Japan isn’t shy when it comes to stretching the limits of what you can buy in vending machines. From the convenient (vending machines dispensing masks and antibacterial wipes set up in the midst of the pandemic) to the downright unusual (edible insect vending machine, anyone?), Japan keeps you guessing as to what they’ll put inside a vending machine next.

Luckily, the latest machine doesn’t contain any bugs but instead aims to give you a taste of cuisine featured in the Michelin Guide. “Local Ramen Selection” is a frozen goods vending machine that was recently installed in Toyama City’s Aris Shopping Center (Google Maps). It brings together six types of frozen ramen created by regional restaurants from all across Japan.

Two of the six types of ramen come from Michelin Guide-listed restaurants, namely the chicken and salt-based ramen from JUNKSTORY in Osaka and the mellow chicken soy sauce-based ramen from KaneKitchen Noodles in Tokyo. Other options are local ramen from less-visited areas of Japan, like the “Fuji Noodles” from Keishōken in Gunma and Toyama’s own black pepper tonkotsu ramen from Tonkotsu Ebisuko.

Left: JUNKSTORY’s chicken ramen, right: KaneKitchen Noodles’ soy sauce ramen

Left: Fuji Noodles from Gunma, right: black pepper tonkotsu ramen from Toyama

The first “Local Ramen Selection” vending machine made its debut in Shizuoka earlier this year. You can find it in front of Katsuo Shōten, a ramen restaurant located in Iwata City.

By - Jen Laforteza.