Magical Mystery Tours

Japan is famous for its proliferation of gachapon, or capsule vending machines, which sell everything from exotic beverages to underwear. This summer, Peach Aviation, a Japanese airline that mainly flies domestic routes, began installing special vending machines that offer discounted airfares.

Last week, the airline installed its first gacha vending machine in Tokyo’s popular Shibuya district, filled with round-trip mileage points to domestic destinations flying out of Tokyo’s Narita Airport. The process is a gamble, and only after opening  the prize capsules do buyers find out where they’re going. The locations include cities in Okinawa and the northern prefecture of Hokkaido.

Vending machine users pays 5,000 Japanese yen ($44) and receives 6,000 Japanese yen ($53) worth of mileage points, which can only be used toward the destination they won. Using the code printed on a sheet of paper inside the capsule, people then exchange these points for airfare to book online. It also comes with a miniature pin badge and a “mission” for the flier for when they reach their destination. Not much of a deal, but I guess the fun is in the mystery.

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