A Food Lover’s Guide to the Nishiki Market

Nishiki Market is a bustling marketplace located in downtown Kyoto, Japan. The market spans five blocks and is home to over one hundred shops and restaurants, each specializing in food and Kyoto specialties. Visitors to the market can find fresh seafood, produce, knives, cookware, Japanese sweets, pickles, dried seafood, and sushi. The market has a history of several centuries and is often crowded with locals and tourists alike.

Nishiki Market in Kyoto by Romeo A via Unsplash
Nishiki Market in Kyoto by Romeo A via Unsplash

The market is also known as “Kyoto’s pantry” and is a popular destination for foodies and tourists looking to experience the aromas, tastes, and culture of Kyoto’s kitchen. Visitors can enjoy the bustling atmosphere of the market while sampling local specialties such as yuba, tofu, rice crackers, and mackerel sushi. The market is also home to a variety of cooking utensils, ceramics, and other traditional Japanese items.

Nishiki Market is a must-visit destination for anyone traveling to Kyoto. With its rich history, bustling atmosphere, and wide variety of local specialties, the market offers a unique glimpse into the culinary culture of Kyoto. Whether you’re a foodie looking to sample local delicacies or a tourist looking to experience the sights and sounds of Kyoto, Nishiki Market is sure to satisfy.

Lunch in Nishiki Market
Lunch in Nishiki Market

History of Nishiki Market

Nishiki Market, also known as Nishiki Ichiba, has a history of over 400 years. Originally, Nishiki Market was an open-air fish market, but over time, it has evolved into a bustling marketplace that sells a wide variety of products.

The first shop in Nishiki Market opened its doors around the year 1310. By the 1600s, the market was thriving and had become a hub of commerce in Kyoto. With time, more modern shops began to find a home in the market.

In 1911, a new organization was formed to promote the market as a venue to buy and sell fish and seafood. As a result, the market regained its vigor. The Kyoto Central Wholesale Market opened in 1927, and many merchants from the Nishiki Market relocated there.

Today, Nishiki Market has an astonishing 130 vendors packed into a narrow passageway approximately 400 meters long and 3.9 meters wide. These days, the traditional shops and stalls that have been in business for generations are interspersed with much more modern shops primarily aimed towards tourists.

Nishiki Market is located on the east end of Nishikikoji Street, one block north and parallel to Shij? Street and west of Teramachi Street. The market is close to several notable landmarks in Kyoto, including the Tenmangu Shrine and the Imperial Palace.

Restaurants at Nishiki Market
Restaurants at Nishiki Market

Location and Access

Nishiki Market stretches about five blocks, running parallel to Shijo Street and one block north of it. The market is easily accessible from Kyoto Station by subway or bus.

Visitors can take the Karasuma subway line to Shijo Station and enter the market from the west side at Takakura Street. The market is also accessible from Karasuma or Kyoto-Kawaramachi stations on the Hankyu Line.

For those who prefer to take the bus, the closest bus stops are Shijotakakura or Shijokawaramachi stations on the Shijo-dori shopping street. Visitors can also take a taxi to the market, but it is not recommended as the area can be congested during peak hours.

Nishiki Market is located in Central Kyoto, making it a convenient destination for tourists who want to experience the local culture and cuisine. The market is a popular spot for locals and tourists alike, and it is recommended to visit during the morning or early afternoon when the market is bustling with activity.

Crab Sticks at Nishiki Market
Crab Sticks at Nishiki Market

Shopping Experience

Nishiki Market is lined with shops selling a variety of goods, ranging from fresh seafood, vegetables, and fruits to traditional Japanese sweets, souvenirs, and crafts.

The market has a long tradition of being a place where locals come to shop for fresh and unique products. It is also a popular tourist destination, attracting visitors from all over the world. The market offers a glimpse into the local way of life and is a great place to experience Japanese culture and traditions.

The shops at Nishiki Market are a mix of traditional and modern. Some of the shops have been in business for generations and have a long history of serving the local community. Others are modern boutiques that offer a more contemporary shopping experience. Regardless of the shop type, visitors will surely find something that catches their eye.

