Monday, May 11, 2020

Tokyo and Yokohama Regional Farmers Markets During COVID-19

MomoG Farm at Farmers Market @UNU!

Since Prime Minister Abe declared a national emergency on April 7 in an effort to stop the spread of COVID-19. He recently renewed it until May 31; however, there may be some gradual reopenings depending on how the number of cases goes.

The upshot is that restaurants, parks, and other non-essential venues were asked to temporarily close their doors, and many companies made it possible for their employees to work from home. (The government cannot force businesses to close.) Some places, however, chose to remain open with limited hours or only to offer take-out or some other variation on their services. Farmer's markets around the region have followed a similar variety of paths. Some are closed completely while others operate with limited vendors and hours.

Markets are listed alphabetically rather than my usual order-of-opening listing. The below information is as I know of it as of this writing. If you happen to go, I'd love to hear about it.*

Farmers Market @UNU
Always brilliant in every way, the organizers closed the weekly market down in April. A small handful of vendors can be found at Commune, the permanent site they have closer to Omotesando Station. More vendors can be found online via the Never End Farmers Market, a list of growers and producers who ship that the organizers regularly update. (Bless their hearts, I say.) Visit their website for updates. So, if you're stuck at home or, like me, not inclined to take the train, don't give up hope and support your farmer!

Hills Marche Ark Hills
This market is also temporarily closed until further notice. Updates will be available on their website. As far as I can tell, they do not at this time have an option for purchasing directly from vendors. If you haven't been to this market, you can whet your appetite by reading all about it in my column at Outdoor Japan!

Kamakura Farmers Market
One of the localest of the local markets, the Kamakura Farmers Market, a.k.a. Renbai-sho is a gem. And this gem is still open according to a local resident who posted some fantastic photos of it on his Instagram.
8am - Sold out

Kamome Marche
This market is also canceled, although it does take some digging to find their exact information. I recommend keeping tabs on them using the Yokohama Bay Quarter website. Kamome Marche is part of their regular calendar of events, which, of course, are all canceled at this time.

Kichijoji Harmonica Yokocho Asaichi
This fantastic market tucked in the tiny alleyways of Kichijoji's Harmonica Yokocho is worth the early hour wake-up when it is open, which it is not at this time. March was meant to be the celebration of their 100-time anniversary (seriously), and they had to close. However, they are regularly publishing information about their vendors on their Facebook page. Go ahead and daydream or order direct!

Koenji Farmers Market
This adorable market held monthly in front of the Za-Koenji Theatre is also shut down for the time being. However, in an act of utter brilliance, they have provided information for ordering directly from the growers, producers, and vendors you would usually find there! I love it. Visit the market website and take a gander at the list. I admit, the wild boar sausage is calling my name, but there are plenty of other wonderful options there, too. If you have not been to this market but are curious, you can read my recent write-up about them at Outdoor Japan.

Kotsu Kaikan Marche
This market, what I formerly called the Yurakacho Farmers Market, is also temporarily closed due to COVID-19. Keep an eye on their website for updates and when this lovely spot reopens!

Market of the Sun
So far, this market is canceled until the national emergency lifts. It looks like their last market was in February. If you have a favorite vendor at this market, peruse the market Facebook page to see if you can find them. This market often posts information about vendors and their products to tempt you out the door. Their main page is also worth a look as they do the same there. You can also try messaging the market organizers directly I'd also recommend keeping an eye on both pages for further updates.

Nippori Farmers Market
This is where I must relate news I don't like. The Nippori Farmers Market is permanently closed. March was canceled due to the virus, but since then the owner of the site decided to shut it down. The market ran for ten years and was a hub of good food, camaraderie, and community. I'm keenly feeling the loss of this one as I did that of the Earth Day Market. I loved the Nippori Farmers Market for the unique variety of foods and items it offered. I'm grateful for the friends I made there, and I am hopeful they will find fresh places to sell their wonderful wares.

Oiso Farmers Market, a.k.a. Oisoichi
The Oisoichi stopped running due to COVID-19 with their March market. (February was canceled due to rain.) They are also posting about where to find their vendors or how to order directly from vendors via the Oisoichi Facebook page. They also have an interesting website, but the Facebook page is where the most current news on vendors and the markets can be found. Again, if you've not been to this one, you can read my overview of it at Outdoor Japan.

Yebisu Marche
Like the others, this one is also closed for the time being due to COVID-19. However, you can find a list of their vendors and order direct. For updates, I'd recommend checking their Facebook page (easy translation options, too, if that is helpful for you) along with their main page.

Yokohama Kitanaka Marche
This market closed in March (February was a regular break.) and has not reopened yet. They have also changed location, so when they do reopen be sure to check the map posted on their Facebook page. If you have a favorite vendor here, I'd recommend wandering around their Facebook page or checking out their main website. Both have essentially the same information, but it's good to have options!

*I'm currently not traveling on the trains, so my knowledge is limited to what I gather from market managers and other reliable sources.

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