Chiba #5: Edamame (枝豆)

My my, where has time gone?! It’s already October, and I’ve missed two weeks of posting! Recently I went to Tokyo for an interview. I barely took any pictures, but I did manage to make my way into Chiba for a brief visit in order to buy two postcards I’m missing.

Chiba is a prefecture that everyone knows of, being right next to Tokyo, but is totally and completely eclipsed by it. If you’ve ever flown into or out of Narita Airport, or visited Tokyo Disney Land or Sea, these are actually in Chiba… but I think most tourists don’t even realize that! It is a bit of an understated prefecture, and I’ll be the first to admit that while I’ve wanted to visit many areas of Chiba for the past few years, I usually just end up in Tokyo instead. Next year, next year I’ll go.

Anyway, so since I did manage to pick up my two postcards, I’d like to talk about them, starting with #5, edamame, or soy beans. These yummy plants took their time to find their way to the western world, but once they did, boy did they catch on! Who doesn’t love these beans! Not only are they healthy raw or slightly steamed by themselves, they also make lovely products such as soy sauce and natto (yuuummm…).

Besides enjoying edamame at any izakaya (Japanese-style bar) around the country as an appetizer, you can also head to Chiba and participate in picking these beans on a farm to take some home and enjoy. Fruit and vegetable picking is extremely popular in Japan, especially by those living in big cities who don’t get the chance often. There are two farms in Chiba who allow you to pick, Ponpoko Mura in Kisarazu City and Michi no Eki Kurimoto in Katori City. Both of those links are in Japanese, so if you want more information such as hours of operation and cost, and can’t find it, please feel free to comment with questions and I will do my best! Edamame are pickable from July all the way until November, so head on over to Chiba to grab some and enjoy!

Next up is about Chiba fans!