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LastUpDate: May 12, 2016
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Hakata Culture vol.111


Wheeled Cart Stalls: A Nishijin Fixture

Wheeled Cart Stalls: A Nishijin Fixture image

Nishijin, the western hub of Fukuoka, bustles with students who commute to nearby high schools and colleges and is known for its retro shopping street. One of the biggest attractions in the shopping street are the wheeled cart stalls. Merchants set up about 10 of these stalls in the middle of the shopping street Monday through Saturday between 13:00 and 19:00 when the street is closed to vehicle traffic. The merchants, mostly older women, pull in their carts and set up shop. 


They offer a range of fresh, cheap produce, seafood, flowers and more from Itoshima, Karatsu and other places nearby. Other popular wares include pickles, miso and mochi (rice cakes) handmade by the merchants themselves. These stalls are not only popular with the locals; people flock from far away to shop here because they enjoy talking to the energetic old ladies as they make their transactions. And if a merchant remembers you, she might even throw in a little something extra.


The wheeled cart stalls began operating in 1950, not long after the war, and for a time, more than 100 cart-owners would assemble for an open-air market. In 1967, the Nishijin Shopkeepers Association was formed. It began issuing permits for the stalls and dictated hours of operation and other rules. While there were some other open-air markets in the city, none attracted as many stalls as Nishijin.


Unfortunately, the number of stalls is gradually dwindling as many of the aging merchants cannot find younger hawkers to whom they can pass the torch. That being said, one of the stalls, which is run by pair of a sandwich-slinging foreigners, has raised some eyebrows of late. Their sandwiches are so popular that they sell out almost as soon as they set up shop. Over the years, the wheeled cart stalls of Nishijin have been a popular place for people to congregate, and we hope the tradition will be passed on as more and different people get involved.



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地域を元気にする西新リヤカー部隊

 福岡市の西の拠点である西新。大学や高校が集まる学生の街ですが、古くからの商店街が残る街としても知られています。この西新商店街の名物がリヤカー部隊で、商店街の大きな魅力のひとつとなっています。商店街が歩行者天国となる月曜~土曜の13時~19時、道の中央に10台ほどのリヤカーが並びます。リヤカーを引いているのは元気のいいおばちゃんたちです。

 リヤカーに積まれているは糸島や唐津など福岡近郊でとれた野菜、果物、魚介類、花など。さらに、おばちゃんたち手作りの漬物や味噌、餅なども売られています。どれも安くて新鮮で、地元の人だけでなく、わざわざ遠方から買い物に来る人もいるほどです。加えて楽しいのが売り手のおばちゃんたちとのやりとりや会話。顔なじみになるとおまけをしてくれたり、とにかく賑やかです。

 西新のリヤカー部隊は戦後の1950年頃から始まったとされます。露天商としてリヤカーが集まり出し、一時期は100台を超えていたそうです。1967年には「西新行商組合」を結成し、営業を許可制として出店時間などが取り決められました。市内の他の地域でもリヤカーの露天販売を見かけることはありますが、これほど多くのリヤカーが集まっているのは西新だけです。

 西新商店街の顔ともいえるリヤカー部隊ですが、現在は売り手の高齢化や後継者不足で少しずつ数が減少してきています。そんな中、リヤカーでサンドイッチを販売する外国人が話題になっています。リヤカーを出すとすぐに完売するほどの人気ぶりだとか。地域の人々の交流の場ともなっている西新商店街のリヤカー部隊。さまざまな人が参加することで、今後もぜひ続いてほしいものです。