Food, fun and crafts all under one roof

Noumaru-engei Market

soja city, okayama prefecture, visitwestjapan
Photographer | Tony Schonhardt


Located somewhat off the beaten path is the locally popular Noumaru-engei Market. Many of the items carried there cannot be found anywhere else, and certainly not in one establishment.

Although it is set on several football pitches of land, you would never know it from the unassuming storefront that really gives no indication of what is just beyond the entrance. There are a few shops and food stalls right outside the entrance so it is easy to think that there is not much else to it. When you actually go inside you will find a botanical garden where everything is for sale.

The flowers, plants, and seedlings of every variety will peak the interest of anyone with even the slightest interest in gardening. Mango trees for sale almost dare someone to grow the fruit outside of the tropics.

Other items for sale include simply wonderful garden items, including well-made and reasonably priced small statues, pots, and other decorative items.

Other features of the market include a food court and a large seating area inside a prefabricated greenhouse, which adds to the authenticity of the market. The adjacent indoor strawberry fields are open to the public and picking is also offered at some of them during the winter and early spring months; blueberry picking is available in early summer. For children, there is a petting zoo full of sheep, goats and rabbits. Pony rides are also available.

If you want to take home some of Okayama’s best agricultural products, then Noumaru-engei is the place to shop. Locally grown fruit and vegetables as well as meat, seafood, and poultry are bound to brighten up your table.


About the Area

Soja is an inland city in southwestern Okayama Prefecture. It is borders the cities of Okayama, Kurashiki, Takahashi and Ibara and the towns of Kibichuo and Yakage. This unique geographic position has meant that the city has always been deeply intertwined in regional cultural and political affairs.

With a name that literally means “all shrines”, it would be easy to assume that the city contains a lot of them and you would be correct. However, in many ways, Soja is very much a temple town, in that there are two major ones near the city center.

One of the most interesting parts of the city is the old shopping street that runs parallel to Route 180. There, you will find clues to life in the Meiji era in the stories told through its homes and storefronts.


Access: From JR Okayama Station, take the JR Kibi Line to JR Higashi Soja Station. Take a 10 minute taxi ride to the market. Alternatively, take the JR Hakubi Line from JR Okayama Station to JR Soja Station. Take a 10 minute taxi ride to the market.


Cancellation Policy

1) Detailed tour information & conditions will be given after application is made; please read and confirm the final itinerary before the departure date.
2) Reservations: Fill out the application contact form; application is complete upon payment. Reservations accepted by phone, mail, fax, online, or other communicative methods. The contract is not valid at time of reservation; the customer will be asked to submit an application form and payment within 3 days from time of reservation. If application form and payment are not submitted within the term, the reservation shall be considered void.
3) Items not included in tour price: Transportation costs not included in itinerary, optional tour fees, excess baggage fees, any fees of a personal nature (phone bills, meal costs, etc.) Items excluded from the tour will be stated in the tour information.
4) Cancellation fees: When the application is cancelled by the customer or when payment has not been made by the specified date, Ryobi Tours shall receive a percentage of the per person tour fee as a cancellation fee, or a penalty fee. Differences in room charges that result from one person in a group cancelling shall be charged to the participating person(s).

Cancellation Date Up to 21 days prior 20-8 days prior 7-2 days prior Day prior to start of tour Day of tour After start of tour/non-participation with no contact
Cancellation Fee No charge 20% of tour fee 30% of tour fee 40% of tour fee 50% of tour fee 100% of tour fee