Vending machine at Tokyo Station makes ramen in just 90 seconds
17:00 JST, April 9, 2022
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.
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