Nishiki Market, also known as Kyoto’s Kitchen, is a bustling retail market in the heart of Kyoto, Japan. With a history that dates back over 400 years, the market should be on your to-do list while in the area.
You can explore over 100 shops and vendors that specialize in all things food-related.
From fresh seafood and produce to traditional Japanese sweets and snacks, the market offers a wide variety of delicious and unique culinary experiences.
Whether you’re looking to sample some of Kyoto’s famous street food or pick up ingredients to cook your own Japanese-style meal, Nishiki Market has Something to interest all.
In this guide, we’ll give you everything you need to know to make the most of your trip to this iconic Kyoto market.
Location and Access
The market is a historical arcade on Nishikikoji Street, just north of Shijo Street. It runs parallel to and one block north of Shijo Avenue, which is one of the main streets in Kyoto. The market is easily accessible from Kyoto Station by subway or bus.
You can take the Kyoto City Subway from Kyoto Station to Shijo Station, which is only a few minutes walk from the market.
Alternatively, they can take a bus from Kyoto Station to Shijo Karasuma bus stop, which is also a short walk from the market.
It’s open every day from 9am to 6pm, but each shop varies not only in opening hours but also in the days of the week. Some shops are closed on Sundays and national holidays, while others may close on Wednesdays or other days of the week.
History and Background
Nishiki Market, also known as Nishiki Ichiba, is a traditional market that has a history spanning several centuries, and many stores have been operated by the same families for generations. It all started as a fish market, but over time, it has evolved into a bustling marketplace that offers a wide range of goods and foods.
The market is over 400 years old and has been a vital part of Kyoto’s food culture for centuries. TIt’s renowned as the place to obtain many of Kyoto’s famous foods and goods.
You can find fresh seafood, vegetables, meats, pickles, sweets, and other delicacies unique to Kyoto.
Over the years, the market has undergone several changes and renovations, but it has managed to maintain its traditional charm and atmosphere. The market’s narrow alleys, wooden storefronts, and lanterns create a unique and enchanting ambiance that transports visitors back in time.
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What to Expect at Nishiki Market in Kyoto
Known as “Kyoto’s Kitchen,” here’s what you can expect when you visit Nishiki Market.
Nishiki Market is home to over 100 food stalls and shops selling a wide variety of local delicacies and fresh produce. You can find everything from traditional Japanese sweets, fresh seafood, pickles, and spices to grilled skewers of meat and vegetables. The market is a great place to sample different types of Japanese cuisine and experience the local food culture.
Crowded and Lively Atmosphere
Nishiki Market is a popular destination for both locals and tourists, so expect it to be crowded and lively. The market is busiest during weekends and holidays, so plan your visit accordingly. The bustling atmosphere adds to the charm and authenticity of the market, and you can immerse yourself in the local culture by interacting with vendors and other visitors.
Unique Shopping Experience
Apart from food, Nishiki Market also offers a unique shopping experience. You can find a wide variety of traditional Japanese handicrafts, souvenirs, and kitchenware. The market is particularly famous for its high-quality knives and cookware, which are essential for Japanese cuisine. You can also find unique and quirky items such as cat-shaped soy sauce dispensers and chopstick rests.
Popular Shops and Stalls
Nishiki Market is home to shops and stalls selling a wide range of food items. Here are some of the most popular ones:
Aritsugu is a famous knife shop that has been in business for over 400 years. They sell high-quality knives that are used by chefs all over the world. If you’re a foodie or a chef, this is a must-visit shop at Nishiki Market.
2. Nishiki Ichiba
Nishiki Ichiba is a large food hall that has over 130 stalls selling a wide variety of food items. You can find everything from fresh seafood to traditional Japanese sweets here. This is a great place to try out different types of Japanese cuisine.
Konnamonja is a popular shop that specializes in tuna. They sell tuna products, including fresh tuna, canned tuna, and tuna jerky. If you’re a fan of tuna, this is the place to be.
Daikoku is a popular shop that sells grilled eel. They use a special sauce that has been passed down for generations to give their eel a unique flavor. This is a must-visit shop if you’re a fan of eel.
5. Yatsuhashi Honpo
Yatsuhashi Honpo is a famous shop that sells yatsuhashi, a traditional Japanese sweet made from glutinous rice flour, sugar, and cinnamon. They have flavors, including matcha, strawberry, and chocolate. This is a great place to try out some traditional Japanese sweets.
These are just a few of the many shops and stalls that you can find at Nishiki Market. Be sure to explore the market and try out different types of food to get a taste of Kyoto’s culinary scene.
Food and Drink Recommendations
Nishiki Market is a foodie’s paradise. With over 100 food stalls and shops, it can be overwhelming to decide what to try. Here are some recommended dishes and drinks:
Senbei, or Japanese rice crackers, are a must-try at Nishiki Market. They come in various flavors, such as soy sauce, seaweed, and shrimp. One popular stall is Nishiki Warai, which has been selling senbei for over 150 years.
Tamagoyaki, or Japanese omelet, is another popular dish at Nishiki Market. It is made by rolling together several layers of cooked egg. One recommended stall is Tamagoyaki Marutake, which offers various flavors, such as cheese and shrimp.
Matcha, or Japanese green tea, is a specialty of Kyoto. Nishiki Market has several shops that offer matcha sweets, such as mochi, ice cream, and cakes. One recommended shop is Tsujirihei Honten, which has been selling matcha sweets for over 150 years.
Kyoto is known for its sake or Japanese rice wine. Nishiki Market has several shops that offer local sake, such as Ippongi Kubohonten and Tsuji Honke. You can sample different types of sake and purchase your favorite bottles to take home.
These are just a few of the many food and drink options available at Nishiki Market. Visitors are encouraged to explore the market and try new dishes. It is recommended to come with an empty stomach and a sense of adventure.
Tips for Visitors
Visiting Nishiki Market can be an overwhelming experience, especially for first-time visitors. Here are some tips to help make your visit more enjoyable:
- Arrive early in the morning to avoid the crowds. The market opens at 9:00 am, but some shops may open earlier.
- Bring cash, as some shops do not accept credit cards. There are ATMs nearby if you need to withdraw cash.
- Try to sample as many foods as possible. Many shops offer free samples, so take advantage of this to try new foods.
- Avoid touching the products and always ask before taking photos.
If you are interested in taking a guided tour of Nishiki Market, there are several companies that offer tours. Japan Wonder Travel offers a 3-hour tour that includes a visit to Nishiki Market and other nearby attractions.
The Sum Up
Overall, Nishiki Market should be on your to-do list for anyone traveling to Kyoto. With its rich history, lively atmosphere, and delicious food, it offers a memorable experience.
|Name (English)||Nishiki Market|
|Address||609 Nishidaimonjicho, Nakagyo Ward, Kyoto, 604-8054, Japan|
|Times||Most shops: 9:30 AM – 6:00 PM|
|Website||http://www.kyoto-nishiki.or.jp/ (Japanese only)|
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