What is Gachapon?
Japan is known as a haven of vending machines. From umbrellas to canned oden, just about anything can be purchased without human interactions. Unsurprisingly, anime goods and novelty toys can be bought from a vending machine, but these machines aren’t like any normal soda machine.
Think of a gumball machine, but instead of a mandible challenge, a tiny plastic bubble filled with toy a rolls out when you crank the nob. This is gashapon, a popular capsule toy that derives its name from the machine’s crank (gasha) sound and the plop of the toy at the end (pon). As ubiquitous as soda vending machines, gashapon is commonly found in front of bookstores, in train stations, restaurants, and especially anime goods stores.
Gachapon Heaven in Akihabara Gachapon Kaikan
Of course, the streets of Akihabara abounds with gashapon. Akihabara. But, for those who want an intense gashapon experience, be sure to check out Akihabara Gachapon Kaikan. A 2-minute walk from the Tokyo Metro Suehirocho Station or a 7-minute walk from the JR Akihabara Station, this specialty store boasts of around 500 gashapon. Every month, 50 new gashapon arrive at the Akihabara Gachapon Kaikan, and customers can choose from a selection of new and old anime and novelty toys.
Gashapon machines cover the walls of this famous local establishment, and people of all ages and nationalities visit on any given day.
Highlights from Akihabara Gachapon Kaikan
Still confused what gashapon is? Below is a handful of the very best Akihabara has to offer fresh from the machine.