Kumamotokan market in Japan
Illustration: Kumamotokan

A Taste of Japan

Antenna shops bring the whole country to Tokyo

Melon-flavored ice cream from Hokkaido. Natamame (sword bean) tea from Hyogo. Mikan juice from Wakayama. Usually such unique regional items can only be savored by visiting the prefecture or city they are from, often two or more hours by bullet train or plane from Tokyo.

Yet for those who crave food adventures or want to taste a particular fruit from Okinawa again, antenna shops are the answer. Small government shops representing all 47 of Japan’s prefectures, they provide a culinary and cultural glimpse into the unique delights of even the most far-flung of the archipelago’s regions. Created as a way to promote tourism and serve as an outlet for regional products and produce, the shops often also host reasonably priced cafés where visitors can sample scrumptious regional fare.

For the complete article by Joan Bailey go to http://metropolis.co.jp/features/feature/a-taste-of-japan

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