Mandy Bartok

Farmer's Market at UNU

Central Tokyo's best farmer's market

Mandy Bartok
Mandy Bartok   - 2 min read

Every Saturday and Sunday, the trendy Tokyo neighborhood of Aoyama plays host to one of the city's longest-running and most popular farmer's markets. Located in front of the United Nations University, the market counts nearly two dozen farmers amongst its vendors, most coming from the neighboring prefectures but some traveling in from as far away as Iwate and Nagano.

Shoppers can find both conventional and organic produce. A recent weekend trip netted me apples from Aomori (cheaper than the grocery store!!), pears from Yamanashi, basil and cucumbers from Chiba and organic green tea from Shizuoka. Some stands offer baked goods while you can also find jams, honey, oils and spices. Bargaining is not generally accepted, but some of the vendors may throw in an extra vegetable or two should you buy quite a few. Half of the vendors are able to communicate in basic English, though they are always more than happy to allow you to try out your Japanese should you prefer.

There is also a small section of the market devoted to antiques and you can sometimes find stands selling homemade crafts, such as straw bags or wooden utensils. A recent weekend even featured a stand of bonsai trees.

If all of the goods on offer make you hungry, at least a dozen food trucks fill the overhang and rear courtyard of the university grounds. Chow down on vegan food or Indian curries while sipping green juice or a fresh cup of coffee. On a recent visit, there was even a craft beer truck and a van that prepared pizzas in a small brick oven in the back of the vehicle. There are tables and chairs scattered around the food vendors' area but many of the trucks will also prepare their food for take-away. While a few of the trucks also have brick-and-mortar businesses elsewhere in the city, for some this is their primary place of business. 

The market is a very short walk from the Omotesando metro station, on Aoyama-dori in the direction of Shibuya. From Shibuya JR Station, take the east exit and walk up the hill towards Aoyama for about ten minutes. In severe weather, the market may be cancelled so it's always best to check their website for any updates.

Mandy Bartok

Mandy Bartok @mandy.bartok

Japan resident for 10 years, with time spent in Okinawa, Kumamoto and Tokyo.