Sweet Potatoes Now Available in Vending Machines

Sweet Potatoes Now Available in Vending Machines

TOKYO, JAPAN - Japan is known as the land of the rising sun. I fondly remember it as the land of convenience stores, interesting food concoctions, and vending machines. I recently found out that those same vending machines now have a sweet potato variety.

In Nobeoka and Hyuga, Miyazaki Prefecture, 11 of said machines now offer both hot and cold packages of the grilled-to-perfection sweet potatoes (or yaki imo), encased in a futuristic tube. According to AsiaOne, the potatoes are vacuum-packed in a can, which extends the best-by date to a whole month, allowing about 500 yaki imo to be vended to eager consumers.

Sweet potato vending machines have been cropping up in Japan, serving both hot and cold options

Yaki imo is usually eaten hot off the coals during the autumn and winter months, both effectively warming the insides as well as the hands when coming in from the snow. But the vending machines also serve these cans cold, making them a perfect snack in the humid summer months that Japan is famously known for. Any way you eat them, it’ll only cost you 300¥, roughly $3.

The vending machines are a joint-venture; local real estate agency, Wakosangyo, teamed up with Medaka Family Group, a support center for disabled people in Miyazaki that manages and stocks the machines, according to Japan Today. Support (and appreciation) for these vending machines continues to climb, leading to over 1,500 sweet potatoes to be sold in one month one time.

Available in Red Haruka (sticky), Miyazaki (fall flavors, starchy), and Anno (rich and moist) varieties, these vending machines are probably one of those curiously amazing things I would have to try next time I’m in Miyazaki. Keep reading ANUK for more interesting produce deliveries.