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Why Nishiki Market is special ?
Known as "Kyoto's Kitchen", this lively retail market specializes in all things food related, like fresh seafood, produce, knives and cookware, and is a great place to find seasonal foods and Kyoto specialties, such as Japanese sweets, pickles, dried seafood and sushi.
Nishiki Market has a pleasant, but busy atmosphere that is inviting to those who want to explore the variety of culinary delights that Kyoto is famous for. The stores found throughout the market range in size from small narrow stalls to larger two story shops. Most specialize in a particular type of food, and almost everything sold at the market is locally produced and procured.
Some of the shops freely give out samples or sell sample dishes and skewers meant to be eaten then and there. There are also a few small restaurants and food stands selling ready made food. A few are sit down establishments, although some consist of no more than a couple of stools and a bar. They usually specialize in one type of food, and are often attached to a store of the same specialty.
The market has a history of several centuries, and many stores have been operated by the same families for generations. It all started as a fish wholesale district, with the first shop opening around 1310. A larger variety of shops moved in later, and the area changed from a wholesale market to retail. Today it remains an important market for Kyoto and is often packed with locals and tourists alike.
What to explore at Nishiki Market?
Running between Teramachi and Shinmachi, one block north of Shijo, Nishiki Market is Kyoto’s largest traditional food market. While modern food shops and souvenir shops are starting to move in, there are still enough traditional shops to give you a glimpse of what a traditional shotengai (shopping street) must have looked like. You’ll find all the major ingredients of traditional Kyoto cuisine on display here: tsukemono (Japanese pickles), fresh tofu, Kyo-yasai (Kyoto vegetables), wagashi (Japanese sweets), tea, and fresh fish and shellfish. Some shops sell takeaway food like skewers of yakitori or sashimi, and a few sit down restaurants can be found amid the shops. Those with sharp eyes or the ability to read Japanese might pick out whale meat for sale at a few of the stalls.
How to get to Nishiki Market?
The Nishiki Market street runs parallel to Shijo Avenue, one block north of Shijo Avenue. It can be reached on foot in less than five minutes from Shijo Station on the Karasuma Subway Line (4 minutes, 210 yen from Kyoto Station) or Karasuma or Kawaramachi Stations on the Hankyu Line.
- Must see and try
- Fascinating food market
- Food heaven - for the foodies
- Interesting place to visit
- Great market in downtown Kyoto
Japan 〒604-8054 京都府京都市 中京区富小路通四条上る西大文字町609
Tips for you
You’ll find all the major ingredients of traditional Kyoto cuisine on display here: tsukemono (Japanese pickles), fresh tofu, Kyo-yasai (Kyoto vegetables), wagashi (Japanese sweets), tea, and fresh fish and shellfish. There are also a few small restaurants and food stands selling ready-made food.Things to do
I always believe that the best way to get to know another country's culture is through food, and Nishiki Market in Kyoto Central is a good place to start. This long street offers a variety of new, strange, and different foods that are very Japanese. There are freshly cooked Japanese rice crackers with different flavors, ice cream served with honey, cucumber sticks, fermented cucumbers, very fresh grapefruit juice right from the source, hojicha (brown rice) ice cream, soy milk donuts, a variety of fish cakes, takoyaki, street foods, and many more. Intersecting the market are stores selling clothes, toys, among others. There is also a Buddhist temple and a Shinto temple. We went there on a rainy day, and we were glad the market has a roof.
Great artisan stalls, some vegetarian friendly food too! Don't forget to check out Daishodo Art and Print shop. Such a treasure if you're looking for authentic Japanese art at a good price!
"Tourist don't know where they've been, travelers don't know where they're going". Paul Theroux. As a would be traveler, what better way to experience a country than through their food. Nishiki Market, a 400m long, now covered mall of over 100 small food vendors operating narrow but long shops along a wet stone walkway opened in the mid 14thcentury is the center of food culture in Kyoto. Not for tourist, this is a working market where proud shop owners have, for generations been producing and selling their simple, honest, culinary treasures. Respect. Fish mongers and vegetable sellers check. But the mall reveals its hidden secrets as you probe deeper. A sake shop selling a freshly brewed Kyoto libation straight from the barrel (a pour, a bottle, it doesn't matter) as an additional 50 plus bottles Kyoto produced sake line the shelves, ready for the drinking. A few shops down, the air becomes filled with the unmistakable smell of roasted, locally grown chestnuts. Kyotamba has been harvesting and roasting these huge, ultra sweet and creamy chestnuts for years. They are not to be missed. Long lines grace stands selling the best deep fried then steamed fish cakes containing tako, ikura, fish, shrimp, scallop, and various root veg, other selling the best Kyoto style pickles including the huge, sweet, slightly salted radishes. Still others selling dried konbu and dried fish. Anago, unagi, and unspeabley rich, gelaenous and juicy shioyaki black cod collars abound. Some stalls invite guest around small communal tables to enjoy the freshly prepared treasures. True matcha vendors, trying to convert passersby with delicious, tasty bits of tender, soft mochi coated in the deep green tea powder. Still others like the famed Miki Keiran serve up incredible dashimakitamago from farm fresh eggs prepared just feet away in their kitchen. The depth of flavor so complex, simply put, you don't know dashimakitamago until you try it here. Need seafood? Clams, shells, snails, oyster are all opened for guest. A squeeze of lemon or yuzu will have you craving more of the freshest crustaceans. Finally desserts. Rolled German cake, prepared onsite without any preservatives, freshness matters as a bite showcases its moist, milky, custardy flavor and gentle sweetness. Too heavy? How about mildly sweet, tender, manju and mochi. Nishiki market has it all if you will let it. Note: All vendors are cash only. Very little English spoken. This is a working market. Try not to impede locals. Tons of free samples, but understand, many vendors have been in business for multiple generations. Respect their craft. Ugly Americans are NOT tolerated. An incredible experience ripe for the taking. Just keep an open mind and be ready to eat and eat and eat!