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Look hard enough at the supermarket shelves today and you may find some obscure vegetables that you will hardly see at other times of the year. Whether it be taranome (shoots of Aralia elata, known also as the Japanese angelica-tree), urui (the young leaves of a plantain lily), or kogomi (the young shoots of an ostrich fern), many of these mountain vegetables have a subtly bitter taste, but it is exactly this bitterness that many people here crave. The spring veggies are also believed to have a “detoxing” effect.

An open-air market at Yebisu Garden Place in Shibuya Ward, Tokyo, will be a good opportunity to check out such seasonal produce, as about 20 organic vegetable producers and tsukemono (salted vegetables) stores from the Kanto and Tohoku regions will set up booths there. The market will be held on April 3, 4, 17 and 18 from 10 a.m. till 3 p.m. at the central plaza of the shopping and restaurant complex.

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