Friday, March 6, 2015

Tokyo and Yokohama Region Farmers Markets: Saturday, March 7th and Sunday, March 8th

Sea Gull Marche in Yokohama full of good food!
March is breezing its way in as winter vegetables begin to give way for spring in field and furrow. There will be some evidence at the market as nanohana starts to appear, but for the most part I'd recommend taking advantage of those glorious winter leafs (komatsuna, karashina, and the like) as well as any last mekabbetsu (brussel sprouts) while the getting is still good. I'm in Australia cruising the market scene in Melbourne and Tasmania, but don't be shy about heading out!

Kamakura Farmers Market
Every day
A small local affair featuring Kamakura heirloom fruits and vegetables raised in yet another former capital city, the Kamakura Market is a small but wonderful venue. Head in early to get the best selection and pick up a loaf of Paradise Alley's charcoal infused bread while you're there.
7am until sold out
Map

Futamatagawa Farmers Market - Yokohama
Every Friday
A charming little weekly market tucked conveniently just outside the turnstile at Futamatagawa Station in Yokohama where a nice selection of fresh, seasonal fruits and vegetables await. Joining them are baked goods, rice, miso, and all the other fixings one might need for the week or just a good snack. Plenty of Kanagawa goodies, too, so be sure to ask!
10am to 6pm
Look for the tables when you step out the gate!

Every Saturday and Sunday
A massive weekend affair that is great fun and features a variety of fruits and vegetables and prepared products from all over Japan. Plus, there's a most excellent selection of food trucks offering everything from salad to zingy curry to roast chicken to falafel!
10am to 4pm

Every Saturday
Back up and running after a refurbishment of the market space, the Roppongi Farmers Market is as booming and bountiful as ever. Don't miss this chance to meet a grower from Tokyo's very own Kokobunji and sample seasonal bounty.
10am to 4pm (Usually. Do check their website for schedule fluctuations.)
Map

Yurakucho Farmer's Market
Every Saturday and Sunday
Smaller than the UNU Market, Yurakacho features a particular region of Japan each week along with an excellent selection of seasonal fruit and vegetables. Growers from nearby Chiba, Kamakura, and Saitama are also on hand to help fill the larder.
11am to 5pm
Directions: Turn left out of Yurakacho station and cross the courtyard toward Tokyo Kouku Keitan. Look for the fun under the overhang!

Know of a market? Give me a shout and we'll add it to the list!

Monday, March 2, 2015

Reprise: Mystery solved! A Review of A Guide to Food Buying in Japan by Carolyn R. Krouse


This post first appeared in June, 2012 at Ecotwaza.com, a lovely little company sharing the joys of Japanese culture, where I used to write a monthly column. Wander over and take a look at the good work they're up to. Don't be shy to email in English. They're fluent and more than happy to help! - JB

Buying food in a foreign culture can be as intimidating as it can be exhiliaraing. A new country, more often than not, means new vegetables and fruits, some bearing only a slight resemblance to beloved favorites from home and others so different, they are a tad frightening. A new culture also presents new  cooking challenges – a lack of an oven or only two burners on a stove, for example – not to mention different spices and sauces. Without a personal guide, the usually familiar terrain of supermarkets, green grocers and farmers markets suddenly becomes an alien landscape. Throw in an experimental purchase or two gone wrong, (“That was intestine?!?”) and even the most adventurous may begin searching for the the local branch of an international fast food chain or grocer.

Enter Carolyn Krouse's book, A Guide to Food Buying in Japan (Tuttle Publishing, 1986). Just the gentle hand most new arrivals need and desire, Krouse's book is a no-nonsense reference that still holds merit despite being published more than 25 years ago.  Many of the products she lists remain the same, as do the fish, vegetables, and fruits commonly  available.  New vegetables, such as zucchini, may well be familiar to foreigners in Japan, but the old guard – udo, daikon, kabu, komatsuna, and burdock – will most likely be strangers.  Soba, udon, ramen, and somen with matching sauces and broths are a new world of noodle much different than the pasta many people know. Similarly, the wide variety of tofus, teas, rice, and other cultural favorites are all also briefly but well explained. 

