Nowadays, people have begun to care a lot more about the products they consume, and many people are starting to change their lifestyle to maintain their health and out of concern for issues such as climate change. In the same way that many people have become vegetarian, many have also been turning towards organic foods and buying their food at their local organic supermarket.
Why Is Organic Food So Popular?
Since living in Japan, I began to change my lifestyle and use organic ingredients more often. However, perhaps some of you are thinking, why should we start eating organic food? And where are the best organic supermarkets are to buy organic produce from?
For example, researchers in the United States found that most Americans believe organic produce is better for their health than conventionally grown produce. This is because organic farming typically does not use conventional pesticides and fertilizers, which results in significantly lower pesticide levels in fruits, vegetables, and grains.
Clearly, organic produce is a pretty good buy for several reasons, but here is one more reason to consider: organic farming regenerates ecosystems and the soil, whereas conventional farming destroys our natural resources and requires constant chemical input.
Now, hopefully, you understand why many believe that organic food is healthier for your body and Earth.
However, Japan does not have many organic supermarkets due to several factors, including the hot and humid climate, little support from the government, and the significant influence of the JA (Japan Agriculture) group. JA provides financial support, materials, pesticides, and fertilizers to most farmers, making it difficult for them to leave JA and go organic.
So, how and where can we find organic supermarkets in Japan?
A Search For the Best Organic Supermarket
Although Japan doesn’t have many organic supermarkets, there are some supermarkets that you can visit in the greater Tokyo area. These are the search results I found, ranging from big international shops to small local shops.
Bio C’ Bon (Harajuku Store, Tokyo)
This organic store is originally from France. The first store in Japan opened in Azabujuban, Tokyo, in 2016. Now, there are many stores all over Tokyo and some in the Kanagawa area, such as Yokohoma. I visited the store in Harajuku, Tokyo, and it’s easy to find. It is located in Harajuku station, and the store itself is not that small. It has everything from vegetables, fruits, and oils to snacks, milk, juices, cakes, etc.
Bio C’ Bon doesn’t only focus on organic products but also sells vegan and gluten-free products. Most of the products in Bio C’ Bon are international brands, but you can also find some Japanese brands. Because most of them are imported brands, the price of their products is quite expensive, but it is worth visiting because they have a good variety of products in stock.
Photo Credit: Author
Location: 1-18-22 Jingumae, Shibuya-ku, Tokyo 150-0001 (Meiji Jingumae <Harajuku> Station, B1)
Hours: Weekdays and Saturdays (07:30-22:00), Sundays and Holidays (09:00-21:00)
Bonraspail (Shinjuku, Tokyo)
As one of the busiest wards in Tokyo, Shinjuku always has something to offer foreigners in Japan. Including this organic store. Bonraspail has several branches in Tokyo and one in Yokohama, Kanagawa. With its unique concept, Bonraspail provides a place where anyone can live an organic life that gives shoppers the feeling of being at one of the organic markets held every weekend on La Spille Street in Paris, France.
They have a wide variety of products, including fruit and vegetables, bread, meat, seasonings, confectionery, liquor, and miscellaneous goods and cosmetics. Like Bio C’ Bon, they primarily sell imported brands; however, they have a wide variety of Japanese brands. The vast assortment of products makes the store feel almost like a supermarket.
What’s more, there were several products that I had never seen at conventional supermarkets. I personally think that Bonraspail is much cheaper than Bio C’ Bon for the range price.
Photo credit: Author
Location: Seibu Shinjuku Pepe B2 (directly connected to Seibu Shinjuku Station on the Seibu Shinjuku Line) 1-30-1, Kabukicho, Shinjuku-ku, Tokyo 160-0021
Hours: Monday-Sunday (10:00-22:00)
Kanaya Organic (Kamakura, Kanagawa)
Located around one of the most famous beaches in the Kanto area, this organic shop is the oldest one in Kamakura. It has been open for 50 years, and it is still in operation in Kamakura. This shop is small and cute but has everything for your daily needs.
The thing I really like about this shop is that even though it is small, the owner manages the shop perfectly and arranges it neatly. You can see friendly signs in every corn, for example, one specifically for vegan products. This organic shop mainly sells Japanese products, but they also have some international brands. If you want to know more about some products or require some help, do not hesitate to ask the staff because they are friendly.
Photo Credit: Canva
Location: 3 Chome-9-47 Yuigahama, Kamakura, Kanagawa 248-0014
Hours: Monday – Friday (10:00 – 18:30), Saturday (CLOSED), Sunday (12:00-17:00)
Joseph (ヨーゼフ) (Konakadai, Chiba)
If you live in Chiba prefecture, you might think there are no Organic shops to be found. It’s just the opposite! Joseph Organic Shop is one of the best organic shops you can visit in the Chiba area, and it has a 5-star review on Google, which means this store is excellent.
Even though it is not as big as Bio C’ Bon, they have a good variety of products, and you can get organic products, chemical-free products, lactose-free products, vegan products, etc.
Photo Credit: Canva
Location: 〒263-0043 Chiba, Inage Ward, Konakadai, 6 Chome−19−19 ＭＹビルPhone: 043-207-6035
Hours: Weekdays (10:00 -17:30), Saturdays (10:00-16:30), Holidays Thursdays, Sundays and public holidays
ORGANIC&CO. (Omiya Ward, Saitama)
If you go to this organic store, you might also want to dress up nicely because this place is also a very Instagramable spot for taking photos. This store has a unique concept and is geared towards younger generations; however, this organic store only specializes in stocking organic vegetables and fruits.
One of the unique aspects of this store is that you can enjoy organic smoothies made from fresh fruits and vegetables and drinks such as craft beer at the “Botanical Bar”. So why don’t you add this store to your to-do list? Don’t forget to dress nicely, just in case you want to take some photos in this cute shop!
Location: 〒330-0803 Saitama, Omiya Ward, Takahanacho, 2 Chome−１−1 Bibli 1F
Hours: Monday-Sunday (10:00-18:00)
Ohashi Natural Food (大橋自然食) (Kasumigaseki, Saitama)
Living in a rural area made me think changing my lifestyle towards a more organic lifestyle would be hard. However, I found a small Japanese organic shop in my area. This store is very unnoticeable for some people, especially for an international student like me.
This shop is run by an amiable owner and has a wide selection of fresh fruit and vegetables, which are pesticide-free. Organic products and non-perishable imports are also available. This shop, however, carries more Japanese brands than international ones. As an international student here, I recommend this shop for your organic shop list. Plus, it is also a great way to support a local business!
Photo credit: Author
Location: 〒350-1109 Saitama, Kawagoe, Kasumigasekikita, 4 Chome−２２−17
Hours: Monday – Friday (10:00 – 18:00)
Saturday – Sunday (CLOSED)
Why Not Try Out Your Local Organic Supermarket?
Changing your lifestyle might seem complicated, but why don’t you give it a try for yourself? Nowadays, there are a lot of foods containing chemicals that might have a negative effect on your body. And although an organic lifestyle may seem expensive, the quality of their products is number one for your health in the future. We may not see the impact of chemicals or pesticides now, but do you really want to suffer in the future? Definitely a big no, right?
Prevention is better than having a serious illness. Make your future self thankful to you because you choose a healthy and better lifestyle.
Do not give up on changing your lifestyle for the better! Let us know about your organic supermarket experience!
Nadia Nurhafida Abidin
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