Keibin-eki Kariyushi-ichi – An Okinawan Farmers Market

Hello there everyone. I hope you are doing well and eating healthy. Speaking of which, yesterday I had an errand to run, and on my way home I decided to stop by the local farmers market for some vegetables. Though I could have just gone to the supermarket, there was something I wanted that is rarely sold at supermarkets, or at least supermarkets in my area.

This is a photo of the farmer’s market a couple of kilometers from where I live. It’s called, “Keibin-eki Kariyushi-ichi” but the locals call it Kariyushi for short. The market is located in Nanjo City which is about a 30-minute drive from the Naha area.

The most common farmers markets however are the JA Farmers Markets, usually with the name of the village somewhere in the name. JA stands for Japan Agricultural. The markets are nice but are usually too crowded.

The Keibin-eki Kariyushi-ichi carry everything from fruits and vegetables to baked goods, eggs, and dairy products.

They also carry some locally prepared foods like tempura, miso paste, and fruit jam as a complement to the agricultural products they sell.

In one section of the market they sell flowers and plants. They usually have nicely arranged flowers to fit the occasion such as Mother’s Day or Valentine’s Day. During the first week of the new year, my family and I go to the market to get New Year’s flowers.

In another section of Kariyushi they sell potted vegetables, herbs and plants. I’ve bought a few before and they are reasonably priced. You’ll notice on the right side of the picture above that there is a machine. Water is sold. If you have the right bottle, you can get 10 liters of water for 100 yen.

This is what I wanted. It’s called “Shima Rakkyo”, directly translating to “Island Shallot”. It can be prepared in different ways like deep fried as tempura, but we like to pickle the shima rakkyo. First we wash the shima rakkyo, and then cut off the leaves. Then we place the shima rakkyo in a ziploc, adding some salk and making sure each shima rakkyo is completely covered in salt. If you are in a hurry to eat it, then you could leave it in the fridge for about 30 minutes before preparing it for eating. We like to leave it in the fridge for at least a day. When it’s ready, we place the shima rakkyo in a small serving bowl and sprinkle bonito flakes onto the shima rakkyo, and then voilà.

You can have this as a snack or as an appetizer. It goes well with beer or awamori.

Sorry, I was too hungry at the time that I didn’t take any photos of the finished product.

Since it would be difficult for anyone travelling to Okinawa to prepare pickled shima rakkyo, we could take you on our Sakaemachi Market Bar Hopping Tour where you would be able to try not only pickled shima rakkyo but also experience the local night life. Please click here for more information.

Please be sure to add a farmers market visit to your Okinawa itinerary.

Have a nice day everyone.