One of the unique aspects of shopping at Nishiki Market is the shotengai, or shopping arcades. These arcades are covered walkways that connect the shops and provide shelter from the weather. They are also a great place to explore and discover new shops and products.

Nishiki Market is also a great place to shop for souvenirs. Visitors can find a variety of traditional Japanese goods, such as pottery, lacquerware, and textiles. They can also purchase local delicacies, such as Kyoto-style pickles and sweets, to take home with them.

Dried and Preserved Food at Nishiki Market
Dried and Preserved Food at Nishiki Market

Food Culture at Nishiki Market

Nishiki Market is a food lover’s paradise, offering a wide variety of fresh and locally grown produce, seafood, sweets, snacks, and more. With over 130 food shops and stalls, the market has become a hub for foodies and tourists alike.

The market’s food culture is deeply rooted in Kyoto’s cuisine, which is known for its delicate flavors and emphasis on seasonal ingredients. Visitors can find a range of traditional Kyoto dishes, such as tofu, yuba, and Kyo-Yasai (Kyoto vegetables), at the market’s many eateries and food stands.

One of the most popular food items at Nishiki Market is seafood, mainly fresh fish and sashimi. Visitors can sample a variety of seafood dishes, such as skewered octopus, tuna, and eel, as well as fresh oysters and sea urchins.

Tsukemono shop by Gavin Anderson in Nishiki Ichiba, Kyoto via Wikimedia cc
Tsukemono shop By Gavin Anderson from Tsukemono shop Uchida Tsukemono in Nishiki Ichiba, Nakagyo, Kyoto – Flickr, CC BY-SA 2.0, cc

Another must-try food at the market is tsukemono or pickled vegetables. Nishiki Market is famous for its wide selection of pickles made using traditional methods and locally grown produce. Visitors can also find a variety of rice crackers, snacks, and sweets, such as mochi and wagashi (traditional Japanese sweets), as well as ice cream and grapefruit juice.

For those looking for a quick lunch or snack, there are plenty of food stands and noodle shops that offer a range of street food, including yakitori (grilled chicken skewers), tako tamago (octopus and egg skewers), and dango (sesame dumplings). Visitors can also find a range of Japanese sweets, such as sakura mochi (pink rice cake wrapped in a cherry blossom leaf) and kashiwa mochi (rice cake wrapped in an oak leaf).

To fully experience the market’s food culture, visitors should come prepared with a pair of chopsticks and an open mind. Whether you’re a seasoned foodie or a curious traveler, Nishiki Market will satisfy your taste buds and offer a glimpse into Kyoto’s rich culinary traditions.

Nishiki Market in Kyoto
Nishiki Market in Kyoto

Restaurants and Accommodation

Nishiki Market has a variety of Japanese local food restaurants serving dishes such as sushi, ramen, udon, and more. The market is also known for its fresh seafood and vegetables, which are used in many of the dishes served at the restaurants.

Several hotels and accommodations are available for those looking to stay in the area. Visitors can find various options ranging from budget-friendly hostels to luxurious hotels. Some popular hotels near Nishiki Market include Hotel Granvia Kyoto, Kyoto Century Hotel, and Kyoto Tokyu Hotel.

Booking.com is a popular online platform that can help visitors find the best accommodation options in the area. The platform provides a wide range of options to choose from, including hotels, hostels, and apartments. Visitors can easily book their accommodation through the platform and enjoy a hassle-free stay in Kyoto.

Notable Shops and Products

Nishiki Market has over 150 vendors selling a wide variety of fresh seafood, produce, sweets, and snacks. Here are some notable shops and products that visitors should definitely check out:


Aritsugu is a 450-year-old shop that specializes in high-quality knives and kitchenware. The shop was once a sword maker for royalty and has since shifted its focus to creating some of the best knives in Japan. Aritsugu’s knives are known for their sharpness, durability, and beautiful craftsmanship. Visitors can purchase knives made from different types of steel, such as carbon or stainless steel, in different shapes and sizes.


Mori is another shop that sells knives and kitchenware. The shop is known for its high-quality knives made from Japanese steel, perfect for slicing and dicing all types of ingredients. In addition to knives, Mori also sells cookware, such as pots and pans, and other kitchen accessories, like cutting boards.


