Try your luck with “chaotic” capsule toy machines!

Insane variety of content and the lottery-like anticipation and excitement that you don’t know what you are going to get—capsule toy vending machines are so popular in Japan that the market size is even rumored to be about 45 billion yen a year. Discover your favorite capsule toys from the countless vending machines you find throughout Japan, including the ones at Narita Airport.

When you turn the knob, a capsule containing a small toy comes out from the vending machine. In Japan, you see these small vending machines everywhere as well as people of a wide range of ages enjoying them. There are many reasons for their popularity. For example, you can play with them casually as they are usually affordably priced between around 200 to 500 yen, and they are so unique that they make you want to collect them all. And their biggest allure is their rich variety of toys that fit in the small capsules. Miniature figures such as sushi, maiko (apprentice geisha), and anime characters, as well as the “Jiyu Sugiru Megamizou” (meaning “The Statue of Liberty with too much liberty”) series, the character-themed lunch box series, the spotted garden eel series, the Godzilla monsters press conference series, and the “ID photos of complete strangers” series, the “letters from grandpa” series—anything goes in the chaotic world of capsule toys. The vending machines are restocked with new capsules when they have zero or only a few capsules left in them, so if there is any toy that you are interested in, you should get it without hesitation before it runs out! Capsule toys have become an inseparable part of Japanese culture, but not too many people know that they originated in the United States in the early 1900s and that it wasn’t until the 1960s that they were introduced to Japan. In the 1980s, as major toy manufacturers entered the capsule toy market and began releasing products one after another, reflecting the trends of the time such as supercar erasers, pop idols, sumo wrestlers, and professional wrestlers, capsule toys became a huge trend. The locations of vending machines also diversified from local candy shops to supermarkets to mass merchandisers. In the 2000s, many products came out featuring various subcultures and targeting adults. It is probably only in Japan that capsule toys evolved to have such an insane variety and originality. In terms of popular capsule toy spots in Japan, “Gacha Gacha no Mori – Harajuku Alta Branch” and “Akihabara Gachapon Kaikan” are the famous ones, but capsule toy spots are just about anywhere, so you should be able to find them in many other places as well. Of course, we have capsule toy vending machines here at Narita Airport, so give it a try if you are at the end of your trip and if you want to get something that is really Japanese. It would also be the best opportunity for you to use all the small change that cannot be used back home. It is as easy as ABC. Just put some coins in and turn the knob! You might not get what you want, but why not try your luck as one last fun activity for your Japan trip?

Terminal 1

Terminal 2

Terminal 3

(Information as of April 2023)