With one vending machine (自動販売機, jidōhanbaiki) per an approximate 30 people, Japan has one of the world's highest vending machine densities. Machines can be found all over the cities and also in the countryside. Almost none of them are vandalized or non-functional.

A majority of machines sell non-alcoholic beverages such as soft drinks, juice, energy drinks, tea and coffee for a reasonable 100 to 200 yen. These drink machines usually offer both hot and cold beverages. Vending machines that sell alcoholic beverages and cigarettes are less common. Many other varieties of vending machines can be found in even smaller numbers, selling goods such as ice cream, rice, disposable cameras, instant noodles and even omikuji, the small fortune telling slips of paper sold at shrines and temples.

The typical vending machine accepts payments in 10, 50, 100 and 500 yen coins, as well as 1000 yen bills. When paying in cash, insert the money first before making your selection. Payment by IC cards, such as Suica and Icoca, is possible at an increasing number of vending machines, especially in and around railway stations. When paying by IC card, make your selection before scanning your card over the card reader.