Since it first opened in 2000, Tateishi Burger has been a favorite of those who enjoy oddities, which are known in Japan as “B-spots.” Located in a quiet neighborhood, its raggedy façade may not lure in a lot of passersby, but it never ceases to attract said B-spot enthusiasts from around the country.
Founded by Toshiharu Hamano, Tateishi Burger is an old-fashioned, eat-in bakery with a small variety of low-priced burgers and sandwiches. But what makes it really stand out is its whimsical, almost-inventive means of selling them. Built into the shop’s exterior is a handmade “burger vending machine,” from which visitors can easily buy burgers, pizza, and sandwiches during the shop’s opening hours.
Initially, the vending machine was not mechanized but operated by Mr. Hamano, who would serve a burger every time someone inserted a coin into it. The current model has been upgraded so that the buttons activate a flap to open and drop the sold burger.
Inside, visitors may notice an array of unusual (and random) merchandise displayed on the wall. There are tattoo stickers, magnets, and handkerchiefs, none of them remotely related to burgers. Occasionally, you can also purchase rights to name new burgers or be the manager for 24 hours.
In 2016, despite its internet fame, Tateishi Burger discontinued its burgers and became Mochi Pizza, selling rice cakes topped with cheese, tomato, and bacon. But it wasn’t long before the signature burger returned and the store reverted to its original name.
A new sign hasn’t been put up since Tateishi Burger’s return, which caused the rumor of its closing to circulate, but the offbeat little shop still stands with a renewed vending machine, and it keeps evolving in an unexpected way as long as Mr. Hamano’s inventive, adventurous spirit lives on.
Know Before You Go
It's about a five-minute walk from Horikirishōbuen Station (despite its name, the store is not quite near Tateishi Station). The shop is open every day except Wednesday, from 11:00 a.m. to 7:00 p.m. You can buy the burger for just 100 yen (approximately $1).