- 2 min read

Saisaikite-ya Farmer’s Market

A farmer’s market with a restaurant and café in Imabari

Farmer’s markets are a new and rather rare phenomenon in Japan. Most of them are located in Michi no Eki, the Road Stations found along roadsides in the deep countryside. However, Saisaikite-ya in Imabari is an exception — it’s next to a major road in the middle of urban Imabari.

As you approach Saisaikite-ya along the 4-lane by-pass, it looks like a shopping mall or large supermarket. There’s a large car park, a big hanger-like main building, and a series of low buildings to one side with slight architectural pretensions. But instead of the usual aisles with shelves, the main building is full of low tables arrayed with fruit and vegetables of all kinds. This being Ehime, one of Japan’s leading producers of citrus fruit, there are no fewer than four long tables of mikan oranges and lemons in the winter season. In the summer, you can expect to find an equally stunning quantity and variety of water melons. There are plenty of varieties of vegetable too. All are wrapped or bagged and tagged with regular labels, but each farmer provides their own ‘point of sale display’ as I believe they call it in retail. This varies from a handwritten scrawl on a scrap of cardboard box, to an elaborate printed page with a photo of the farmer himself — or herself as the case often is.

The fish corner is a sight to behold with its bewildering range of seafood and an attractive display of fishermen’s flags and banners that recall a mediaeval pageant. There are also meat and dairy sections, so you can actually meet all or most of your shopping needs in one place.

The long low building that extends out alongside the car park houses a very nice café, a cake shop and bakery, a shop selling fruit juices, condiments, gardening goods and accessories, and a popular serve-yourself restaurant. The cakes and ice creams are all produced with local ingredients and they’re very good.

Events are occasionally held at Saisaikite-ya too, so you may find yourself caught up in an interesting bustle in between the car park and the shops.

As with Road Stations, Saisaikite-ya is a good place for breaking a journey to do some shopping, get a bite to eat and generally freshen up.

Name in Japanese
彩菜きて屋 — Saisaikite-ya

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