Kyoto’s Nishiki Market

 

First order of the day: visit the market.

 

Nishiki market in Kyoto
Nishiki Market gate east of Karasuma Street

 

It is not just any market, but Nishiki Market, Kyoto’s go-to place to acquire the best traditional foods, ingredients and kitchen-related goods. It’s the largest traditional market in the city and the locals refer to it as “Kyoto’s pantry”.

 

Nishiki market in Kyoto
Fresh vegetables

 

Nishiki market in Kyoto
Nara zuke. Pickled large cucumber or gourd

 

Nishiki market in Kyoto
Vegetables like this tricholoma & matsutake mushrooms are locally sourced.

 

Arriving in the ancient capital of Japan for the first time, Nishiki Market was the second city attraction I am checking out. The Kyoto Station, with its sheer size and numerous offerings ranging from retail and cuisine to entertainment and accommodation, was the first.

Wanting to make most of the five-day visit, I arrived in Kyoto at mid-morning, made a quick tour of the station and went to find my hotel at the city center, which is a couple of subway stops away. After a brief search of the capsule hotel I picked from the web, I dropped off my bag as it was too early to check-in and walked to the market a couple blocks away.

 

Nishiki market in Kyoto
Nuts & more. Peanuts come in a variety as well.

 

Nishiki market in Kyoto
A variety of dried fish.

 

Nishiki market in Kyoto
The small dried fishes up close

 

Nishiki Market, which literally translates to “brocade market”, is said to have a history of several centuries old and started off as a fish wholesale district. It was around 1310 when the first store opened shop. Soon after, other shops moved in offering other goods and it turned from wholesale to retail market.

 

Nishiki market in Kyoto
A variety of pickled food

 

Nishiki market in Kyoto
The sake man

 

Nishiki market in Kyoto
An assortment of packed foodstuff

 

Having seen geta craftsmen of different ages manning the family shop along the Old Tokaido Road in Tokyo, I will not be surprised if the practice is the same in this market, where store operations have been passed through generations.

 

Nishiki market in Kyoto
Tourist & local friendly. Seafood is offered fresh or cooked. Packed for for take away or skewered to sample while touring,

 

Nishiki market in Kyoto
Cooked and ready to eat. Take your pick.

 

Nishiki market in Kyoto
The shell man

 

Weaving through the long lane stretching for five blocks is a good mix of both locals doing their regular buying chores and curios tourists shopping for souvenirs, sampling local delicacies or feasting on Kyoto’s famed culinary delights.

 

Nishiki market in Kyoto
Japanese scrolls & slippers

 

Nishiki market in Kyoto
Tenugui, traditional Japanese towels

 

Nishiki market in Kyoto
A tea pot shop

 

From small stalls to two-story shops, there are hundreds of stores in this market with most specializing in a particular type of food that is locally produced. This makes the market a good hunting ground for ingredients of traditional Kyoto cuisine, like the Japanese pickles, vegetables, seafood ranging from shellfish to whale, tea and even the sweet stuff.

 

Nishiki market in Kyoto
The green mountain. Powdered green tea bracken rice cake. A delicacy made by hand by Japanese craftsmen

 

Nishiki market in Kyoto
Soft ice cream!

 

Nishiki market in Kyoto
Showing the heart of mochi. How tempting are those?

 

What I love about Nishiki Market is that it’s very clean and orderly. Well, that is expected of course, but in this atmosphere, you tend to lose track of time. I suggest you allot a good number of hours when visiting this attraction, more if you’re a foodie.

Foodie or not, you’d probably be stuffed or lugging a good load of foodstuff and souvenirs once you’ve reached the end of the lane. What greets you is another attraction bidding you to explore further.

 

Nishiki market in Kyoto
Nishiki Market, five blocks after

 

Yes, the tour of Nishiki is not yet over. Say a little prayer at the Nishiki Shrine. That’s the next story.

 

Email me at jinggoysalvador@yahoo.com. For more lifestyle & travel stories, visit www.ofapplesandlemons.com & www.jeepneyjinggoy.com

Also publsihed in the SunStar Davao newspaper.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

+ seventy two = seventy seven