Monday, November 30, 2015

Market Review: Kitanaka Farmers Market in Yokohama


Colorful carrots from Eishi Yamane's organic farm in Fujisawa.
Kitanaka Marche just outside Bashamichi Station in Yokohama burst on the market scene in November, and if the first event is any indication this is going to be a whopper of a good market. An off-shoot of Tokyo's Taiyo (Sun) Marche, many of the vendors are from there, but it is worth noting that a preponderance of them come from nearby rural areas. The market offered a terrific selection of seasonal fruits and vegetables, rice, jams, pickles, honey and maple syrup, and extraordinary baked goods.

Do-Re-Mi Farms and their beautiful edibles in jars.
Like Market of the Sun, Kitanaka Marche is about building community, according to market manager, Akiko Yamamoto. "With the redevelopment of this area underway, we wanted to find a way to draw new people here and interact with the locals," she said as I spotted the green leaves of a daikon bobbing merrily in the bag of happy shopper.

Shizuka Komiya and Midori Kabaya from Aloha Farms in Tochigi.

Tired shoppers can restore themselves at one of nearly twenty food trucks nestled at one end of the market offering a great selection of foods and beverages. Or head on over to Baird's Bashamichi Taproom for a lovely pint (I'm a fan of the Single Take Session.) and some of the best barbecue this side of the Pacific.

An amazing selection of honey from Beehive Apiary Murakami in Shizouka.
Read my full review in Outdoor Japan's 2015 Winter Traveler for specific recommendations and more details on the fun to be had!

Kitanaka Marche
Third Saturday and Sunday of each month
10am - 4pm
Bashamichi Station, Yokohama
Head out Exit #2

Friday, November 27, 2015

Tokyo and Yokohama Regional Farmers Markets: Saturday, November 28th and Sunday, November 29th

Beehive Apiary Murakami at the newly opened Kitanaka Marche in Yokohama.
Fuji-san is swathed in snow, and it looks as though November plans to head out in a blaze of glory. It should be a fantastic weekend for farmers-marketing, so don't miss the chance to grab freshly harvested rice in all colors, daikon and kabu in more colors than ever before imagined, winter greens, and the best citrus of the year fresh from the tree. Oh, and don't forget to look for beets and brussel sprouts (mekabetsu) to add a bit of brilliancy to the week's menu! See you at the market!

Ebisu Market
Every Sunday in November
Ebisu Market management are going all-out this month and hosting a market every Sunday. They've been recruiting more staff and hunting up vendors, so head on out to be part of the action. A recent visit showed this always lovely market remains charming as ever with an excellent selection of seasonal fruits and vegetables, scrumptious looking snacks, and crafty items. I'd also recommend a trip to Afuri Ramen when you're done for some of the best yuzu tsukemen in town.
11am to 5pm
Map

Saturday, November 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. Come find some good food and fun 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!

Friday, November 20, 2015

Tokyo and Yokohama Regional Farmers Markets: Saturday, November 21st and Sunday, November 22nd

Cheerfully bundled up for the season at a Hida Takayama Market.

The most farmers-market-y weekend of them all is upon us here in the Tokyo-Yokohama region. It might be best to bring a friend with an extra backpack for all the goodies that will be on hand. It may also be good to bring a coin to flip to see which one to head to on which day. The new market, Yokohama Kitanaka Marche, is but a few steps from Baird Beer's Bashamichi Taproom....tempting!

Ebisu Market
Every Sunday in November
Ebisu Market management are going all-out this month and hosting a market every Sunday. They've been recruiting more staff and hunting up vendors, so head on out to be part of the action. A recent visit showed this always lovely market remains charming as ever with an excellent selection of seasonal fruits and vegetables, scrumptious looking snacks, and crafty items. I'd also recommend a trip to Afuri Ramen when you're done for some of the best yuzu tsukemen in town.
11am to 5pm
Map

Koenji Farmer's Market
Saturday, November 21st
A new market I spotted while riding the train a few years ago on a Saturday morning into the city center is still going strong. 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, November 21st and Sunday, November 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

Yokohama Kitanaka Marche
Saturday, November 21st and Sunday, November 22nd
A brand new market opening this month in Yokohama that looks quite promising. Their Facebook page says the Market of the Sun folks decided to start it up, so it could be good. I'll be visiting to check it out!
10am to 4pm
Bashamichi Station

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!

Friday, November 13, 2015

Tokyo and Yokohama Regional Markets: Saturday, November 14th and Sunday, November 15th

Togarashi (Japanese hot peppers) strung up to dry.

Welcome to one of the farmers-market-y weekends of the month! Autumn feasting is upon us, so roll yourselves out to one of these lovely spots. While it might be a bit of a trek, the Oiso Market is really a rockstar of the Kanagawa market scene as far as I know it. Music, crafts, tasty food, and some wonderfully fresh local fruit and veg are there for the taking. See you there!

Ebisu Market
Every Sunday in November
Ebisu Market management are going all-out this month and hosting a market every Sunday. They've been recruiting more staff and hunting up vendors, so head on out to be part of the action. A recent visit showed this always lovely market remains charming as ever with an excellent selection of seasonal fruits and vegetables, scrumptious looking snacks, and crafty items. I'd also recommend a trip to Afuri Ramen when you're done for some of the best yuzu tsukemen in town.
11am to 5pm
Map

Market of the Sun
Saturday, Novemer 14th and Sunday, November 15th
The newest of Tokyo's farmers markets at two years old, Market of the Sun professes to be one of the largest, and this month looks to be all about the grape. 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, November 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

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!

Friday, November 6, 2015

Tokyo and Yokohama Regional Markets: Saturday, November 7th and Sunday, November 8th

Competitive shopping at Yurakacho.
A nice bounty of regular markets rounds out this first full weekend of November. Don't hesitate to visit one of these lovelies and see what is on offer. Remember, too, that if weekends are busier than usual, a weekday trip to lovely Kamakura will afford not only a giant Buddha but some great local, seasonal fare, too. Not a bad deal, by any means.

Ebisu Market
Every Sunday in November
Ebisu Market management are going all-out this month and hosting a market every Sunday. They've been recruiting more staff and hunting up vendors, so head on out to be part of the action. A recent visit showed this always lovely market remains charming as ever with an excellent selection of seasonal fruits and vegetables, scrumptious looking snacks, and crafty items. I'd also recommend a trip to Afuri Ramen when you're done for some of the best yuzu tsukemen in town.
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!

Monday, November 2, 2015

Chicken Soup for the Soul: Merry Christmas! and I'm in it!


I usually don't write personal headlines like that one, but I am very, very excited to be in Chicken Soup's latest Christmas anthology. I wrote about a favorite Christmas in Japan, while we still lived in Tokyo. It didn't start out to be the best by any means, but good friends and a special event turned that all around. Dear me, I'm tearing up just thinking about it.

If you get a chance, grab a copy or buy it as a present and read the essay before you wrap it!