Two things I always make sure I do when visiting Japan are 1) eat ramen and 2) buy things from some of the wonderful variety of vending machines found most everywhere across the country.
However, despite my love for these two things, I have never combined them, only because buying freshly made ramen from a vending machine was not possible in Japan…until now.
That all changes this week. Yo-Kai, the California-based maker of robotic fresh ramen vending machines, has debuted the country’s first ramen-making robot at the Haneda airport in Tokyo. According to the announcement, the new Yo-Kai machine is located in Terminal 2 at Haneda and will serve up ramen with four types of miso in 90 seconds for 790 yen ($6.55).
Japan is recognized as the vending machine capital of the world, where customers can buy everything from grilled fish to chocolate-covered superworms by inserting coins or tapping their phones. By being the first company to bring a fresh-ramen making robot to Japan, Yo-Kai could have a huge opportunity in front of it
Yo-Kai founder Andy Lin seems to agree. In a post on Linkedin, Lin says Yo-Kai’s presence in Japan was in the works for some time and hints the ramen machine could show up in other locations soon.
“More exciting news will be announced soon!”
Since I’ll be back in Japan in August for our annual Smart Kitchen Summit Japan, it looks like I’ll have to head over to Haneda to combine my love of these two distinctly Japanese specialties.