Nishiki Market – Kyoto-no-Daidokoro (Kyoto’s Kitchen)

Nishiki Market – Kyoto-no-Daidokoro (Kyoto’s Kitchen) 錦市場商店街

Nishiki Market preview

At Nishiki Market there are many old ‘shinese‘ shops selling everything from Japanese pickles (tsukemono) to the finest Japanese cutlery, as well as a number newer and novel shops, such as tofu doughnuts. Shinise come in the form of an old shop renovated and transformed into a vegetable and fruit boutique to an tiny egg specialty shop that is all of 4 feet wide.

Nishiki Market is often considered to be the place where the ‘nice’ people of Kyoto shop, but like places like Gion and Poncho-cho it is fully accessible to all now. Prices are a bit higher than the neighborhood super market but the difference in freshness, quality and taste is readily apparent.

I was over at Nishiki Market in search of dried fugu fin for this ‘home cooking’ post the other day and snapped some pictures to put up on KyotoFoodie. These photos were taken in mid-November so they show some of the seasonal delights of autumn.

Nishiki Market is about 6 blocks long and runs east-west, from Teramachi Street to Takakura Street. It is located one block north of Shijo Street (Shijo-dori). If it can be eaten, it can be found here.

Nishiki Market seems to be on the itinerary of both foodie and non-foodie types alike. A search on Flickr yields a nearly endless supply of photos of Nishiki Market, in all seasons.

As it is a covered arcade, if you are going to be in Kyoto for a few days, you might save this spot for a rainy morning or afternoon.

Oysters at Daiyau
Nishiki Market oyster shop

Nishiki Market oyster shop
Eat them standing, or at the bar next door with beers or take them home. This is a new shop actually. Until modern times, raw oysters in Kyoto would not have been possible. This place has a rather un-Kyoto, rowdy atmosphere.

Nishiri – Kyoto Tsukemono
Nishiki Market nishiri tsukemono
This is a Kyoto shinise that has gone big time in Japan. A lot of locals pooh-pooh Nishiri now, but they have excellent tsukemono. On the second floor is a restaurant where a truly one-of-a-kind veggie meal can be had. A must try!

Hanakatsuo – ‘shaved fish’
Nishiki Market katsuobushi
This is the gourmet stuff!

A wagashiya-san
Nishiki Market wagashi shop
Family style wagashi (Japanese sweets)

Ayu Nitsuke
Nishiki Market ayu nitsuke
Ayu is a relative of the trout, these come from Lake Biwa. They are simmered in shoyu, sugar, mirin and sansho. They are komochi (子持ち). literally, ‘has child (eggs)’. VERY tasty!

Yaki senbei
Nishiki Market yakisenbei
This is one of the new and novel shops, it is a chain that you will see near many sight seeing places in Kyoto and Nara. They sell a variety of grilled senbei (crackers) in numerous flavors, some quite spicy. This mundane snack is done-up well here. Excellent snacks and portable.

Matsubagai (crab)
Nishiki Market matsubagani
Crab comes into season in the late autumn. These are 8,500 yen a piece!

A tofu and yuba shinise
Nishiki Market tofu doughnut
They started doing tofu soft cream cones recently, then the place became a mecca when they started making tofu milk doughnuts. A bag full of steaming hot, tofu milk mini doughnuts on a cold day KICKS! Not to be missed! (Doughnuts and soft creams are around the back, where folks are lining up.)

Fugu teppi
Nishiki Market fugu teppi
The skin of the fugu (pufferfish) cut into delicate strips. There are several layers of skin, all mixed together after chopping.

Nishin (herring)
Nishiki Market nishin
Nishin fillets are simmered in sweetened shoyu.
Kyoto’s most famous soba dish is Nishin Soba, a fillet like this served on the top of hot noodles.

Kombu (dried kelp)
Nishiki Market kanbutsuya
A kombu shinise. Kombu is used for soup and nabe stock (dashi). This is some pricey kombu!

Fish eggs
Nishiki Market sujiko
Red snapper, salmon, cod. Yum!

Unagiya-san — extreme eatingNishiki Market sozai
Here at the eel shop (unagiya-san) there are grilled sparrows (left) and grilled quail (middle) too! Peko and Paku have never eaten sparrow, and have no plans to either. On the right is grilled eel liver — not bad, apparently very good for one’s health!

Nishiki Market sozai
Simmered komochi (子持ち) carp, from Lake Biwa. Lots of eggs inside!

Nishiki Market sozai
Eel honesenbei (deep fried bones) — these go great with beer!

Nishiki Market unagi
The standard grilled eel (鰻, unagi).
Unagi
is, served on a bed of rice (unagi donburi) is a must try!
On the right are grilled ayu from Lake Biwa.

Japanese lemons (the green ones)
Nishiki Market lemon
Japanese citrus fruit starts to appear on store shelves when it is still green, it is more tart then. Compare the imported lemons in the background to the green domestic ones basket.

Oni Yuzu – 鬼柚子
Nishiki Market oniyuzu
devil’s face yuzu, big (and scary) bother to the yuzu

Matsutake Mushroom
Nishiki Market matsutake
Japan’s famed matsutake mushroom. In season in the autumn. A taste sublime! Domestically harvested matsutake are among the most expensive delicacies in Japan.

Narazuke
Nishiki Market narazuke
Narazuke is the famed tsukemono of Nara. Vegetables are pickled in miso, shoyu and alcohol. Another dish with many detractors, popular with older men, goes well with rice, sake and beer. A buzz can be had on just a few bites of narazuke alone!

