Nippon Olive's Olive Garden Market offers one more reason to visit Ushimado. Held one Sunday a month from 10 am to 4 pm, the market has continued to gain momentum since its creation at the beginning of 2013. On my first visit I was happy to see that so many people have put the Olive Garden on their Sunday schedule.
The market is set up in the open space next to the Olive Garden's shopping pavilion. Stalls are arranged along the north side of the wonderfully manicured field. Umbrella shaded tables and chairs are available for those who would like to sit down and enjoy some refreshments.
The stall keepers sell a variety of hand-crafted goods. One stall that caught my eye sold blown glass produced by physically or mentally challenged workers at a local social welfare center. It seemed to suit the Mediterranean style atmosphere.
Other stalls feature handmade wood crafts and decorative items for the home. One in particular had these exquisite bird houses with painted roofs. There was also a food stall showcasing the food from the popular Tereya Café in Ushimado.
Other food choices include the mobile food vans that seem to mark the entrance to the market. The pink and white one sells takoyaki or octopus dumplings and the yellow and brown one sells stone baked pizza. Although the market opens at 10, it’s a good idea to allow some time for the food vendors to prepare. People were lining up when I was there but the pizza wasn’t quite ready yet. Of course the pavilion shop is open and sells delicious locally and nationally known snacks.
Getting there is fairly easy by public transport. From Okayama Station you can take the Ako line to Saidaiji. Once there you can take one of two buses to Ushimado. In Ushimado you can walk or take a taxi to the Olive Garden. If you take a taxi you will have to walk back down into town when you leave unless you feel comfortable calling for a pick up.
The Olive Garden Market is worth a visit for a little shopping, good food, friendly people and a sunny environment.