Laid out in a handful of chapters focusing on different food groups as well as common cleaning supplies, Krouse includes photos and sketches of various items, as well as the kanji, hiragana, and katakana that might be needed.  Enlarged illustrations of product labels – from food to cleaning products – are given with explanations of each item listed. The same is done for sale fliers and other commonly occurring signs found while out foraging for dinner.  Krouse even includes a recipe or two and some advice to get people started in their new kitchens with a new set of pantry items. Those with food allergies will find reassurance in clear examples of kanji (with the associated pronunciation aids) for assorted fish, nut, and dairy items. 

Photos and sketches complement short descriptions of everything from fruit to vegetables to seaweed, with a seasonal chart of fish thrown in for good measure. Krouse also thoughtfully includes some basic Japanese the shopper will find invaluable such as “How much is it?” and “Is it in season?” She describes specialty shops found along every shotengai (shopping street), too, although these are fast disappearing despite better service, less packaging, and usually slightly lower prices with the advent of chain supermarkets and the arrival of big box style stores.

She also lets readers in on a few handy tricks like finding baking soda (look in the drugstore rather than the supermarket) along with tips for quick substitutions (powdered cocoa and shortening can replace baking chocolate in a pinch) that will save cooking hassles galore. Her suggestion to visit department store basements with their vast selections of beautifully presented appetizers, main dishes, and desserts is a great idea for exploring and sampling new foods. Perhaps most wonderful for new arrivals as well as longer term residents, though, are the vocabulary lists (everything from additives to seaweed to drain cleaner is listed in English with corresponding kanjji, hiragana, katakana and a romanji pronunciation guide), recommended reading list (a bit dated but still useful), conversion tables, cooking terms, and counting terminology. 


A slim volume, A Guide to Buying Food in Japan, is meant to be easily whipped out when consternation and confusion strike. Krouse's brief explanations and definitions serve as an excellent starting point for those wishing to know exactly what it is in front of them. Users should keep in mind that this is a pocket reference, and that further knowledge of an item will require a bit of research, bumbling language efforts, and lots of smiling and laughter. While not answering every question a reader might have about a particular item, A Guide to Buying Food in Japan will certainly help transform the weird and new into old friends welcome in the household. 

Friday, February 27, 2015

March Farmers Markets in Tokyo and Yokohama Regions

Hello, daikon!
Kamakura Farmers Market.
Spring is rolling in, sprinkling ume blossoms in her wake along with a few blustery blue days, too. Don't miss the chance to sample udo, one of the weirder vegetables out there, for its slightly ginger tang, as well as nanohana. Oh, and feast away on the other delightful bits and bobs of the season to be found, not the least of which will be seeds, seedlings, and plenty of foodly inspiration everywhere. I'm in Australia at the moment munching and drinking my way about the markets there with a bit of hiking and friend-visiting, too. Head on out and enjoy for me!

Ebisu Market

Sunday, March 1st and Sunday, March 15th
Don't miss the opportunity to head to a nifty part of the city where on these sweet Sundays you'll find farmers and producers galore. (One even comes from Okutama with a lovely array of vegetables and a vegetable-based spread that will knock your socks off.) It's worth noting, too, that Do One Good, an animal NPO will be on hand with some of the cutest dogs ever waiting to go home with you!
11am to 5pm
Map

Market of the Sun
Saturday, March 14th and Sunday, March 15th
The newest of Tokyo's farmers markets, Market of the Sun professes to be one of the largest, and this month looks to have a bit of an Italian theme, too. Cheese, anyone?. A short walk from Tsukiji Market and its wonderful surrounds, it's worth a stop for a selection of foodly and crafty items that rivals that at the UNU Market.
10am to 4pm
No map but step out of Kachidoki Station exits A4a and A4b

