Nishiki Market In Kyoto – All You Should Know
Located in the downtown district of Kyoto, Nishiki Market is a destination that you cannot miss paying a visit to if you travel to Kyoto. Being the largest traditional food market of the district, Nishiki Market is always filled with locals, visitors and everyone in between. With over 100 stalls and shops, the Nishiki food market offers a variety of products, most of which are locally grown. Besides, this market also has much more things for you to explore. So, if you want to know more about the charming Nishiki Market in Kyoto, check this blog out!
All About Nishiki Market In Kyoto
1. Opening Hours Of Nishiki Market
Nishiki Market in Kyoto runs at regular hours. It is opened at 10 am and closed at 6 pm. It would be perfect if you come here during the middle of your day to enjoy lunch or an early dinner.
Although Nishiki is not a night market, it is quite dim with a bit of light coming from brightly colored roofs. The sense of permanent evening in the market has made Nishiki unique with its traditional street shopping style.
2. How To Get To Nishiki Market
The Nishiki Market street runs parallel to Shijo Avenue, one block north of Shijo Avenue. You can get here 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.
3. Must-Try Specialties In Nishiki Market
A small baby octopus with a quail egg inside the head makes the dish. This skewered treat is candied and it’s a strange combination of salt and sweet.
Japanese Fish Cakes
Made from fish paste, mixed with flavors and then deep-fried, Japanese fish cakes are a traditional snack in Japan and they are also popular in Asia. You can try a wide range of flavors from cheese to mochi and you’ll find out what your favorite is.
Mochi In Many Forms
When you travel to Japan, you can happen to see a kind of sweet that is sold across from supermarkets to street stalls. That’s mochi. Mochi is also a sticky rice cake and it comes in many forms. Once you try mochi, you should eat all of its forms.
You can try sweet, soft, peanut-like flavored mochi dusted with kinako powder (a sweet toasted soybean flour) or chewy dango (balls on a stick) which is often dipped in a sweet or salty soy-sauce glaze. If you are looking at a pink mochi wrapped in a leaf, it’s sakura mochi. If it’s white, filled with red bean paste and wrapped in an oak leaf, it’s kashima mochi. You should feel free to try one, then try all and find your favorite!
Though Chinese dumplings are not originally from Japan, they are really fresh and delicious in a unique way with traditional meat fillings.
Senbei are rice crackers with different seasonings. It can make you full surprisingly and it’s always delicious with its freshness. You can choose from soy sauce or a sweet plum sugar, as well as miso and plain salt.
4. Foods To Take Home From Nishiki Market
Tsukemono: Pickled Vegetables
Pickled vegetables are a side dish that you cannot miss buying some to take home from Nishiki Market in Kyoto. Pickled in barrels and trays with brines and rice brans, these vegetables have strong flavors and bright colors. Therefore, they are very decorative and eye-catching, which can help to make a meal nicer.
There are two kinds of pickled vegetables: a short, one-night pickling and a longer one. Turnip, turnip leaf with red perilla, eggplant and cucumber are some of the most famous types that you should buy when you go to Nishiki Market.
Wagashi: Japanese Sweets
Wagashi are an essential part of tea ceremony in Japan. They are traditional Japanese sweets which represent the seasons or elements of nature. Often featuring mochi and anko (sweet red bean paste), wagashi are made from plant ingredients and they have many cute and delicate forms.
As Kyoto is the center of Japanese tea ceremony, you can find nowhere else better to try wagashi than Nishiki Market.
Furikake: Rice Toppings
Sprinkling furikake on a bowl of rice will make a meal awesome! Made with a mixture of dried seaweed, sugar, salt, chili, sesame seeds, dried fish, dried miso and dried fish flakes, packets of furikake are a really great treat to take home.
Dried fish is the most beautiful offering of Nishiki Market in Kyoto. Coming here, you will definitely see mountains of tiny dried fish with scoops beside them. You can use the fish for different purposes. You can eat them as snacks or use them for broth or toppings.
Tofu is quite bland and some of you may not like it. However, fresh tofu in Nishiki Market will change your mind. You’ll like it once you have tried it! Nishiki Market offers a variety of cooked fresh tofu. You can try the thin, fried sheets of age-tofu or the thicker atsu-age tofu. What’s more, there is also softer oboro-tofu or grilled yaki-tofu and all have their own flavors!
5. Souvenirs From Nishiki Market
If you are looking for some special and long-lasting gifts to take home, Nishiki Market in Kyoto would be your choice!
For the greatest engraved chopsticks, you should definitely go to Ichihara Heibei Shōten which is a specialist store with hundreds of different types of chopsticks. Depending on the wood type, use and style, the chopsticks range from affordable to luxurious gifts. With seasonal themes, characters and special patterns, engraved chopsticks are absolutely unique souvenirs from Nishiki Market.
Aritsugu knives are named after Fujiwara Aritsugu, who opened the shop called Aritsugu in 1560. Since then, the shop has been passed down from generation to generation.
The family was originally swordsmiths to royalty. However, the decline in the demand for swords led to their focusing on kitchen knives. Now they produce some of the best knives in the country. You can choose a blade and have your initials engraved if you like. Although the price of these knives is not low, they’re worth buying if you want something special. The knives here can also last for years if properly cared for.
6. Restaurants In And Around Nishiki Market
Kyoto Gogyo Ramen is a great choice if you are looking for something filling and quick. The restaurant serves burnt ramen and gogyo on the side, which seems to be unusual but intentional. Cooked in a flaming pan, then the ramen has a distinct burnt, umami flavor with a hint of smokiness.
Nishiki Tenmangu Shrine
Wandering out of Nishiki Market, you’ll see a wall of lanterns for the beautiful Tenmangu Shrine.
The temple enshrines the god of learning, so it’s a popular place to pray for luck in studying. That the water here is believed to be of specially high quality attracts many visitors. The small plum-shaped amulets hanging from trees, which you can buy for ¥500, can also be very meaningful. You simply write your wish, put it into the plum, and hang it from a tree.
The Snoopy Cafe: Snoopy Cha-Ya
Designed in traditional styles, Snoopy Cha-Ya is a surprisingly contemporary spot to see while you stroll through Nishiki Market. The café serves a lot of real food and sweet, so it’s also surprisingly busy. Moreover, savory dishes like pasta as well as cakes and parfaits, which are adorned with cute Snoopy elements, are available here. The prices may be higher and servings are smaller, but you are not there for the food. You go there for its cuteness and plenty of wonderful pictures!
If you are a vegetarian, you can also find a restaurant for your diet. That’s Hale, a restaurant nearby. Hale is a spot with vegetarian and vegan traditional dishes that feature tofu or byproducts like yuba and okara.
Frequently Asked Questions About Nishiki Market
1. Is Nishiki Market A Night Market?
No, Nishiki Market’s opening hours are between 10 am and 6 pm. Unfortunately, there aren’t any real night markets in Kyoto, but why not wander through Gion or check for festivals happening while you’re there instead?
2. Is Nishiki Market The Same As Kyoto Fish Market?
No, while there are some spots selling fresh fish, the main fish market is near Tambaguchi Station (and Kyoto Station). At the Kyoto Fish and Seafood Market, wholesalers run to busy schedules starting with auctions from 5am.
Hopefully, this blog has provided you with useful information about Nishiki Market in Kyoto. If you have a chance to visit Kyoto, don’t forget to go to Nishiki Market. It’s the spot that’s worth visiting!