Japanese Vending Machines at Night Juxtaposed with a Wintry Hokkaido Landscape

“In Hokkaido where I live, winters are harsh and snows are deep,” says photographer Eiji Ohashi. “Every day can become rather inconvenient” due to the constant snowfall. But heavy snows also bring wintry wonderlands and the discovery of small pleasures.

One snowy night. Ohashi was walking outside when he found himself transfixed by the form of snow that had piled up on top of a vending machine. Japan has the highest penetration of vending machines per person (there’s roughly 1 vending machine for every 23 people in Japan) and the fact that the majority of them are outdoors is a testament to the country’s safety and respect for property. Very rarely are these machines ever vandalized.

Outdoor vending machines, especially the ones in remote locations, buried in snowfall, became not only a photographic subject for Ohashi but also a welcome oasis from the harsh winters of Hokkaido. The deep snows can become inconvenient “but even then I can get warm drinks from the vending machines. When I hold a warm bottle that I buy from the vending machine, my feelings relax.”

A collection of these photographs by Ohashi are available as a photobook. You can also see more of his work online.

Ohashi’s photographs will be on display at the Case Tokyo gallery from 5/19 – 6/23/2018.


  1. Those Japanese vending machines blow my mind. I got lost on takao mountain once and was utterly hopeless of ever finding civilization again. I found abandoned and rotting tractors the forest had taken back, weird half completed concrete structures, the trail was gone, I was well and truly lost. Then, I turn a corner, and find a goddamned vending machine. Powered. With stock.
    I followed its power cord back for a solid ten minutes before I found the little building on a trail it led to.
    Somebody restocked that vending machine. Somebody installed it.
    It’s like this throughout Japan. Boggles the mind.

  2. Is there anyway to see them in higher resolution?

  3. Hey, there’s a cool video about vending machines in Japan: https://vimeo.com/100745864

  4. Beautiful series. I was always impressed by these machines. It inspired me this year to produce a similar series. Instead of Hokkaido it is Kyushu.

Comments are closed.

© 2024 Spoon & Tamago

Up ↑

Design by Bento Graphics