Koenji Farmer's Market
Saturday, March 21st
A new market I spotted while riding the train on a Saturday morning into the city center. That circle of red awnings in front of the Za-Koenji Public Theatre could only mean one thing! Sure enough, I found a small group of area growers and producers, and the bounty surely continues!
11am - 5pm
Map

Nippori Farmer's Market
Saturday, March 21st and Sunday, March 22nd
Another great market in the city found with a little help from friends, this one is sure to not disappoint. A small but lively market, particularly on Saturday, it is well worth the trip. Plus, Tohoku growers are on hand sharing their best-of-the-best, so come on out to be part of the recovery and get something good to eat.
No map, but just head out the east exit and look for the green awnings!
10am to 5pm

Oiso Farmers Market
Sunday, March 15th
This little gem of a community shindig is one of the best things going outside of the Earth Day Market, and I don't say that lightly. A nice little community affair started a handful of years ago, it blossomed into a full-on monthly festival that just happens to feature Shonan area produce in its fresh, seasonal form as well as pickled, dried, and prepared-hot-in-a-bowl. In summer it turns into a night market, but in fall it will swing back to regular daylight hours. More than worth the trek down to see what's going on!
10am to 3pm
Oiso Port Building

Sunday, March 29th
I could go wax on forever about how great this market is and how important it is for the future of Japanese farming and global food security. Instead, I'll just insist that folks go and see for themselves what great things the market and these innovative growers are doing. This month the market will be a a three-day wonderland of organic and fair trade goodness not to be missed. Come frolic and enjoy!
10am to 4pm, Rain or shine!
Map

Kamakura Farmers Market
Every day
A small local affair featuring Kamakura heirloom fruits and vegetables raised in yet another former capital city, the Kamakura Market is a small but wonderful venue. Head in early to get the best selection and pick up a loaf of Paradise Alley's charcoal infused bread while you're there.
7am until sold out
Map

Futamatagawa Farmers Market - Yokohama
Every Friday
A charming little weekly market tucked conveniently just outside the turnstile at Futamatagawa Station in Yokohama where a nice selection of fresh, seasonal fruits and vegetables await. Joining them are baked goods, rice, miso, and all the other fixings one might need for the week or just a good snack. Plenty of Kanagawa goodies, too, so be sure to ask!
10am to 6pm
Look for the tables when you step out the gate!

Every Saturday and Sunday
A massive weekend affair that is great fun and features a variety of fruits and vegetables and prepared products from all over Japan. Plus, there's a most excellent selection of food trucks offering everything from salad to zingy curry to roast chicken to falafel!
10am to 4pm

Every Saturday
Back up and running after a refurbishment of the market space, the Roppongi Farmers Market is as booming and bountiful as ever. Don't miss this chance to meet a grower from Tokyo's very own Kokobunji and sample seasonal bounty.
10am to 4pm (Usually. Do check their website for schedule fluctuations.)
Map

Yurakucho Farmer's Market
Every Saturday and Sunday
Smaller than the UNU Market, Yurakacho features a particular region of Japan each week along with an excellent selection of seasonal fruit and vegetables. Growers from nearby Chiba, Kamakura, and Saitama are also on hand to help fill the larder.
11am to 5pm
Directions: Turn left out of Yurakacho station and cross the courtyard toward Tokyo Kouku Keitan. Look for the fun under the overhang!

Know of a market? Give me a shout and we'll add it to the list!

Monday, February 23, 2015

Japanese Charcoal: How and Why this Natural Deodorizer Works Its Magic: Reprise


A variation on the chokubaijo (vegetable stand).
Instead of produce, homemade charcoal.
Hachioji, Japan
This post first appeared at Ecotwaza, a beloved little company here in Japan sharing the best of Japanese culture. Don't be shy to take a look and see what's going on over there! - JB

There's good reason for charcoal to be so popular in Japan. A long tradition of using it to heat and cook made it indispensable for a smooth running household, but it played other roles inside and outside the home. A charcoal maker would have gathered their raw material – wood – from nearby forests, which meant they played a significant role in the cycle of satoyama. The stump left behind in this half-wild, half-managed 'buffer' area would resprout in preparation for future harvests. Such practices allowed for continuous human use that left a place for understory plants to flourish and wildlife to roam. 

