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Japan’s Best Farmers Markets

Eating local is becoming popular worldwide but has long been a tradition in Japan. Morning markets have been around for hundreds of years, feeding the public with freshly grown produce, caught-on-the-day seafood, and local meat. For residents of Japan, especially the rural areas, the morning market replaces the supermarket, free of the gas and other costs incurred by trucks delivering goods from other parts of the country. Farmers’ markets are the best place to grab a taste of the local culture and cuisine while also protecting the environment.

  • Tokyo’s United Nations University Market

    Tokyo’s United Nations University Market

    Tokyo’s United Nations University Market

    Surprisingly, Tokyo has not caught onto the farm-to-fork trend that has been sweeping the rest of the world. Farmers’ markets are more frequently found in more upscale areas while the traditional morning markets are in smaller towns or the suburbs. The trendy Aoyama area hosts the largest farmers’ market in Tokyo on the campus of UN University. All the food is grown in the Kanto region, thus reducing the amount of fuel needed for transportation to the market. The market also hosts food trucks and a small antique section, perfect for a day out.

  • Katsuura Market

    Katsuura Market

    Katsuura Market

    Located in southern Chiba, Katsuura Market is one of the largest and oldest morning markets in Japan. For about 800 years, the stalls have been selling everything from freshly caught fish to seasonal produce to homemade Japanese cooking staples. The vendors are normally local farmers. The market is located right near Katsuura fishing port, one of nine in the area, and is a prime location for colossal seafood. It is one of the most famous markets in Japan and receives over 200,000 visitors annually, both international and domestic tourists. Street food is available with a focus on various forms of mochi dessert. The market is also a good place to pick up hand-crafted, non-edible souvenirs.

  • Makishi Market

    Makishi Market

    Makishi Market

    All the way down south, Okinawa can seem like a completely different country from mainland Japan. The cuisine is especially distinct, focusing on produce locally grown on the islands. Makishi Market is the place to find the best of true Okinawan food. Located in Naha, the market is two stories high and accommodates over 150 vendors. It sells typical seafood and produce, much like the other morning markets, but with an Okinawan twist. The seafood is bright and colorful, featuring unusual fishes such as parrotfish. Umibudo, or sea grapes, are a popular delicacy throughout the islands and are found in abundance at the market. Pork is the most commonly ingested meat item and every cut of it, including the head, can be purchased.
    The second floor houses an eatery where diners can enjoy local cuisine freshly prepared from the produce downstairs. The vendors are all friendly and will start a conversation. They might even give you free samples.

  • Popolohas Market

    Popolohas Market

    Popolohas Market

    Every second Sunday of the month, Wakayama city’s local morning market fills up a covered shopping mall. The market not only sells local produce, it also sells artisanal goods and handmade crafts. Here, there are live performances and vendors selling street food. The market occasionally has themes, such as Finland week in December or Taiwan week. There are always different vendors and it’s a great place to chat with friendly locals and become a part of Wakayama city.

  • Hachinohe Morning Market

    Hachinohe Morning Market

    Hachinohe Morning Market

    Located in Aomori, the Hachinohe morning market is one of the largest and best in the country. Hosting over 300 vendors over a radius of 800 meters, the market sees about 10,000 visitors weekly, the largest number in Japan. The market is near Tatehana Wharf, which sells fresh seafood straight out of the seawater. The market sells everything, including breakfast and coffee for the uninitiated visitors. Fresh produce from all over Aomori prefecture is popular, especially the famous apples. You can also find homemade Japanese delicacies, such as pickles or miso. The market is open from sunrise to 9am, so be sure to get there early!

    Kokusairengo Univ
    Address
    Tokyo Shibuya-ku Jingumae 5-chome 53-70
    Phone
    03-5467-1212
    Katsuura Morning Market
    Address
    Katsuura City, Chiba Prefecture
    Phone
    Makishi Public Market, Naha
    Address
    Okinawa Pref. Nahashi Matsuo 2-10-1
    Phone
    0988676560
  • Tatehanagampekiasaichi
    Address
    Aomori Pref. Hachinoheshi Shinminato Kanono quay
    Phone
    0178273868
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