Photo Credit: Kentaro Takahashi/
Did You Know? Vending Machines In Japan Sell Flights To Surprise Destinations
Japan is known as a country of innovation and cutting-edge facilities. As Vice Magazine recently reported, Japan-based airline, Peach Aviation, has installed vending machines around the country that sell flights to surprise places.
The prizes offer round-trip mileage points to domestic destinations. The process is entirely random, and only upon opening do customers find out where they’re going. They have been in existence since August of this year.
Known as Gachapon, the vending machines are coin-operated toy dispensers. Unlike most Western toy vending machines, which are aimed at children, the contents you receive for your coins aren’t chintzy throwaways, but relatively high-quality, limited-edition goods related to pop culture, making them popular among collectors and casual fans alike.
Chinori Ide, a 19-year-old college student, won a trip to Sapporo, the capital of Hokkaido.
“That’s the destination I really wanted because my grandmother lives there. I haven’t seen her in two years because of the pandemic,” she told VICE.
For every 5,000 Japanese yen ($44) spent on capsules, the customer receives 6,000 Japanese yen ($53) worth of mileage points. They can only be used toward the destination shown in the prize. Using the code printed on a sheet of paper inside the capsule, people then exchange the points for airfare online. It also comes with a miniature pin badge and a “mission” for the flier for when they reach their destination.
Shuntaro Kosasa, director of the project, told Vice that all the mission ideas are generated by him and his staff.
“So we’re furiously coming up with new ones, so that they don’t get too old or boring,” he said.
Initially, the goal was to sell at least one capsule a day. However, due to the success that the project reached on social media, the first vending machine in Osaka, has sold over 3,000 trips since August. With this project, the airline company intends to improve its social media buzz in order to give a boom to its business, severely impacted during the COVID-19 pandemic.
“Not only is it new, there’s stimulation from the excitement of not knowing which destination you’d get. It was time to do something fun.”
The gachapon machines in Shibuya, Tokyo in Japan will be available until December. However, Peach Aviation is considering expanding to other locations throughout the country.