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    • Spring
      • Eating Wild in Japan

        Eating Wild in Japan

        Winifred Bird's latest book is an introduction to the world of sansai (mountain vegetables) and foraging in Japan.
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    • Summer
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    • Near Kyoto
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        Winifred Bird's latest book is an introduction to the world of sansai (mountain vegetables) and foraging in Japan.
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        Following the Paper Trail in Kochi

        Discover the traditional art of washi papermaking in Kochi with artist Rogier Uitenboogaart.
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        Eating Wild in Japan

        Winifred Bird's latest book is an introduction to the world of sansai (mountain vegetables) and foraging in Japan.
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      • Photo by Noriteru Ino

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Yebisu Marche

One of Tokyo’s loveliest little markets is Yebisu Marche. Part of the Marche Japon movement that started in 2009, Yebisu Marche first came on the scene as a bi-monthly market with roughly 20 vendors under half as many tents.

There is a new emphasis on organic products and foods, along with regular themed markets such as French and Italian market months. The usual selection of breads, cheeses and heirloom varieties of vegetables from the region, plus special items, have helped the Yebisu Marche double in size and become one of the city’s few weekly markets.

Snuggled under the atrium of Ebisu Garden Place, the market’s signature red tents and overflowing tables are a cheery sight signaling that foody adventures await. Growers and producers come from near and far but always with the best their fields and furrows have to offer.

Early summer visitors will find Yamaguchi Farm from Kagoshima with amanatsu, a bittersweet citrus perfect for making marmalade, as well as maitake mushrooms still attached to the growing medium. Indeed, they are some of the freshest fungi around.

Growers from closer in include Insect Farm from Chiba more than ready to describe in detail recipes for their careful displays of zucchini and tomatoes along with the merits of other veggies.

Regular visitors will almost always be able to find farmers from the Okutama region bringing their wares year round. Their winter greens and jewel-toned daikon in all shapes and sizes are a feast for the eyes as well as the nabe pot, and in summer their tomatoes and eggplant are some of the best around. Jam, honey and pickles are, of course, nearly always to be found, although early-to- mid-summer is a perfect time to find garlic, potatoes, sprigs of fresh basil and pretty little mountains of summer squash and zucchini. It is also worth perusing the various tables not just for mini-tomatoes fresh from the vine, but also for their dried counterparts (sampling is highly recommended).

Candy never tasted so good. A very nice array of bakers provide a wonderful assortment of savory as well as sweet items for toting home or enjoying while seated on one of the many benches scattered about the market. Those wanting something hot on the spot need not look further than the food carts before settling in at the ample seating provided nearby.

Only steps away from the Tokyo Metropolitan Museum of Photography, it seems natural the Yebisu Marche also added artisans to the weekly mix. While food remains the centerpiece of the market, approximately 15 tents ring the edges, featuring craftsmen and women showcasing their creations and talking with potential buyers.

Photographers, illustrators, weavers and carvers join other artisans to discuss their work and share stories. Without a doubt there is something for everyone.

Yebisu Marche
Nearest Station: JR Ebisu
Directions: Take the moving walkway and head for Ebisu Garden Place.
Open: Every Sunday, 11 a.m. to 5 p.m.

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