I decided I would post some of my favorite fruit and vegetable markets here in Okinawa. Most of these are near to RyuDai (University of the Ryukyus), not necessarily the American bases. I prefer the markets with less foreigners (since most of the ones that cater to Americans import a lot of their produce to satisfy demand) and more domestic/local produce, rather than imported goods. It is always import to check/read the labels to see where your produce comes from– just because it is sold locally does not mean it is grown locally. That being said, some products simply are either not grown locally, or very expensive compared to imported versions, so sometimes you have to pick your battles.
A good example of this is garlic: Chinese garlic is incredibly cheap, and a lot of the garlic sold in Okinawa comes from China. Garlic from Aomori prefecture is pretty expensive, and while it may be higher quality and tastier, it can be hard to justify the price especially when you are on a budget. Locally grown Okinawan garlic is seasonal, so it is important to buy it while it is cheap during Spring time! Of course, it only lasts so long.
Anyway, first check out the key terms for locating a farmers market in GoogleMaps, then I list some of my favorites. If you are in Okinawa looking for fresh local fruit and vegetables, these are some of the best places to look in the South-Central area of the island. Perhaps later I will add some of the Northern area markets in… (like Onna-no-eki, a great place to check out if you go up there!). There are also plenty of supermarkets around, but often times you will find better deals at the farm markets, so it is worth checking them out.
青果 seika: fruit and vegetables
青果店 seikaten: fruit and veg shop
青果市場 seika ichiba: fruit and veg market
八百屋 yaoya: greengrocer, or produce market
ファーマーズマーケット: farmers market, written in katakana
野菜 or やさい yasai: vegetables
果物 kudamono: fruit
List of recommended markets (I will update with some more as I have time):
Nakagusuku Farm Minami 中城ファーム南 (Nakagusuku): This place usually has a lot of stuff cheap. It is my “go to market” whenever I need something. https://goo.gl/maps/AQjmqmgEXDD2
HappyMore ハッピーモア市場 (Ginowan): Sometimes cheap, sometimes not so cheap, it depends on the item… but it has a lot of chemical/pesticide-free and “organic” items, as well as a curry cafe with smoothies. It is a really nice market overall. Sometimes I can find interesting things. https://goo.gl/maps/Z8kbW8tFeho
Kariyushi 軽便駅 かりゆし市 (Nanjo): Tons of locally-grown stuff, and usually the cheapest prices around. It is a bit further from me, so I don’t go there as much as I would like. I only ever see locals in here, never foreigners. Also this place has a lot of fresh cut flowers for cheap, as well as potted plants. https://goo.gl/maps/djLtDsgPBs42
JA Agarihama あがりはま市場 (Yonabaru): One of the Japan Ag (JA) stores. Usually not too crowded (unlike the JA stores near the bases). Sometimes a bit more expensive than the other farmers markets, but cheaper than produce at the supermarkets/grocery stores. https://goo.gl/maps/cqA1wfFXvJo
JA Kugani くがに市場 (Haebaru): Also one of the JA stores, this one is brand new. It has a lot of variety and things I have not seen in the other JA markets. There is also a gelato stand outside here… dangerous! https://goo.gl/maps/BhYwQHaWB8K2
Agri-house Kochinda アグリハウスこちんだ (Yaese): Lots of cheap, local produce, as well as eggs (there is an egg farm next door). You can buy eggs in bulk here. https://goo.gl/maps/RU5kid6kcjH2
Need help with names of vegetables in Japanese? Look here: Vegetables Names
Or here for some Food Vocabulary.
And here for Japanese Phrases for Food Shopping