If you are trying to eat healthier this year, then try a great 1/2 day outing for fresh fish and veggies to Matsudo Nanbu Ichiba.
Matsudo Nanbu Ichiba, Chiba
While Tsukiji is the biggest and most famous fish market in Japan (the world?), the crowds and (sometimes) the attitude of the merchants there can make the experience a little less amazing than it should be when you are surrounded by such rich bounty of sea and earth. To get all the bounty and less attitude, take the Chiyoda line to the end to Ayase and go on a few stops on the JR Joban Line it connects to, and get off at Matsudo (it’s as little as 38 minutes from Akasaka). From there a five-minute taxi or short bus ride and you are at Matsudo Nanbu Ichiba (Matsudo South Market), which has all Tsukiji has to offer but on a more intimate scale and in much friendlier fashion.
An American fund bought what was a failing market in Matsudo and has turned it around into a magnet for producers and customers from the whole area. Especially, they have encouraged a positive attitude towards individual and family customers, unusual at Japanese markets which tend to gear everything around the needs of trade customers such as supermarkets and restaurants.
Matsudo’s market has trade buyers too. They start at about 6am and hold their fish auction by around 6:45. Individual customers are also welcome to shop and view the auction in the early morning, but most of the trade purchasers depart by 10am, leaving the entire grounds to individuals and families drawn by the great fish and produce, the good prices and the many family-friendly events the market holds. The market closes at 1pm so this is definitely a destination for those who like “morning excursions”.
There’s also a 400 car parking lot on the site. Saturdays get a little crowded but nothing like Tsukiji. The merchants seem to really enjoy talking with customers. Dozens of kinds of fish and shellfish are on display as well as many kinds of produce, some of it produced with no or limited chemical fertilizers and identified by individual farms.
Add FABULOUS sushi on-site at Edokko and modern toilets and you have a great destination worthy of a half day excursion. If you go by train, be sure to bring a backpack as you will want to take home lots of delicious ingredients for the coming week! Matusdo is also famous for its ramen, so if all those fish and veggies sound too healthy, try Tomita near Matsudo Station (047-391-1139 so good it sells out sometimes.)
Matsudo Nanbu Ichiba Details
Address: Matsudo Wholesale Market, Shinda 30, Matsudo-shi, Chiba.
Hours: Open 6am to 1pm except Sundays, holidays and occasional Wednesdays
Access: Chiyoda line to the end to Ayase and go on a few stops on the JR Joban Line it connects to, and get off at Matsudo (it’s as little as 38 minutes from Akasaka). From there a five-minute taxi or short bus ride and you are at Matsudo Nanbu Ichiba (Matsudo South Market)
Matsudo Nanbu Ichiba, Chiba
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