Skip to main content

Tokyo Farmer's Market Review: 246 Common

Hello, Brooklyn Ribbon Fries.
Tokyo's newest market is, by now, nearly one year old. I first caught wind of it when Robbie Swinnerton wrote a review of it for the Japan Times. (He also referenced this website at the end, bless his foodly little heart.) I'd also chatted with one of the managers of the UNU Farmers Market about it as it's his group that's organizing it. It's been on the list of places to go ever since. Last weekend we finally made it.

Bustling 246 Common from a shady seat.
Tucked between, behind, and around, this little market offers a series of cafes and shops in a variety of building types, all of which are small with the indelible feeling that given good directions they could be folded up and tucked into a pocket for easy transport. The beauty of 246 Common is encapsulated in exactly that it feels like it could disappear at any moment. The exciting array of entrepreneurial experiments happening here center mostly around food with a florist, an eye wear shop, outdoor clothing specialist, and another shop selling interesting modern Japanese paraphernalia. The majority are cafes and bakeries with varied menus that invariably look delicious. Only one, Miname Aoyama Sanchome Kitchen, has indoor seating. The rest rely on the tables and chairs filling the center of the ring of shops of this little warren.

Seriously adorable bakery.
While we waited for our spicy Brooklyn Ribbon Fries, a spouse favorite, we soaked up the beautiful weather and did a bit of people watching. The crowd, a healthy mix of families, couples, singles, visitors and locals laughed, ate, and spoke a variety of languages. I snuck off to purchase a tiny loaf of bread from the cutest bakery ever, Pain au Sourire. The cart is wrapped in branches and looks as though it simply grew in place and one day opened its doors to customers enticed by the smell of sweet and savory breads.

Sweet little garden by the steps to good coffee.

Later, we ducked under a willow arch and up a few steps past a seasonal garden of violas, chard, kale, and lettuce all in bloom and ready to eat to find a quiet corner where strong coffee and cups of hot tea are served. Minimal shaded seating is also available here making it a perfect spot to rest and chat. As we walked away to visit the UN University Market, I couldn't help but think it would be an incredibly fun evening option, too.

Planning to go?
246 Common
Open daily, 11am to 10pm
Nearest Station: Omotesando


Popular posts from this blog

Finding Heirloom Seeds in Japan

Drying pods of heirloom Hutterite Soup Beans. Since moving to Japan eight years ago, one of my greatest challenges as a farmer-gardener has been to find heirloom or open-pollinated seeds. The majority of seeds available are not GMO (genetically modified organisms) as Japan, at this point, doesn't accept this material. Most seeds, though, are nearly all F1 varieties. Heirloom and F1 Varieties In plant breeding, F1 is the name given to the first generation of a cross between two true breeding parents. For example, if I decide to cross an Amish Paste Tomato with another heirloom variety tomato such as Emmy, in hopes of getting a gold paste tomato, the resulting generation of fruit is F1. In order to get that tomato of my culinary dreams, I'll need to choose members of that first generation that are headed in a direction I like - early ripening, medium-sized fruit, good taste - and save their seeds. I'll plant them and repeat the process again and again over time unti

Satoimo: One of Japan's Favorite Slimy Things

Satoimo in all their hairy glory. This post first appeared in slightly different form on Garden to Table as part of the 2012  Blogathon . The website has since moved on to the ether, but the post is still a good one. After all, people here are still eating satoimo on a daily basis, and many others are just seeing these little potato-like objects for the first time. Enjoy! Satoimo is one of Japan's odder vegetables. Under it's rough, slightly furry skin is white flesh that is a little bit slimy even raw, and with a gentle nutty flavor.* Baked, grilled, steamed with dashi, or deep-fried satoimo stands well on its own or paired up with other vegetables and meats in a wide variety of soups and stews . (The leaves are also edible.) Satoimo stores well, and like any root crop worth the effort, stocks are just running low on this household favorite as the farmers in my area of Tokyo get ready to put a new crop in the ground in May. I cannot say I was a fan of this l

Goma Ai Shingiku - Sesame and Chrysanthemum Greens

Last week I had the pleasure of helping some friends work in their parents garden not too far away. Tucked behind the house, the garden sits on a former house lot. When it came up for sale about five years ago, my friend's father jumped at the chance. Open land in Tokyo can be hard to find and expensive, but for a retired professional looking for a little spot to till in the city it was an opportunity to good to pass up. Now, it is a garden to envy. As we came through the gate rose, lily, and peony blooms greeted us with great shouts of color while rows of vegetables stood tidily at attention on the sunny center stage. Small fruit trees along with one of the biggest sansho trees I've seen yet stood quietly here and there. Near waist-high sweet corn, bushy young potato plants, cherry tomatoes, eggplants, and beans were preparing their summer fruits, while a handful of still quite luscious looking winter vegetables like komatsuna, mizuna, and kabu held one last ro