Buying Natural and Organic Foods in Japan

By Luisa Heenan
December 17, 2013
Food & Drink, Health & Beauty

More and more, our foods and personal products are becoming tainted with strange ingredients and preservatives, which are difficult to pronounce even in English. Throw Japanese kanji into the mix and for most of us, often we have no idea what we are putting in and on our bodies! Luckily there are these gems that make it easy to source healthy, organic and natural foods and products for you and your family.

iherb

iHerb.com

(English and Japanese available)

This online health store stocks thousands of natural health foods, supplements, beauty items and cleaning products, all at very reasonable prices. As the whole website can be viewed in English, it allows us to see the exact ingredients that go into the products, along with the nutrition labeling, which is very beneficial for anyone with allergy concerns. Shipping charges depend on how much you spend, but is generally under ¥1,000 (sometimes it’s even free with special deals). Please feel free to check out my blog for a discount code and also some recommended products.

alishan

Alishan Organics

(English and Japanese)

This is an expat-run, Japan-based online natural and organic product store. Alishan offers imported organic vegetarian foods, environmentally friendly cleaning supplies, and its own line of organic food products (such as quinoa, flours, nuts and spices). Shipping is offered Japan-wide and is free with purchases over ¥5,250. Orders usually arrive within two to three days.

super organic

SuperOrganic Foods

(English and Japanese)

The Sapporo-based SuperOrganic Foods focuses on delivery of seasonal fruit and vegetable boxes, with produce sourced from Hokkaido and Kyushu. It also stocks a few other products, including organic ham, sausages and rice. The medium size vegetable box includes seven to ten types of seasonal fruit and vegetables and ¥5,200. The large box contains 13 to 15 types and is ¥7,200. Shipping is free if you sign up for a regular box service.

natural house

Natural House

(Online store in Japanese only)

This is a health supermarket chain with 13 stores around Tokyo and a further 17 in other areas of Japan. It specializes in organic fresh produce including fruit and vegetables, meats, fish, eggs, grains and bakery goods. Natural House also stocks some vitamins and supplements, as well as natural beauty products. The company’s values are based on an organic, sustainable and community-focused lifestyle.

farmers market by Guilem Vellut cropped

Farmers Markets

Not much beats the old-school way of going to the local markets for fresh fruit and vegetables straight from your local farms. It allows us to see and touch what we are about to buy, while supporting our smaller farming communities. The main ones in Tokyo are UNU Farmers Market in Omotesando and Yebisu Marche in Ebisu Garden Place. However, keep an eye out for ones in your local area, as they are starting to gain some popularity in Japan and are popping up more regularly.

 

Farmers market photo by Guilem Vellut.