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.

Akihabara Gachapon KaikanA Gashapon in its natural environment: Akihabara Gachapon Kaikan

 Gachapon Heaven in Akihabara Gachapon Kaikan

Akihabara Gachapon Kaikon is tucked away in an alley off the main road.

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.

With so many machines, the store has stacked gachapon on gachapon. Thankfully, they have a step stool to reach the top row.

 

The store can be crowded sometimes, as a heads up!

 

Gashapon are also perfect for souvenirs!

 

The Akihabara Gachapon Kaikan even has a change maker if you don’t have enough coins to roll for gacha.

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.

With the popularity of My Hero Academia, key chains of the main cast have hit Akihabara.

 

With the popularity of My Hero Academia, key chains of the main cast have hit Akihabara.

 

Even video game characters have gasha versions, like Kirby.

 

A little Kirby for your hand
A small collection of Kirby is waiting to be hatched.

 

PUTITTO, a type of figurine that balances on cups, is currently a fad in Japan and sold in many gashapon machines.

 

Golgo 13 even has a PUTITTO.
Bechanko! Eggs are great for stress relief.

 

Throw it on the wall and watch it splat like a real egg before it returns to its original state.

 

Watch it turn back into an egg.

 

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Makoto Ogawa

Makoto Ogawa

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