2020 Jan 15, Seasonal Market 2020
Posted: 15 January 2020
Author: Amanda Marble
One of the other things on sale are silkworm cocoon crafts, or mayudama zaiku. These get painted with designs to represent the zodiac animals. Tokamachi is a town famous for kimono production and silkworms are important to the industry.
Another traditional figure available for purchase was daruma, which are not unique to Tokamachi but Japan as a whole. They are sold at the start of the year and you make a wish on them, and then color in the left eye. When the wish comes true, you color in the right eye.
And of course, there are food stalls in abundance! There was a lot of your standard festival fare – taiyaki, which is a custard or red bean-filled fish-shaped pastry; okonomiyaki – a savory pancake of sorts; and takoyaki, which are fried balls of dough with a small piece of octopus in the middle. I’m a sucker for taiyaki and bought a custard-filled one. This time there was also a stall selling poppoyaki, which my coworker told me are a Niigata specialty! They are just sticks of steamed sweet dough, kind of like eating a pancake stick but just a tad sweeter.
(Roasted potato stand)
(my beloved taiyaki)
The markets came about as a result of not being able to do any farming work during the winter. People still needed to make money, so they started to craft items inside their homes for sale at the market. (This was also how the kimono culture in Tokamachi started! I will talk about this in a future post.) Below are pictures of these items, still being sold today. Due to their natural materials they are gaining in popularity recently, and buying them here is cheaper than in Tokyo.
(Pickled and preserved goods)
The Seasonal Market is so well-known in the area that prefectural TV crews often come on the first day to report the turnout. This time I got roped into two interviews! The first one was relatively long so I wonder how it will turn out on TV. Of course I looked like a total slob but hey, such is my life.
Even with no snow, Tokamachi still has fun events to offer, so come check out the Seasonal Market!
Tokamachi City Hall
General Affairs Department
Policy Planning Division
Public Relations Section
3-3 Chitose-cho, Tokamachi City,
Niigata, JAPAN 〒948-4635