Shibazuke is a type of pickled vegetable that is popular in Kyoto cuisine. The pickles are made from cucumbers, eggplant, and ginger, which are then pickled in a mixture of vinegar, salt, and shiso leaves. Shibazuke is known for its bright pink color and tangy, slightly sweet flavor. Visitors can purchase Shibazuke at several shops in Nishiki Market, including the famous Kyogoku Takakura.

Satsuma Age

Satsuma Age is a type of deep-fried fish cake that is a popular snack in Japan. The cakes are made from a mixture of fish paste, vegetables, and seasonings, which are then deep-fried until crispy and golden brown. Satsuma Age is a great snack to enjoy while exploring Nishiki Market, and can be found at several shops, including the popular Chidoriya.

Nishiki Market is a great place to find high-quality knives, cookware, and other kitchen accessories. Visitors should definitely check out Aritsugu and Mori for their excellent selection of knives, while Shibazuke and Satsuma Age are must-try snacks for anyone visiting the market.

Green tea candy for sale at the Nishiki market
Green tea candy for sale at the Nishiki market

Practical Information

Nishiki Market is a must-visit destination for foodies and culture enthusiasts visiting Kyoto, Japan. Here are some practical tips to help you make the most of your visit.

Opening Hours

The market is open from 9:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m. However, some shops may close on Wednesdays or other days of the week. It is always best to check the opening hours of the specific shops or restaurants you are interested in visiting before you go.


The market is known as “Kyoto’s Kitchen” for a reason. Visitors can find a wide range of traditional and modern Japanese food and snacks, including fresh seafood, pickled vegetables, tea, sweets, tofu, and more. Many restaurants and food stalls also serve hot meals and snacks, such as grilled seafood, tempura, and sushi.

Things to Do

Aside from eating and shopping, there are many other things to see and do in Nishiki Market. Visitors can learn about the history and culture of Kyoto by exploring the market’s narrow alleys and historic buildings. Many shops also sell traditional Japanese crafts and souvenirs, such as pottery, lacquerware, and textiles.

Japan Rail Pass

Using a Japan Rail Pass, you can take the Karasuma Subway Line to Shijo Station and exit via the eastern gate to get to the market.

Official Website

For more information about the market, including a list of shops and restaurants, visit the official website at https://www.kyoto-nishiki.or.jp/.

Nishiki Market in Kyoto Japan
Nishiki Market in Kyoto Japan

Frequently Asked Questions

What are the best stores to visit at Nishiki Market?

Nishiki Market is home to over 100 shops and restaurants, each offering unique products and delicacies. Some must-visit stores include Aritsugu, a renowned knife shop that has been in business for over 400 years, and Ichiwa, a traditional Japanese tea shop that has been serving tea for over 300 years. Other popular stores include Kizushi, which sells fresh seafood, and Konnamonja, which sells mochi (a type of Japanese rice cake).

What is Nishiki Market known for selling?

Nishiki Market is known as Kyoto’s Kitchen and offers a wide range of food products, including fresh seafood, produce, pickles, sweets, and more. Visitors can also find traditional Japanese products such as knives, ceramics, and tea.

What is the address of Nishiki Market?

The address of Nishiki Market is Nakagyo Ward, Kyoto, 604-8054, Japan.

What time does Nishiki Market open?

Nishiki Market is open from 9:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m. However, some shops may have different opening and closing times, so it’s best to check in advance.

What is the best time to visit Nishiki Market?

Nishiki Market can get crowded, especially during peak tourist season. Therefore, it’s best to visit early in the morning or late in the afternoon to avoid the crowds. Additionally, some shops may close early if they sell out of their products, so it’s best to visit earlier in the day.

How do I get from Kyoto Station to Nishiki Market?

The easiest way to get from Kyoto Station to Nishiki Market is by taking the Karasuma Subway Line to Shijo Station and exiting via the eastern gate. From there, Nishiki Market runs parallel to Shijo-dori street, stretching east from Karasuma-dori to the Nishiki-Tenmangu Shrine.

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