The world shortest morning market in Momoshima
Taking a short boat ride from Fukuyama, I reached Momoshima. Every Saturday, a brief morning market called “Momoshima Doyo-Ichi” appears in this small island located in Seto Inland Sea. (‘Doyo-Ichi’ means ‘Saturday Market’ in Japanese)
“I think this is the world shortest morning market since it opens only for 17 minutes”.
As Shogo Nishino, a host of this market, told me about this, I decided to visit the morning market.
Before the starting bell of the morning market rings, some women were gathering up.
“What are you getting?”
“I am getting those”
“Oh, those are what I want. Ok, let’s get the staff and share them within us. There are only 3 of them in the market!”
Senior women who regularly come to the morning market were discussing what they will get in advance. A peaceful moment where regular customers checkout the goods in the market and negotiate beforehand.
As the starting bell rang at 9:00am, the marketplace became in great bustle with customers rushing to the goods in their mind.
It was raining from the morning, so there were fewer sellers and buyers than usual. One said, “Today, the market is small due to the rain...” with sad voice. In spite of the unfavorable weather, a senior woman who were selling vegetables called out, “Check out our Japanese radish! They are 50 yen each!! There aren’t a lot of them, hurry up!” with a big smile.
Vegetables flew off the shelves. After an uproarious time, customers who finished their shopping started chatting in a friendly atmosphere.
All participants are local islanders. They grow vegetables by themselves and sell them in the market. There were few chances for the island residents to meet up each other until this morning market began.
“I really enjoy the time I spend in the market. It encourages me a lot that I feel I have to do my best.”, a farmer who came to the market by bike in the rain chuckled. He grows unique vegetables so as not to sell the same vegetables as other farmers.
“My mother’s parents’ home was in Momoshima, so I used to visit this island in my childhood. When I was travelling around the world, I decided to start farming here after I come back to Japan.”, Syogo said.
Syogo is a founder and a host of this morning market. He moved to Momoshima four years ago with his wife, Ai. They grow organic vegetables and raise chickens practicing permaculture. Shogo was travelling around the world for two years and lived in Canada right before he came to Momoshima. Ai was travelling around the world by ship. “We met in a guesthouse in India”, recalled the couple who love travelling.
The original handmade wedding party they held in Momoshima was a big event in this small island.
“The resident senior women started to select the color of my wedding Kimono. They enjoyed our wedding party as much as I did!”. Ai gave a big smile. Two years later, Ai gave birth to a baby boy who was named Keita. He is loved by every resident now.
At the time, Shogo and Ai noticed that people in the island was growing their crops by themselves but not having stores to get goods that they were not growing by themselves. On the other hand, home-grown vegetables that were not consumed were easily disposed.
“We thought it “Mottai-nai” (a sense of regret concerning waste), so we started this morning market to create a new cycle of local production for local consumption in Momoshima”
At first, no one wants to be a seller nor a customer but as Kishiko, a woman who lives in front of Shogo’s house, started to sell goods with some of her friends, the number of sellers increased gradually. Now, the market is so prosperous that all products will sell out in 17 minutes after the starting bell rings.
This morning market is now a place for residents to communicate with others and also creating a good cycle for people to grow and consume vegetables in local. Bringing only few Japanese radish to the market is still important.
Momoshima Doyo-Ichi opens only for 17 minutes but spending the time with island residents and experiencing the life in Momoshima, I really enjoyed the visit. My recommendation for travelers who is visiting Fukuyama, Hiroshima.
Information: Momoshima Doyo-Ichi
Open Hours: Saturday 9:00am – until the goods are sold out
Location: JA Tomari consolidating point
Address: 3418 Momoshima-cho, Onomichi city, Hiroshima
Fukuyama Station – Tsuneishi Harbor (Tomotetsu Bus via Seto to “Tsuneishi” Platform 6)
●Duration: @43 minutes
●Fare: 720 yen
②Ferry or high speed boat
Tsuneishi Harbor – Fukuda Harbor (Momoshima)
●Duration: Ferry - @12 minutes, High speed boat – 10 minutes
●Fare: 250 yen
*Purchased on the boat as there is no ticket booth
●You can use the parking area in front of the wharf. The parking space is small, so there are times where it can’t be used.
●Automobiles can be ferried at Tsuneishi Harbor.
●There are only three harbors that can transport automobiles: Uta Harbor, Tsuneishi Harbor, and Fukuda Harbor. Automobiles can be transported on both the ferries and high-speed boats.
Photo and Text : Yu Nakamura