For the least expensive baking ingredients, two wholesale outlets have really helped. Both carry similar goodies at similar prices. These range from sugar (including powdered), brown flour, molasses, cocoa powder, chocolate chips, dried fruits, coconut and sprinkles . Mrs. Hara sells out of her home on Tuesdays, Thursdays, and Fridays from 10:00-4:00, except holidays, but I always call ahead, since sometimes during vacation times she does not open. To get there, go towards Ushiku on Nishi Odori until it ends. Turn right and go a few hundred meters until you go down a small hill with a traffic light at the bottom of the hill. Turn left at the light and continue across the old road onto a small road that winds towards the left along the rice fields. It is only a few houses down on the left and has a drink vending machine in the driveway.
Nomura wholesale company is located in Tsuchiura. If you go from Tsukuba on the Tsuchiura-Gakuen Sen like you are going to the train station, go under to the left and not up onto the elevated roadway. You will find it several blocks down on the left, along the road underneath the elevated roadway. The blue sign for Nomura Wholesale is also written in English. The owner of this shop speaks English, which is helpful.
Another shop that comes in handy for paper plates, cups, bags, etc is Oritomo which is close to Nomura. As with going to Nomura, exit the main road at the point the elevated roadway through downtown Tsuchiura begins, but instead of going straight make a sharp left (almost a U-turn) and proceed down the small side road . A little ways down you will find Oritomo on the right side just before the road goes under the route 6 bypass.
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