Today, only a small handful of charcoal-makers remain, but the country's fondness for this dark material remains steadfast for other reasons. Japanese friends recall visits to their grandparents homes where it was customary to find a small bowl of charcoal could be found in corners of the kitchen or restroom or even tucked away inside the refrigerator and closets. Bringing nature into the house as a natural deodorizer and dehumidifier becomes custom then, one that most people here hardly give a second thought.  

One thing that makes Japanese charcoal unique and therefore still revered is how it is made. Wood from bamboo or hardwood trees (or ume seeds even in the case of Sanyo Paper!) is heated to a very high temperature – about 1,000 degrees Celsius – and then allowed to cool in an oxygen-free environment. The end result is a charcoal that gives off little smoke (hence, perfect for the izakaya or for use in the tea ceremony), while generating heat strong enough for cooking.  

Such high temperatures also create what is called 'activated charcoal.' This type of charcoal has a very porous surface area attractive to other molecules, like those from yesterday's fish, floating by. Charcoal's normally bottleneck-shaped pores are widened out by the heating process, subsequently making it easy for wandering molecules to land. Irresistibly drawn in, such molecules find themselves so busy settling on the surface (a process called adsorption) that they have no energy left to roam about the house being smelly or making mildew.

How much surface area could such a small thing possibly have? According to Professor Teresa Bandosz, Professor of Chemistry and Chemical Engineering at The City College of New York who studies the use of activated carbon to help solve environmental problems, one gram of activated carbon (in this case, charcoal) has a surface area of 1,000 to 3,000 square meters.

“Think of a sponge with its many holes. Activated carbon is like that sponge, but rigid with walls made of carbon. The layers are arranged in a disorganized way and between them are the pores. If you unfold the layers and lay them out flat like tiles on a floor, the surface is immense,” said Bandosz.

That irresistible draw is not just because activated charcoal has so much elbow room for molecules to land on, but the fact that it is carbon. Carbon can occur by itself as an element or nearly pure as diamonds or coal, but it is most commonly found combined with other elements to form things such as animals, plants and the soil they grow in, as well as, human beings. Essentially, every living thing and then some, contains carbon. And that also includes those odors emanating from the garbage bin or the now unrecognizable leftovers in the back of the refrigerator. 

What does that have to do with activated charcoal? Carbon, essentially, likes carbon. 

“The carbon surface (of charcoal) is able to attract molecules that have carbon. Organic species are made of carbon, so there is a higher affinity and physical attraction,” said Professor Bandosz.

The next logical question is what happens when all the space on that massive surface area is full?  It gets emptied, of course! 

Another benefit of activated charcoal is its ability to be reused. Heating the charcoal will cause the bonds with those offending molecules to loosen and ultimately release the majority of the attached molecules through evaporation. (Odor molecules tend to be gaseous, so a little heat makes them relax their grip and break free.) While the organizations Professor Bandosz works with regenerate their carbon on an industrial scale at temperatures ranging from 500 degrees Celsius to 800 degrees Celsius, the average person can achieve a somewhat similar effect by hanging their bag of charcoal in strong sunlight for a day. A regular airing every few months means activated charcoal can remain useful for a year or two before needing to be replaced.


Bringing this idea into the home is simple whether it's lining drawers with charcoal paper, hanging charcoal sachets in the closet, or inserting some of either of those into a rain-soaked shoe. A little bag of it on the table or in the back of the refrigerator can work wonders, and let's not forget that the Ekberg's placed a sturdy layer of charcoal lining under the floor as part of their eco-remodel, too! 

Friday, February 20, 2015

Tokyo and Yokohama Region Farmers Markets: Saturday, February 21st and Sunday, February 22nd

Beets, glorious beets, at the Kamakura Farmers Market.
This short month is one of my favorites for a variety of reasons, not the least of which are ume. This lovely tree blooms in the face of ice and snow, sending its sweet scent out as a reminder of good things to come. I don't mean spring or summer, by the way, but rather the ume themselves. They are a fruit I admire almost as much as I admire the glorious winter vegetables that set farmers market tables groaning this time of year. A very nice selection of charming markets can be found this weekend as well as the usual larger affairs. Remember, size doesn't matter...

