The word ‘market’ in English conjures up images of several small stalls where sellers from all around an area come to sell their fresh fruits and vegetables, meat and fresh fish, and other goods. But the word market in Japanese ‘ichiba’ has a somewhat different meaning. An ichiba is a place where professionals in different fields come to purchase these items sold directly by their producers. This system is called ‘nakaoroshi’ in Japanese, and is a general distribution means by which these fresh foods reach the hands of the consumers via production auctions bid on by professional representatives of department stores and supermarkets. In other words, a Japanese market is actually a professional workplace. The general public cannot participate in the biddings, but there are some markets like this that are open to viewings by the public. Why not add visiting a market like this to your sightseeing, to see a different side of life in Japan? The biggest market in Japan “Ōta Wholesale Market” where 3,600 tons of fruit are traded a day.

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