Tuesday, February 19, 2013
Itoman City Market
In a recent trip to Itoman City to observe some of the Lunar New Year celebrations we stumbled upon the Itoman City Market. The market place consists of 3 or 4 buildings all featuring various goods. There is a fish market, farmers market, souvenir shop and food. I was quite surprised to find the location so I thought that it would be something interesting and fun to add to the blog if you happen to find yourself in the area.
There's no denying that the Itoman City Market is out of the way unless you happen to live in the immediate area. The only other scenario that may lead you in this direction is if you happen to have a late flight and are looking to kill some time or are just exploring in the southern part of the island.Either way I hope that this information will help you decide whether or not you want to make a stop here if you happen to pass by.
Itoman City Market - Souvenir Shop
The first shop which is likely to catch your eye is pictured above. This shop contains various souvenirs from around Okinawa. Everything from pottery, shirts, salts and soaps can be found. There are also a variety of child friendly items which you may also find at convenience stores in the resort towns on the island.
Although there were a number of products which I have seen a million times between convenience stores and Kokusai Street alone there were also a variety of other goods which were unique. Like many other places where you can pick up something to remember your trip on Okinawa prices vary depending on what it is that you want to purchase. There were items for every budget ranging from the child on a school trip successful business men.
Itoman is known for being a fisherman's town and so it seems like a great place to pick up some fresh fish. Like other fish markets here on Okinawa it's hard to say what to expect because one day the market could be overflowing and the next not so much. What I can say is that there was a relatively large selection at least on the day that I was there.
No market place would be complete without a nice helping of some local quick service favorites. The Itoman City Market is no exception. Here there are a variety of food stands serving up different options to enjoy. Unfortunately, between being on a diet and the large crowds enjoying their early dinner, I did not get a close look at what was available for food options although I do distinctly remember Okinawa Soba and rice bowls of various kinds.
The last building that we visited was the farmer's market. Farmers markets here in Okinawa tend to look very much like this with wooden shelves holding plastic bind of produce and other goods. They also tend to be set up like a standard grocery store with aisles as pictured above. There was a large selection at this particular market although being there at the end of the day (any time before 4PM) means that the shelves were almost picked clean of many items.
We strolled through the aisles to see if there was anything we needed for our dinner table. Produce looked very good however we found that although some items were selling at a lower price then we might find at a grocery store in our area some prices were significantly higher.
Aside from what was in the buildings there were a great deal of vendors outside as well. One of the most notable was a flower and potting supply vendor. They were selling a variety of goods to include various flowers such as hibiscus and orchids. They were also selling potting supplies and flower care products. The prices were certainly reasonable and I would have purchased from this vendor if I had the need. The flowers themselves were also in great shape and well maintained.
The Important Stuff
Now that we've talked about all those things that the area has to offer let's talk about those important details. First and foremost the Itoman City Market has a great deal of parking making it easy for you to avoid wasting time driving in circles. There is also a restroom area in the event that nature calls. On hot summer days you can enjoy a cold drink from one of the many vending machines in the area. For those families which stumble on this market there are grassy areas for the kiddles to play while mom or dad goes to grab something from inside a shop and even tables to rest and enjoy a snack.
Should You Go
If you happen to be in the area and are either looking for something to remember your trip to Okinawa or want to get some fresh veggies for tonight's dinner I say "GO FOR IT"! However, I would not necessarily say that this is a sight to see on it's own so if you want to check it out but aren't already in the area I suggest planning to see some of the surrounding areas as well so that the trip is worth your while.