Japan’s 7 Largest Food Related Trade Shows

A scene from Foodex. Photo by elmimmo used under a Creative Commons license.

Japan’s 126 million people eat a lot of food. Tastes also are highly varied with large markets for traditional foodstuffs but also for western products such as cheese, wine, beer and meat. The industry around this demand is also huge. The following events are the largest food related events. If you are looking to export to Japan or import products from Japan, these are the trade shows you should be aware of.

As you might expect, the list is dominated by Tokyo based events. However, there are also some large scale events in Osaka and Fukuoka – which may provide more opportunities than the highly competitive Tokyo market.

1. The Supermarkets Trade Show 2015

February 10th to 12th, Tokyo Big Sight

Attendance: 81,828
Exhibitors: 1,402

As the name suggests, this is an event aimed at supermarket buyers and operators. The expo is not just food related with every product and service connected with running a supermarket on display.
The event is trade only and admission to the event is JPY5,000.

More info »

2. Foodex 2015

March 3rd to the 6th, Makuhari Messe, Chiba

Attendance: 75,766 (including 8,010 foreign visitors)
Exhibitors: 2,808 (including 1,762 foreign exhibitors)

Foodex is Japan’s biggest international food expo with a large number of foreign exhibitors. The show covers everything that is edible or imbibable – from guava juice through to spices.
Admission is to trade only, but it’s a famous event with Japanese house wives who somehow manage to get in to clean out all the booths on the last day of the trade show.

More info »

3. HCJ2015

February 17th to 20th, Tokyo Big Sight

Attendance: 51,468 (including 693 foreign visitors)
Exhibitors: 781 (including 24 foreign exhibitors)

The letters in HCJ are from the sub-events Hoteres Japan 2015, Caterex Japan 2015 and the Japan Food Service Equipment Show 2015. Organizers state that the event is a ‘merging of Japan’s leading hospitality, food service and catering exhibitions’ and claim that it is the largest event of its type in Asia. Admission is free with pre-registration and is open to trade only.

More info »

4. Wine & Gourmet Japan 2015 + 2015 Japan Meat Industry Fair

April 15th to the 17th, Tokyo Big Sight

Attendance: 74,581
Exhibitors: 181 (Wine & Gourmet, including 103 foreign exhibitors), 96 (Meat Expo)

Held concurrently with a few other food and hospitality related events, put together, these events attract a combined total of more than 70,000 attendees to the cavernous Tokyo Big Sight. Admission for both events is restricted to trade only

More info »

5. Food & Restaurant Business Week 2015

August 26th to 28th, Tokyo Big Sight

Attendance: 48,371
Exhibitors: 560

This annual event is aimed squarely at the restaurant and hospitality this umbrella event includes a number of sub-events including the 8th Izakaya Expo. If you’re there to do business, the amazing range of food and drink available will be a huge distraction. At this event a few years ago, this writer sampled a deep fried bonito heart. In addition to food you will find everything from staff uniforms to ipod based restaurant ordering systems.

More info » (Site in Japanese – no English site yet)

6. West Japan Import Fair & Food Messe 2015

May 2nd to May 6th, West Japan General Exhibition Center, Fukuoka

Attendance: 48,298
Exhibitors: 194

As this trade show in Fukuoka demonstrates, not everything happens in Tokyo! Attracting a respectable 48,000 attendees, this annual event is a more general trade show with a food component. The specific categories mentioned by organizers are tea, wine, Chinese food, health food, confectionery, spices and local delicacies. Unlike most of the Tokyo events, this event is open to both trade participants and the general public.

More info »

7. Kansai Gaishoku Business Week 2015 + The 6th Kansai Izakaya EXPO

May 19 to 21, Intex Osaka

Attendance: 31,597
Exhibitors: 358

This is the Kansai (the region centered around Osaka) version of the Tokyo based Food & Restaurant Business Week. Unlike the Tokyo event, it happens earlier in the year (not in the horribly sticky height of summer) and attracts about 30% less attendees. Like the Tokyo event, it’s only open to trade participants.

More info » (Site in Japanese – no English site yet)

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