While Tokyo has Tsukiji Fish Market, famous for its tuna auctions and the sheer quantity and diversity of seafood that is traded every day, landlocked Kyoto has a very different kind food market.
A must-visit for foodies and anyone interested in Kyoto cuisine, Nishiki Food Market is a veritable wonderland of culinary delicacies and traditional Japanese food, and is one of the top attractions in Kyoto. Unlike Tokyo’s huge and somewhat bewildering Tsukiji Market, Nishiki Market is housed in a narrow shopping arcade only 400 meters long, with over 120 vendors and an amazing array of weird and wonderful looking ingredients.
With a history dating back over 400 years, many of the vendors at Nishiki have been selling their produce at the market for several generations. Known as ‘Kyoto’s Kitchen’, Nishiki Food Market‘s offerings are all locally produced, which is incredible to consider when you see the huge variety of ingredients on offer.
Typical items you will see for sale include: pickles, radishes, dried food, sea vegetables, fresh seafood, sushi, Japanese sweets, tea, sake, utensils and much, much more. Several stalls offer tasting plates but very few vendors speak English (and there is no English signage) so to make the most of your market visit it’s a good idea to take a tour with a local guide.
Another way to sample some of the food on offer is to stop for a bite at one of the small eating-places that specialize in a particular type of food (which is very often sold at the attached store).
However you choose to explore the market, remember to take your camera. You can always identify that bizarre or tasty looking delicacy later!
Nishiki Food Market is open every day from 9am to 6pm, with some stalls closed on Wednesdays and Sundays. The market runs one block north of and parallel to Shijo Avenue. It’s just a five-minute walk from Shijo Station on the Karasuma Subway Line.