Just over the bridge from Asakusa and Senso-ji, and only a few steps from the river that shares its name, the Greenmarket Sumida bustles with food and fun.
Founded in September 2016 as a collaborative effort with the Sumida Ward, the market is the latest offering from Daikanyama Works, Inc. who also manages the Market of the Sun near Tsukiji and the Bashamichi Marche in Yokohama.
“There are no supermarkets near here,” says manager Kazuma Kawamura, “and residents needed a place to shop for food.” Held the first weekend of every month, the Greenmarket Sumida is a lively affair brimming with plenty of good food, farmers, food trucks, games and the occasional workshop or musical performance.
Growers like Shota Hirayama are on hand each month with a selection of rice or seasonal vegetables. Hirayama’s rice—brown, white, black, and a blend—is grown on his family farm near Nasu in Tochigi Prefecture. “My family has been farming the same land for about 300 years, although I’ve only been doing it for about seven,” Hirayama tells me, handing over a sample of the cooked grains. Tender and sweet, the morsel melts in my mouth, making it clear they have perfected their method.
Hyakusho Club, an organic farm, displays a stainless-steel bowl of their soil along with their vegetables so shoppers can get a feel for where their food is coming from and how passionate the grower is about his medium and work. The colors on the table—emerald leaves of spinach, scarlet Japanese hot peppers, and shimmering onions—give nearby DoReMe Farms’ dazzling display some competition. The latter’s pickles, including a surprisingly delicious cubed cheese steeped in vinegar, are as much of a feast for the eyes as they are for the taste buds.
Other vendors, such as Yosuke Ishijima, turn their crops into delectable treats. His peanut cream comes in five different flavors—plain, sweet, crunchy, kinako (soy bean flour), and bitter—and is as delicious as it is unique. Grown in Ibaraki Prefecture, Ishijima sun dries the peanuts before processing them in order to draw out the flavor. Five years ago he began crafting his recipes, keeping the ingredients simple: peanuts, sugar, kinako and peanut skins.
Those hunting for other treats will find a nice variety of jams, honey, baked goods, handmade soaps, crafts, and also the occasional vintner to tempt them. Weary shoppers can tuck in at one of a dozen food trucks serving up spicy curry, tacos, craft beer or various grilled meats before returning to peruse the wares of the fifty-or- so vendors on hand for the day. There’s a little something for everyone here.
The Greenmarket Sumida
First weekend of every month
10 a.m. – 4 p.m.
Nearest Station: Asakusa Station