The Best Farmers Markets in Okinawa

I love farmers' markets and I love a good selection as well. What I take into consideration when ranking these is access (how close it is to Kadena AB for me personally), selection (fresh, plenty, etc), shopping experience, and waste (does it come in packaging, if so what kind, etc). I will rate all these categories on a scale of 1-10.

I have lived here for nearly two years now and I wish I had known about the farmer's markets sooner. I also wish I was more confident to shop off base. If you’re new to Okinawa, be sure to check out this list of helpful Japanese phrases I have complied with to get you started. But, honestly, you can go out to plenty of farmers' markets and not talk to anyone. And if you have to, be polite, don’t expect them to know English, and try Google Translate (it has saved me a time or two!).

That’s all I have for an intro, let’s just dive in!

I will list my personal favorite farmers' markets, some honorable mentions, as well as a link to a map full of farmers' markets on the island. There are markets as far south as Naha and all the way up north, too. I just tend to stick to closer to where I live.

When talking about produce availability and selection, keep in mind, most produce fluctuates with the seasons here, so while it is hard to find cheaper greens and cruciferous veg in the summer, the selection of overall veg is still great.

JA Farmers Market Chanpuru Ichiba

All JA’s are great, but this one is THE BEST. It is the size of a grocery store with aisles upon aisles of all the in-season fruit and veg. Though most of their produce is packaged in plastic, their selection, large parking lot, and plenty of room to move about within the store make this one top the list.

Hours: 9am-7pm every day

Payment: Yen or Card

Access rating (from Kadena AB): 10/10

Selection: 10/10

Shopping Experience: 10/10 (large parking lot, option to have a cart, not always bumping elbows with everyone)

Packaging: 5/10 (most produce is packaged in non-recyclable plastic)

Yasai Batake (Banana Stand)

If I hadn’t discovered the jumbo JA above, the Banana Stand would be a tried and true #1. This was my first farmers market on the island after many recommendations. For being so tiny (like really tiny), it has an amazing selection. It is super easy to find as well and most of their produce comes unpackaged or if you ask nicely they can omit the bag. The main issue for me is the small parking lot and a small shopping area. It makes the experience a little stressful.

Hours: 9am-5pm (closed Sunday’s)

Payment: Yen only

Access rating (from Kadena AB): 10/10

Selection: 10/10

Shopping Experience: 6/10

Packaging: 9/10 (though they had some great benefits I listed above, some things still come in non-recyclable plastic)

I honestly only go to those two.

Though, if I ever venture any farther from base, I will check out some others, but I don’t frequent them enough to give a good rating. I think I have tried a few others near Kadena, but these two are hands down the best, in my opinion.

Let’s move on to some others. These other farmers markets are ones that I have been to and enjoyed, but don’t go to enough, mostly because it is inconvenient for me:

  • Nakagusuku Farmers Market Minami

  • Navel Kadena Farmers Market (so, this one is close to Kadena, but the selection is not as great)

  • Yumeseika

  • Other branches of JA (58, Yomitan, Toyasaki, etc)

  • Onna No Eki Market

And there are so many more!

Here are some great Facebook groups to join for more information on these farmers markets, tips, sales, and anything else you can imagine:

  • Okinawa Vegans and Vegetarians

  • Okinawa Farmers Market

  • Farmer’s Markets of Okinawa

  • Banana Stand Farmer’s Market

  • Okinawa, Japan Flea Market

And more! I am honestly a part of way too many Facebook groups here, but it is so worth it. Everyone is so helpful and willing to help. There is a Facebook group for almost anything here so join those to get any answers or help!

Finally, here is a link to the Okinawa Farmers Markets Google Maps. Here, you can find:

  • Farmer’s Markets

  • Fish Markets

  • Meat Markers

  • Specialty Food Stores (eggs, honey, organic stores, etc)

  • Japanese Grocery Stores

This link is super helpful for finding the stores.

Again, don’t be afraid to shop off base. It is usually cheaper (at least for produce), fresher, locally grown, and a lot of it is also organic! If you have any questions, please feel free to ask them. You can find me on Instagram for a quicker reply. And, don’t forget to learn a few basic Japanese phrases to help you get by.

I hope this helps and I hope you enjoy your time in Okinawa. Whether you are just passing through or you live here for several years.


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