Vending machine at Tokyo Station makes ramen in just 90 seconds

The Yomiuri Shimbun
A ramen vending machine is seen at JR Tokyo Station.

Travelers at Tokyo Station can now get freshly prepared ramen from a vending machine, ready in only about 90 seconds.

East Japan Railways Co. began operating the vending machine on a trial basis from Wednesday. Customers place their order on a touchscreen. JR East is seeking to expand its noncontact services, demand for which has increased amid the COVID-19 pandemic.

Four flavors of ramen are available at ¥790 each: soy sauce, salt, miso or tonkotsu pork bone broth. Customers make cashless payments and can eat at a desk and chair provided nearby.

U.S. start-up Yo-Kai Express Inc. developed the vending machine, which is about 1.3 meters wide and 90 centimeters deep.

It will be in operation from 4:30 a.m. to midnight through Monday, and from 4:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Tuesday, the final day of the trial. If the endeavor is successful, JR East will consider installing the machines at regional stations.

Yo-Kai Express was founded in 2016. In the United States, the company’s machines sell ramen for about $13 (about ¥1,600) per bowl at approximately 50 locations, including airports and hotels. In Japan, the company aims to install its machines at about 250 locations in the future.

The Yomiuri Shimbun
Ramen noodles served from the vending machine