The vending machine has to be one of the greatest inventions of all time, considering how convenient and efficient it is, like a mini shop that requires minimum manpower. From dispensing snacks and drinks, it has since evolved to sell all kinds of things, including piping hot food which we never thought was possible, and of course, face masks. As far as its design goes, it can hardly escape that black or white rectangular, metallic box that is so commonly seen.
However, on a street in Iwami Ginzan, a World Heritage Site in Japan’s Shimane prefecture, sits a vending machine with a peculiar design. It looks like it is constructed from wood, instead of the usual galvanised steel body.
Apparently, the street named Omori is lined with traditional-looking shophouses, and was designated an important traditional buildings preservation district of Japan in 1987. Together with a nearby silver mine closed down in the 1920s, it was then designated a World Heritage Site in 2007.
But it turns out that the vending machine’s wooden frame was actually handmade before Iwami Ginzan was registered as a World Heritage Site! The intricacies found in the wooden structure, with wood that goes so well with the surrounding shophouses, make the vending machine very intriguing to look at, even if it sells very typical drinks like Coca-Cola.
For vending machine fanatics, or those who enjoy basking in the traditional vibes of Japan but dislike the crowd in Kyoto, Omori is definitely an Insta-worthy place to visit, although the easiest and fastest way to get there is a two-hour car ride from Hiroshima.