Edo-Tokyo vegetables

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Savor the traditional edible plants making a comeback

Edo-Tokyo vegetables were central to the diet of Tokyoites between the Edo period (1603–1868) and Showa period (1926–89). Although a decline in agricultural land all but drove them to extinction, the traditional edible plants are making a comeback as Tokyo-brand vegetables. Varieties freshest in summer are the Mikawashima edamame bean and Magome hanshiro cucumber. The former features a large number of stems, each ending with a white fuzzy pod containing a neat line of three beans. The latter is marked by the white skin on two-thirds of the bottom end, and texture when eaten fresh because of the sturdy skin with lower water content. A total of some 30 plants, certified as Edo-Tokyo vegetables, are available at on-farm stands and farmers’ markets run by Japan Agricultural Co-operatives (JA). Autumn and winter varieties include the Kanamachi kokabu (small turnip), traditional komatsuna (Japanese mustard spinach not cross-bred with Chinese cultivars), and Magome sanzun carrot (measuring 10 centimeters long). All these heirloom vegetables require extra effort to grow and are harvested in small quantities only in peak seasons. Relish the flavors exclusive to Tokyo at the growing number of restaurants incorporating them into their menus.

Edo-Tokyo vegetables

Contact information

JA Tokyo Chuokai TEL 042-528-1371

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Passing on to posterity memories of the good old shitamachi
Shitamachi Museum

The Shitamachi Museum presents the culture of good old shitamachi—the lowlands of pre-modern Tokyo, inhabited by merchants and artisans. Visitors can enter true-to-life replicas of early 20th century machiya and nagaya (townhouses serving as shops and apartments) and experience nostalgia for the buoyant Edo period (1603–1868). Also on display are artifacts from Taito and the surrounding shitamachi area.

●Address: 2-1 Ueno-koen, Taito-ku, Tokyo
●Access: 5-min. walk from Ueno Station Shinobazu Exit
●Contact information:TEL 03-3823-7451

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