Many visitors who are about to finish their trip in Japan may find some left over Yen coins in their pockets. Usually, these coins cannot be exchanged for local currency when brought back home.
So, is there any unique Japanese souvenir you can get with one or few 100 yen coins before getting on the airplane? The answer is yes. A lot of foreign tourists enjoy spending the leftover coins to get a capsule toy from the Gacha machines in the airports!
Capsule toys are called “Gacha”, “Gacha gacha”, “Gacha pon” or “Gasha pon” in Japan. It is a small plastic capsule with a small toy in it. The Gacha machines are like vending machines. Each machine has a theme and on the machine, there are images of the toys that are included in the capsules. You insert the coin and twist the crank, and a plastic capsule comes out. Until you open the capsule, you don’t know what you are getting.
They are usually sold at 100 JPY to 300 JPY. The toys may be about anime, game, animals, Japanese culture, and many other creative themes including very strange ones.
In Narita International Airport, there is a section only for “JAPANESE CAPSULE TOY GACHA”. In the late April this year, an additional new Gacha section was set up where recommended Gacha are introduced. There is also a video showing how to buy a Gacha using the coins for international visitors. Gacha in Narita Airport averages 3 times in sales when compared to the overall Gacha sales in Japan!
So far, “JAPANESE CAPSULE TOY GACHA” section is available at three airports in Japan as listed below.
1. Narita International Airport
Terminal 2, B1F
About 340 Gacha machines
2. Kansai International Airport
About 118 Gacha machines
3. Asahikawa Airport
1F, 2F, and 3F
About 34 Gacha machines