Nishiki market is a street in central Kyoto where fresh food has been sold for over four hundred years. Nicknamed “Kyoto’s Kitchen”, we promise that if you make your way here, you will not be hungry once you leave.
Nishiki market is Kyoto’s largest food market. On this street, about five blocks long, more than 150 food vendors have gathered, selling everything from fresh fish and vegetables, to Japanese sweets and other snacks that you can eat right away. Many of the stalls offer free samples, so even if you are not planning on having a proper meal, there is a good chance that you will be quite full once you reach the end of the market.
Some of the foods on sale here might seem a bit odd to western tourists. How about a baby octopus with a quail egg inside its head, for example, or some of Japan’s infamous whale meat?
Or perhaps a soy donut? It can all be found on this vibrant market street, located just a block from Shijo-dori, one of the biggest and most upscale shopping streets in Kyoto.
Nishiki market manages to strike a good blend between being a famous tourist hotspot yet still a place where the atmosphere of a local neighbourhood is still very present. You are likely to bump into both local retired housewives and chefs from some of the nearby restaurants, as well as busloads of tourists, while browsing all the various culinary masterpieces on display here.
Several charming restaurants are located next door to this bustling market street too, so if you would rather sit down and have a proper teishoku (set meal) for lunch instead of having to stand while you eat, this can easily be arranged too. A good idea is to have a look at all the intersecting streets and alleys, and you will surely be able to find something that suits your palate.
Tofu and Yuba are two local specialities, and of course, there are several stands specializing in this healthy soybean derivate at Nishiki market too. One place that comes highly recommended is Yubakichi. This little company has been in business since the late 18th century, and their yuba sashimi, eaten with nothing but a splash of soy sauce and a bit of wasabi, comes highly recommended.
As the Kyoto region is also famous for its high quality tea, there are several stands specializing in tea leaves and matcha powder, as well as many different kinds of tea-flavoured sweets. Nishiki Market runs parallel one block north of Shijo Dori, and is easily reached on foot from either Shijo Station, Karasuma station or Kawaramachi station. The opening hours vary from shop to shop, but generally, most of them are open from 9am to 6pm.