Japan is famous for its hi-tech vending machines. They’re digital, colorful and loaded with variety and lots of fun. So when I heard of a restaurant with no staffs, that was all vending machines, I jumped at the chance to visit. This place is called a Jihanki-Shokudo. and it’s located at Isesaki-City, about 2 hours from Tokyo. The sign calls it the “automat diner” in English. I came hungry. So what makes Jihanki-Shokudo special? There is no staff at all. The food vending machines are all retro. The restaurant is super clean, and it’s cheap and fun. but is the food any good? That is what I am here to find out. The inside is pretty cool. and now the machines. It’s chow time. Vending machine burger unboxing! There were 3 choices, each for 300 yen. I went for the popular tartare meat burger. It counted down a minute to heat up. delivered like a Christmas present down the chimney. Let’s see what we got for dinner. Tartare Meat Sauce Burger 300¥ All burgers are fresh, the prepared date on the bottom of the box. Does it look fresh? I guess so. It sure smells better than it looks, and that’s a good sign. inside, smothered in tartare and meat sauce. Yum Only one way to find out if it’s any good. Not bad. The meat is juicy, the sauce is rich. and it’s all blended together well. Soba, Udon and Ramen vending machine taste test! This is not your cup noodle ramen, people, Not freeze dry. It takes about 30 seconds. That’s fast food. Maybe too fast. Oh, it missed. Careful, that broth is boiling hot. The noodles look a little like spagetti. Where are the Cha-shu and toppings? There it is! On the bottom. Now the taste. It’s complex, salty and hot. Noodle’s a little soggy, but hey, it’s not too bad. Want proof? I ate the whole thing. They also have Tempura Udon for 330¥ . The Udon is under the Tempura. The taste? Salty, chewy, pretty good! So what’s the deal with this place? Let’s ask the owner. The concept of this vending restaurant… there are places in Gunma prefecture where you can have a meal with old vending machines, but those places are combined with fame centers but for us, we wanted to have families with kids and women alone visiting so we skipped the arcade games and just made a vending machine restaurant Also you will find vending machine maniacs and nostalgic elderly people who love these machines visiting Recommendation from the chef. From the noodle machine, the Chashu-men is most popular In the middle from the toast vending machine the Italian toast sandwich is the most popular From the burger vending machine the center button, the Tartare Sauce burger is no.1 The machine ate my money! (What do I do now?) There is no staff here. What do you do when there is a problem? When there is a problem, my mobile phone number is written on the machine Just call and I’ll fly to help. That’s real dedication to serving your customers. There is one more machine to try. The toasted sandwich. This machine has an oven mitts, tongs and a tray for your convenience. It only takes 100 ¥ coins. There is a changer nearby. Your choices: Red bean paste and cheese, or Italian toast with basil and bacon. That’s and easy one. Italian. It takes 40seconds. and it comes out hot. That’s why you need the tongs and tray. I got a look inside the machine, earlier. You can see the two choices. and the toaster on the bottom. Old school tech that just works. Let’s unwrap this thing. It’s a little on the thin side. The tag has the sandwich’s expiration date on it. Fresh. Oh wait! The drink! There is an old Coca Cola machine for 100¥. Cola just tastes better in a glass bottle, doesn’t it? Not too bad. Smells great. A little basil, a little cheese. Inside, it’s not wall to wall painted. Everything is in the middle, so you have to work to get to the tasty center. The taste. is well… It’s a toasted sandwich. What did you expect? Jihanki-Shokudo is opened from 10:00AM to about midnight. In Japan, service and convenience converge at a place like this. and so does culture. People clean up after themselves. and cleanliness of this unstaffed place impressed me the most. The verdict, it’s fun! It’s decent food for the price, and it’s certainly something out of the ordinary. and that makes this place truly, ONLYinJAPAN. Bon apetit.