Koenji Farmer's Market
Saturday, February 21st
A new market I spotted while riding the train on a Saturday morning into the city center. That circle of red awnings in front of the Za-Koenji Public Theatre could only mean one thing! Sure enough, I found a small group of area growers and producers, and the bounty surely continues!
11am - 5pm
Map

Nippori Farmer's Market
Saturday, February 21st and Sunday, February 22nd
Another great market in the city found with a little help from friends, this one is sure to not disappoint. A small but lively market, particularly on Saturday, it is well worth the trip. Plus, Tohoku growers are on hand sharing their best-of-the-best, so come on out to be part of the recovery and get something good to eat.
No map, but just head out the east exit and look for the green awnings!
10am to 5pm

Kamakura Farmers Market
Every day
A small local affair featuring Kamakura heirloom fruits and vegetables raised in yet another former capital city, the Kamakura Market is a small but wonderful venue. Head in early to get the best selection and pick up a loaf of Paradise Alley's charcoal infused bread while you're there.
7am until sold out
Map

Futamatagawa Farmers Market - Yokohama
Every Friday
A charming little weekly market tucked conveniently just outside the turnstile at Futamatagawa Station in Yokohama where a nice selection of fresh, seasonal fruits and vegetables await. Joining them are baked goods, rice, miso, and all the other fixings one might need for the week or just a good snack. Plenty of Kanagawa goodies, too, so be sure to ask!
10am to 6pm
Look for the tables when you step out the gate!

Every Saturday and Sunday
A massive weekend affair that is great fun and features a variety of fruits and vegetables and prepared products from all over Japan. Plus, there's a most excellent selection of food trucks offering everything from salad to zingy curry to roast chicken to falafel!
10am to 4pm

Every Saturday
Back up and running after a refurbishment of the market space, the Roppongi Farmers Market is as booming and bountiful as ever. Don't miss this chance to meet a grower from Tokyo's very own Kokobunji and sample seasonal bounty.
10am to 4pm (Usually. Do check their website for schedule fluctuations.)
Map

Yurakucho Farmer's Market
Every Saturday and Sunday
Smaller than the UNU Market, Yurakacho features a particular region of Japan each week along with an excellent selection of seasonal fruit and vegetables. Growers from nearby Chiba, Kamakura, and Saitama are also on hand to help fill the larder.
11am to 5pm
Directions: Turn left out of Yurakacho station and cross the courtyard toward Tokyo Kouku Keitan. Look for the fun under the overhang!

Know of a market? Give me a shout and we'll add it to the list!

Monday, February 16, 2015

Nine Good Reasons to Shop at Farmers Markets: Reprise

A farmer and his interns at one of Sapporo's farmers markets.
This post first appeared at Ecotwaza, a beloved little company here in Japan doing good work to share the joys of Japanese culture. Take a look and don't worry about not speaking Japanese. Roam about and then email with questions. They are ridiculously happy to help! - JB

With supermarkets and convenience stores on nearly every block and food cooperatives that deliver right to the door, why take the extra time go to a farmers market? The answer lies in the variety these markets offer in terms of location and atmosphere, not to mention the produce and expertise found nowhere else in the city. From the United Nations University Farmers Market in Aoyoama to the Earth Day Market in Yoyogi, Tokyo farmers markets offer a year round spectacle of food that is a feast for the eyes as well as the taste buds. Still feeling skeptical? Here are my nine favorite reasons for heading out to one each week. 

Take home less packaging. Years ago, Japan took great delight in wrapping items in furoshiki or tenugui for beauty and convenience. Those stunning pieces of fabrics have, unfortunately, been replaced with plastic and styrofoam. Shopping at a farmers market doesn't mean a complete escape from plastics' tyranny, but it does cut down on it, especially if you bring your own bag.