Fugu and other fish in a live tank.
Nishiki Market fugu
Fugu is on the bottom right.

Tsukemono! — nukazuke
Nishiki Market nukazuke
Nukazuke: nuka is rice bran, vegetables are fermented in rice bran — clean and simple, natural taste, that packs a pungent punch!

Nishiki Market nukazuke

Nishiki Market nukazuke

Nishiki Market nukazuke

Yakiguri (焼き栗)
Nishiki Market yakiguri
Neighboring Hyogo Prefecture produces the most prized chestnuts (kuri) in Japan. Chestnuts are synonymous with autumn dishes in Japan.

More kombu (kelp)
Nishiki Market shikishi kombu
Here, kombu us simmered with shoyu, sugar and mirin, it is eaten with rice.

Best damn eggs in Kyoto!
Nishiki Market eggshop
This shops seems to be in an alley between shops, it is just 4 feet wide!
Notice, eggs in Japan are not refrigerated — and they are often eaten raw or under cooked.

Yakizakana (焼き魚) – grilled fish
Nishiki Market yakizakana
Fish are grilled over charcoal (can’t do that at home) with various kinds of sauces. The shinise always seem to have a sauce that is superior to that of the new places.

Nishiki Market yakizakana
And bit-sized helpings to be eaten on the spot.

Funazushi (鮒寿司) – fermented carp ‘sushi’
Nishiki Market - narezuke
This shinise is from neighboring Shiga Prefecture. Lake Biwa produces the carp (funa) used for funazushi. Funazushi is a narezushi (fermented ‘sushi’). It is fermented (some say rotted) with rice. It is said that if you like blue cheese, you might like this. This is perhaps the most controversial dish in all of Japanese cuisine. Most Japanese have not tried it. It is fairly popular in Kyoto due to Lake Biwa being just over the mountain and much of Kyoto’s culture and residents originally coming from Shiga.

The board at the bottom center of the case reads, ‘Ministery of Agriculture Prize,’ this is a rare honor in Japan.

On left is ‘komochi’ funa that has been sliced thin, notice the orange eggs inside. The others are whole fish, mostly funa (carp), of several varieties and saba (mackerel) and ayu.

15 Responses to “Nishiki Market – Kyoto-no-Daidokoro (Kyoto’s Kitchen)”

  1. Kat says:

    My husband says that just before New Years is when you should walk through Nishiki Market. It is crazy with tons of people!

  2. PekoPeko says:

    Hi Kat,
    Yes, that is correct. Nishiki is a complete mad house around New Year’s, especially on New Year’s Eve Day.
    Also, the food court in the department stores are just as crazy, perhaps more!
    Where do you and your husband shop for New Year’s?
    Peko

  3. Nate says:

    Excellent blog! Great places, great pictures! Keep it up!

  4. PekoPeko says:

    Hey Nate,
    Well thank you! We will!
    I checked out your blog. Okinawa .. nice!!

  5. CC says:

    We were there at mid-November but didn’t make it to the food section. Only stopped at the clothing section. Now when I read your post, I can only Sigh……. Thanks for this nicely illustrated post though. What I always wonder is what can be eaten right on the spot? Is it rude? Do people buy the pre-cooked food & bring home to eat only?

  6. PekoPeko says:

    Hey CC,

    You can eat ‘on the spot’, I was over at Nishiki last night and I ate some piping hot soymilk doughnuts and some grilled mochi/sembei (both shops mentioned above) and there were lots of other people eating ‘on the spot’.

    The pre-cooked dishes, things that look like they are for dinner, people don’t eat there. I wouldn’t say that it would be rude to do so, it would be difficult to eat a lot of what is for sale at Nishiki standing or walking.

    While eating in public has not been a very ‘Japanese’ thing to do, Japanese people are very happy to see visitors experiencing and enjoying their culture, so even if you do something that the average Japanese wouldn’t do, it should be no problem at all.

  7. Isaac Akira Kojima says:

    I think that the Japanese lemons is just lime.

  8. Peko Peko says:

    Hi Isaac Akira Kojima. No, they are lemons. Look at the sign.

    国産 domestic
    グリーン green
    レモン lemon

    Plus, limes are more expensive than lemons in Japan. Seventy yen is too cheap for limes.

  9. Lyn says:

    Hi… are all shops at the market closed on wednesday? Thanks

  10. Super place :) Egg shop is still there, cute as can be.

    BTW Japan has the nicest eggs I’ve ever seen.

  11. [...] one of my favourite places I have visited, and one of my favourite places in Japan is Kyoto’s Nishiki market – a narrow shopping street, lined by more than one hundred shops selling anything from finest [...]

  12. [...] pesce fresco a fette, pesce già cucinato da portarsi a casa, pesci vivi (non li ho visti ma su kyotofoodie ho scoperto che a Nishiki, da qualche parte, ci sono persino dei pesci palla, quelli stravelenosi [...]

  13. [...] then visited the Nishiki Market. Visit the link.  It gives a good background for the pictures to [...]

  14. [...] square every Saturday is right up there with Paris’ Rungis Wholesale Market and Kyoto’s Nishiki Market. So here’s a big, bright bouquet of sunflowers (from, of course, the DCFM) in celebration of [...]

  15. [...] mattino, evitiamo il pranzo, per sfruttare al meglio tutto il tempo che abbiamo e raggiungiamo il Nishiki Market. E’ strabigliante la varietà di cibi esposti, figurarsi che il mercato è chiamato anche [...]

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