First imported from America in 1965, capsule toys – or gachapon – really caught the Japanese imagination in the 1970s and rapidly spread across the country. The machines were initially set up in front of sweet shops, with toys intended primarily for kids. But in recent years, capsules have grown up, with everything from cheeky treats for adults to miniature artworks inside.
Capsule toys have various names in Japanese, depending on the region and manufacturer. One of the most famous names, gacha-gacha comes from the sound a capsule machine makes when its lever is turned to dispense a toy. The charm, or even the addictiveness, of this toy is that you won’t know what you’re getting until you’ve cracked open the ‘egg’. Here are the city’s top places to spin for a surprise.