Organic Food in Japan: Tokyo’s Best Options, Naturally

Organic and health food options are becoming more prevalent in Japan, but they can often be difficult to find if you don’t know what you are looking for.

organic food

The phrase for ‘organic’ in Japanese is “yuuki Saibai.” A catch-all phrase for foods grown without chemicals and/or pesticides is “Mu kachou.”

It might be helpful to ask if the produce is organic or chemical free by saying: “Kore wa, yuuki saibai desuka?” or “Kore wa, mu kachou desu ka?” – “Is this organic?” or “Is this chemical free?” If all else fails, remember that some people working at organic food outlets will probably understand the word, “ooganikku,” a Japanized version of the word organic; so you can also simply ask, ‘Kore wa ooganikku desu ka?’

You can buy organic and health food produce from a variety of sources including direct from the farmer, supermarkets, speciality stores and even online. The list below should give you a good head start in finding what you need—please note that unless otherwise specified, websites are in Japanese only.

Tokyo Farmers Market Breakdown

Tokyo farmers market

Photo by Dick Thomas Johnson on flickr

Farmers markets are a great spot to buy fresh organic fruit and vegetables. Not only is the produce is seasonal and high quality, but you will be supporting local agriculture.

UNU-Aoyama Farmers Market

5 Chome−53−70, Jingumae, Shibuya, Tokyo 150-0001

The UNU Farmers Market, also known as the Aoyama Farmers Market due to its location, is held every Saturday and Sunday outside the United Nations University on Aoyama-dori, this farmer’s market features several stalls selling seasonal fruit and vegetables straight from the farm. You can also find great produce like honey, nuts and dried fruit, fresh juice and cut flowers at this market. Many products are certified organic; look out for this logo:

UNU Farmers Market

Ebisu Marche

Ebisu Marche is held two Sundays a month at the Ebisu Garden Palace.

Organic Food in Japan– Supermarkets

You will find an organic section in most of the big chain supermarkets. Even some of the smaller and cheaper supermarkets are now stocking a small range of organic produce. Here is a list of supermarkets with a decent range of options:

JA

6-28-1 Minamikarasuyama, Setagaya

JA is short for Japan Agricultural Cooperatives; they are a great source of farm direct produce at a reasonable price. As all the produce is seasonal, don’t expect to find a huge variety all year round.

National Azabu Supermarket

4-5-2 Minami-Azabu, Minato-ku, Tokyo 106-0047

National Azabu Supermarket has an impressive range of imported foods including many items which are difficult to find in Tokyo. Organic items include dairy, nuts and dried fruit, legumes, snack food, coffee and tea. The bigger supermarket chains which you find at the larger train stations, such as  Precce or Seijo Ishi, will often have an organic section.

Precce

9−7−4 Tokyo Midtown, Akasaka, Minato-ku, Tokyo 107-0052

Seijo Ishii Roppongi Hills

6-2-31 Roppongi, Minato-ku, Tokyo 106-0032

Seijo Ishii Nishiazabu

4 Chome-15-2 Nishiazabu, Minato-ku, Tokyo 106-0031

Health Food Store Options

Health food stores, just like organic food, are gaining popularity here—it is getting quite a bit easier to find healthy food in Japan. That said, the stores are still very much behind the convenience experienced elsewhere. While health foods shops are generally not cheap in Japan, they are a good place to buy eggs, dairy, juices, drinks, oils, grains, snacks, supplements etc.

Natural House

3 Chome−6-18, Kita-aoyama, Minato-ku, Tokyo

Natural House is a health food supermarket chain with 13 stores around Tokyo. It specializes in organic fresh produce including fruit and vegetables, meats, fish, eggs, grains and bakery goods. It also stocks some vitamins and supplements, as well as natural beauty products.

Yuuki no Sato

Yuuki no Sato sells organic fresh produce and a range of processed goods, health supplements and cosmetics. There are five stores throughout Tokyo.

Waseda Natural

Kikui-cho 51, Shinjuku-ku, Tokyo 162-0044

Waseda Natural has a large range of rice, cereals, flour, breads, beans, sesame products, miso soup, nuts, spices, snacks, supplements, health foods, home goods and cleaning supplies.

F&F

F&F is a large store with a great range, online shopping also available via the website. It has several stores throughout Tokyo.

Lima

3-1-6 Higashiyama, Meguro-ku, Tokyo 153-0043

2-23-1 Yoyogi, Shibuya-ku, Tokyo 151-0053

Lima is a macrobiotics and natural foods store with two locations in Tokyo.

Gaia

Prado 1F

3-23-6 Nishihara, Shibuya-ku, Tokyo

Gaia features fresh and dry goods including household products and clothing.

Online Outlets

If you are looking to buy dry goods in bulk, then often online stores are the best option in terms of price and convenience.

Amazon

Amazon has a good selection of dry foods and health supplements

iHerb

iHerb is a US-based retailer which stocks thousands of natural health foods, supplements, beauty items and cleaning products, all at very reasonable prices. The whole website can be viewed in English

Alishan Organics

Alishan Organics is an expat-run, Japan-based online natural and organic product store. You can view the website in both English and Japanese.

SuperOrganic Foods

SuperOrganic Foods focuses on the delivery of seasonal fruit and vegetable boxes, with produce sourced from Hokkaido and Kyushu. You can view the website in both English and Japanese.

Organic Restaurants

It is quite easy to find good organic and vegetarian restaurants in Tokyo. Here are some recommendations:

Crayon House

3-8-15 Kita-Aoyama, Minato-ku, Tokyo

Also a grocery store, Crayon House offers organic meals, both Japanese and Western style.

Brown Rice Canteen

5-1-8 Jingumae, Shibuya-ku, Tokyo

A part of Neal’s Yard Remedies, Brown Rice Canteen is a café that focuses on whole foods and is strictly vegetarian.

Tamana Shokudo

3-8-27 Minami-Aoyama, Minato-ku, Tokyo

Tamana Shokudo is a macrobiotic, organic restaurant

Margo

1-21-16-B Yutenji, Meguro, Tokyo

Known for its home-style organic cooking, Margo also features a large natural wine list.

We Are The Farm

3-24-10 Nishihara, Shibuya-ku, Tokyo

We Are The Farm is an organic restaurant opened for dinner daily and lunch on the weekends. Produce is sourced from their own farm.

Whilst organic food in Japan hasn’t caught on quite like it has in Western countries, it is slowly starting to catch up. Farmer’s markets are popping up and the range of organic and health food options at supermarkets are steadily increasing. Whether it will lead to a food revolution in the future is anyone’s guess.

Organic Japanese food

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Comments

  1. says

    Nice piece, but I would add two things.

    The Ebisu Market bills itself as organic, but it is not completely so. Consumers need to ask each vendor as always.

    The Earth Day Market in Yoyogi is the best bet for an organic market. It’s held only once a month, but is well worth the trip.

    Thanks for the restaurant notes. Those sound well worth checking out.

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