Roadside Lights: The Quiet Beauty of Japanese Vending Machines at Night

It started on a cold and snowy night when a wandering Japanese
photographer became fascinated by the way the white flakes were
piling up on an ordinary vending machine on the side of a road.

 began to document these machines, set against
the rural backdrops and natural landscapes of Japan, a country
with the highest ratio of vending machines to humans in the
world (1 to 23).

For Ohashi and others, these devices are symbols of warmth and
light in the long dark winters of Hokkaido, Japan’s cold north
island. They offer hot drinks to offset the nighttime chill.

Japan’s famously low crime rate likely contributes to this
vending machine culture as well, helping them to survive free
of destruction or vandalism even in remote areas.

Indeed, they stand out as bright and modern in many contexts.
Ohashi frames his curious subjects expertly against ancient
architecture, vernacular structures, scenic mountains and vast
bodies of still water.

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