For those of you interested in buying produce locally, there is a farmer’s market (open all day from 7a.m. to 7p.m.) right off Nishi-odori. My housewife friend kindly told me about it after she discovered the place not too long ago, meaning some native Tsukuba residents might not even know about it!
The shop has some unique items not usually found at your local supermarket like Jusco, Kasumi, and so on. Yakon, a root vegetable identical (in appearance) to potato can be bought there – a bag for only 250yen. It is a tasty slightly sweet tuber which tastes great raw in salads (similar to Japanese pear taste and crunchy in texture) and fried in tempura batter. Kasumi sold muffins made from yakon powder for some time, when yakon was the ‘hot health food’ of the moment. They might still sell it…
The shop also has sashimi konnyaku, something usually found in Northern Ibaraki in areas like Fukuroda Falls, etc. Sashimi konnyaku tastes just like maguro when eaten with soy sauce and wasabi! A bag (3 balls) of homemade konnyaku jelly goes for 200yen.
The farmers speak in heavily accented Ibaraki-dialect (?) but seem light-hearted and funny. They might be very curious about where you are from, so be prepared to be asked that! From what I know, most of the vegetables sold there are grown by them and the rice is high-quality Ibaraki rice (1800yen for 5kg). I was surprised a whole bag of broccoli only cost 100yen…usually only imported American broccoli is that cheap at regular supermarkets.
You can find the shop just north of the Panda-sign Chinese restaurant on Nishi-odori. It is on the West side of Nishi-odori…or if you know where the Asia Juhan real estate agency is located on Nishi-odori, it is basically across the street from that shop. You can identify the farmer’s shop by some bright banners and yellow flags outside of the place. It looks like an open garage or something like that.