly displayed in front of each bottle to help you decide which one to try.
How Much Does Each Cup of Sake Cost?
The price for each type of sake, or each vending machine, is different as well. Here is the cost for a 50ml cup of sake (as of Feb 2018):
Junmai shu – ¥200/cup
Ginjo-shu – ¥300/cup
Daiginjo-shu – ¥400/cup
So you’ll need ¥9,000 if you want to try all 30 bottles of sake!
How to Use Sake Vending Machines
Before we jump in on how to use the sake vending machines, I have two pieces of advice for you:
- Check out all the sake that’s available and decide what you’d like to try before you grab your cup. This way you won’t be standing in front of the machine and potentially holding up other customers.
- Make sure you have enough change. The sake vending machines only accepts ¥100 coins. If you don’t have change, you can exchange your ¥500 or bills at the cash register.
So now that you’ve checked out the sake vending machines, know what you would like to try and have enough change, it’s time to fill your cup!
Here’s how to use the sake vending machine:
- Take a clean cup.
- Put the cup in the dispensing area – the little door below where you insert the coins. Make sure you close the door after you placed the cup.
- Insert the right amount of coins into the sake vending machine.
- Press the green button associated with the sake that you’d like to try.
- The light in the dispensing area will light up and you should be able to see the sake pouring into your cup.
- Once the light goes off in the dispensing area, open the door and remove your cup of sake.
Snacks and Other Drinks
Besides sake, you can also buy shochu and local beer. Inquire about them with the cashier. At the shop, you can buy sweet and savoury snacks to enjoy with your sake as well. Be sure to pay for your items first before bringing them to the sake vending machines area.
Where to Find the Sake Vending Machines in Tokyo
You can find the sake vending machines inside a store name “Tokyo Store” (東京商店). The Tokyo Store is located in Edo NOREN, a small shopping area right next to the JR Ryogoku Station West Exit. It’s about 20-25 minutes from Tokyo Station by train. I’d recommend taking the time to check out the other shops and restaurants in this area. And if you’re lucky, you might just catch a friendly sumo match at Edo NOREN as they have a sumo ring right in the centre of the shopping area!