Find fresher food. Fruits and vegetables arrive at the farmers market shortly after harvest. Growers know that one of their greatest advantages over the supermarket is the fact that their produce is harvested only the day before or early that same morning. They make sure that the best of the season makes it to the table for customers to drool over. Nothing beats the flavor of freshly harvested komatsuna or eggplant.

Discover seasonal food. Seasonal eating means eating fruits and vegetables at their most succulent when flavor should be at its best. The easiest way to match produce to the calendar is to head to a farmers market. (The blessing and curse of the supermarket is its ability to stock the same produce year round with little emphasis on what is peaking locally.) Feast your eyes on the warm glow kaki (persimmons) cast over the market in fall, while winter greens tantalize and tempt on brisk days. Bright red strawberries, deep brown chestnuts, apples of all colors and more make for a year-long pageant that is as delicious as it is stunning.

Enjoy yourself. Tokyo bubbles over with fun things to do – karaoke, restaurants galore, izakayas, parks, and fantastic historic sites – in nearly every neighborhood. Like little festivals devoted to food, the thirteen farmers markets around the city often offer live music, an art show, educational workshops, and fun activities for kids all surrounded by good food. Why not get your weekly shopping done in an atmosphere full of sunshine and laughter?

Bring the whole family.  Kids large and small will find a world of wonder at a farmers market. Discover green tea seed pods and purple carrots. Sample homemade udon noodles or pick up a bag of hatomugi and learn the history of this traditional grain. Sit down to an awesome lunch of duck stuffed onigiri, freshly grilled mochi wrapped in nori, or a spicy curry with a glass of red shiso juice.

Meet your maker. What's better than buying a fresh peach or a jar of pickled burdock? Meeting the person who tends the orchard or dreamed up the combination of herbs and spices to make that humble root delicious beyond belief. Ask a few questions and get the story behind the orchard or a recipe that's been a hit, literally, for generations. Become a regular and think of it as the beginning of a beautiful (and delicious!) relationship.  

A local baker with her delicious treats at Nara's Organic Farmers Market.
Support the local economy. Buying directly from the farmer often means that money has a better chance of circulating within the local community. That farmer will purchase supplies and other materials from a local store where another community member is employed who buys their produce from the farmer. A recent study by the Union of Concerned Scientists shows that farmers markets help not only build local (often small and rural) economies but keeps them vibrant.

Keep land in production. Since the very beginning, Japanese farmers have planted, harvested, and tended land that lies somewhere between ocean and mountains. Farmers terraced hillsides to carve out just a bit more space or ventured into the ocean to raise seaweed. Buying directly from a grower or producer keeps them in the business of growing, which means suburban, rural, and sometimes even urban land (or rooftops!) stay green and in production.

Foster new farmers. Japanese farmers are aging and their numbers are in steady decline, but there is also a movement of returning to the land.  Disgruntled, dissatisfied, and distressed by corporate and city life, a steady stream of salarymen and women trade black polyester suits and briefcases for work gloves and a good hoe. Shopping at a farmers market is not just a chance not just to meet these agrarian adventurers, but support them on their way.
Why do you shop at farmers markets? Drop us a line and share your ideas. We'd love to hear them.

Friday, February 13, 2015

Tokyo and Yokohama Region Farmers Markets: Saturday, February 14th and Sunday, February 15th

Kohei Yamada at the Seagull Marche in Yokohama.
Don't miss his fantastic selection of dried vegetables.
Snow may be liberally sprinkled along the nearby mountain tops, but here in the valley and near the ocean its bright blue sky and blustery wind. Take advantage of these beautiful days to find a bounty of winter vegetables while bread bakes in the rice cooker or to whip up a favorite udon dish or pickle. The possibilities are endless in this glorious season. See you at the market!

