HIROSHIMA – Want a piping hot pizza any time you feel like one? So did truck driver Yoshiharu Taniguchi, who craved freshly made Italian pies when he worked long nights. His solution: hunt for a pizza vending machine.
He tracked down an Italian company that manufactured them, and a few years later it developed one for Japan.
Shortly after the vending machine was installed in Hiroshima’s Nishi Ward in late July, it went viral on social media and attracted crowds within a week.
Long lines form daily with as many as 40 people queuing up for pizza at any one time. Customers include out-of-towners like Akari Miura, a 24-year old part-time worker from Tokyo. “It’ll make a nice Instagram post and I’ll have good memories of Hiroshima,” she said.
The vending machine’s popularity lies in the pizza’s authenticity and freshness, with the dough handmade in Venice. The pie is baked for 5 minutes between 180 and 260 C, and comes in two varieties: Margherita and Four Cheese.
Taniguchi, 43, is now CEO of the company that installed the pizza machine. Determined to go national, he is working with eight manufacturers with the aim of developing a pizza dispenser better suited to Japan’s humid climate.
“Japan still has many opportunities. My goal is to spread pizza vending machines throughout Japan from Hiroshima.”