For its 45th edition, FOODEX JAPAN 2020, Asia’s largest F&B trade event, will be held for 4 days in March (from Tuesday 10th to Friday 13th) in Makuhari Messe, a convention center in Chiba Prefecture, 30 minutes from Central Tokyo and 40 minutes from Narita International Airport.
Gathering Japanese and international buyers as well as trading companies, this trade show is the central getaway to Japan’s and Asia Pacific food and drink markets. After attracting more than 80 000 visitors in 2019, including close to 11 000 international buyers from Korea, China and Taiwan, the 2020 edition is expected to attract 85 000 trade professionals over four days, making it the best place to understand these market dynamics and meet the partners who will fuel your Japanese and Asian expansion.
Beyond the numerous business opportunities offered by FOODEX, the surroundings of its venue, Makuhari Messe, are rich in places where you can gain a deeper and sharper appreciation of Japanese food and drink culture. Whether FOODEX JAPAN 2020 is your very first time in Japan, or whether you’ve been going to FOODEX JAPAN since its start in 1976, here are GourmetPro’s top tips on making the most of your time in the area.
Sample products and check shelves of local supermarkets
Supermarkets are always very telling when it comes to a country’s approach to food and shopping. This is especially true in Japan, where strolling amongst shelves of the always-opened kombini (short for convenience stores) and highly-curated food sections of department stores can be an outing in itself. AEON Mall Makuhari New City, less than 10 minutes away by foot from FOODEX venue, offers a range of shops and stalls to explore. Getting lost in the department stores alleys while looking out for fresh fish, meat, premium fruits, Japanese sweets, crazy energy drinks and strawberry-cream sandwiches, is a great way to experience the Japanese distribution and merchandising first-hand while shopping for souvenirs.
Read our article to know more about Japan Food and Beverage Retail Landscape.
10-minute walk from Makuhari Messe: Access
Discover the wholesale market of Chiba Prefecture
Most people know about Tsukiji Market, the legendary fish market in central Tokyo which was relocated in Toyosu in late 2018, but there are other places where you can experience the peculiar energy of Japanese markets.
Most notably, if you can afford to stay an extra day after FOODEX JAPAN’s end until Saturday 14th March, you’ll get the opportunity to visit the Chiba City Local Wholesale Market, which opens to the public from 8:00am to 12:00am (until 10:30am for the fish market section) every 2nd and 4th Saturdays of every month. This event, called Citizen Appreciation Day, is a prime opportunity to not only buy fresh fish and vegetables, but to also witness tuna filleting events or seashell hunt events that are hold on occasion.
12-minute drive from Makurahi Messe: Access
Get a bite, a drink and a taste of Japan’s omotenashi
Omotenashi refers to the unique Japanese approach to hospitality, where a guest’s needs are formulated before they even formulate them. It is most likely why Japan boasts such an incredible reputation when it comes to quality of customer service. Venture into the city of Chiba for lunch in delicate soba restaurants or liven up your post-business meetings by discovering traditional izakayas, the Japanese version of casual drinking and dining where to try local beers, sakés and sought-after Japanese whiskeys.
Chiba Prefecture official shop and restaurant locator (in English)
Take a tea break in a Japanese traditional garden
You might be slightly too early for the cherry blossom season, but you can still catch a glimpse of Japan’s more traditional side in Makuhari Messe’s green neighbour, Mihama Garden. From 9:00am to 6:30pm you can get a cup of matcha (Japanese powdered green tea) along with a traditional sweet from established confectioner Toraya (500 JPY) and get a chance to get a quiet moment with the peaceful side of Japan.
And if you want to learn more about tea culture in Japan and the people who make it, check out Dokocha and find where to get the best matcha cups in Japan.
15-minute walk from Makuhari Messe: Access
Need additional advice to prepare for FOODEX JAPAN 2020?
GourmetPro is a company based in Japan dedicated to help the food and beverage industry grow internationally by offering end-to-end customizable market-entry solutions. Our experts combine more than 20 years of Japanese expertise and will be happy to discuss your approach to the Japanese market.