Ebisu Market
Sunday, February 15th
Don't miss the opportunity to head to a nifty part of the city where on these sweet Sundays you'll find farmers and producers galore. (One even comes from Okutama with a lovely array of vegetables and a vegetable-based spread that will knock your socks off.) It's worth noting, too, that Do One Good, an animal NPO will be on hand with some of the cutest dogs ever waiting to go home with you!
11am to 5pm
Map

Market of the Sun
Saturday, February 14th and Sunday, February 15th
The newest of Tokyo's farmers markets, Market of the Sun professes to be one of the largest, and this month looks to have a bit of an Italian theme, too. Cheese, anyone?. A short walk from Tsukiji Market and its wonderful surrounds, it's worth a stop for a selection of foodly and crafty items that rivals that at the UNU Market.
10am to 4pm
No map but step out of Kachidoki Station exits A4a and A4b

Oiso Farmers Market
Sunday, February 15th
This little gem of a community shindig is one of the best things going outside of the Earth Day Market, and I don't say that lightly. A nice little community affair started a handful of years ago, it blossomed into a full-on monthly festival that just happens to feature Shonan area produce in its fresh, seasonal form as well as pickled, dried, and prepared-hot-in-a-bowl. In summer it turns into a night market, but in fall it will swing back to regular daylight hours. More than worth the trek down to see what's going on!
10am to 3pm
Oiso Port Building

Sunday, February 15th
I could go wax on forever about how great this market is and how important it is for the future of Japanese farming and global food security. Instead, I'll just insist that folks go and see for themselves what great things the market and these innovative growers are doing. This month the market will be a a three-day wonderland of organic and fair trade goodness not to be missed. Come frolic and enjoy!
10am to 4pm, Rain or shine!
Map

Seagull Marche - Yokohama (Full review coming soon!)
Saturday, February 28th
A sweet little market in Yokohama's trendy Bay Quarter, the Seagull Marche is worth a visit for unique Kanagawa fare and more. Cross the covered walking bridge toward Muji and Kaldi Coffee Farm and look for a line of cheerful green tents on the left. There you'll find Hamayasai's lovely dried vegetables and fruits along with Takusagawa's wines, compote, and jam for yummy samples and great gifts. Fresh, seasonal fruits and vegetables loll next to gleaming gold jars of honey, jewel-tone pickles, and other delightful nibbles.
11am to 5pm
Map

Kamakura Farmers Market
Every day
A small local affair featuring Kamakura heirloom fruits and vegetables raised in yet another former capital city, the Kamakura Market is a small but wonderful venue. Head in early to get the best selection and pick up a loaf of Paradise Alley's charcoal infused bread while you're there.
7am until sold out
Map

Futamatagawa Farmers Market - Yokohama
Every Friday
A charming little weekly market tucked conveniently just outside the turnstile at Futamatagawa Station in Yokohama where a nice selection of fresh, seasonal fruits and vegetables await. Joining them are baked goods, rice, miso, and all the other fixings one might need for the week or just a good snack. Plenty of Kanagawa goodies, too, so be sure to ask!
10am to 6pm
Look for the tables when you step out the gate!

Every Saturday and Sunday
A massive weekend affair that is great fun and features a variety of fruits and vegetables and prepared products from all over Japan. Plus, there's a most excellent selection of food trucks offering everything from salad to zingy curry to roast chicken to falafel!
10am to 4pm

Every Saturday
Back up and running after a refurbishment of the market space, the Roppongi Farmers Market is as booming and bountiful as ever. Don't miss this chance to meet a grower from Tokyo's very own Kokobunji and sample seasonal bounty.
10am to 4pm (Usually. Do check their website for schedule fluctuations.)
Map

Yurakucho Farmer's Market
Every Saturday and Sunday
Smaller than the UNU Market, Yurakacho features a particular region of Japan each week along with an excellent selection of seasonal fruit and vegetables. Growers from nearby Chiba, Kamakura, and Saitama are also on hand to help fill the larder.
11am to 5pm
Directions: Turn left out of Yurakacho station and cross the courtyard toward Tokyo Kouku Keitan. Look for the fun under the overhang!

Know of a market? Give me a shout and we'll add it to the list!