Four Wonderful Markets in Japan

by Luke - GoWithGuide travel specialist

If you are looking for a place to buy fresh produce, locally sourced ingredients, or cheap clothing, then why not check out one of the many markets in Japan. Try some fish caught the same morning at Tsukiji Fish Market in Tokyo, or eat some traditional food at Nishiki Market in Kyoto. Here are four of the most popular markets in Japan:

Omicho Market

Four Wonderful Markets in Japan

(image by upload.wikimedia.org)

Omicho Market, which has a 290-year history dating back from 1690 in the Edo Era, is called the kitchen of Kanazawa. Currently, there are more than 100 shops and restaurants specializing in fish, vegetables, fruits with ingredients found locally. This market is not just crowded with the locals but also with tourists. Since Ishikawa Prefecture faces the Japan Sea, it is flush with many kinds of freshly-caught fish and there is also a lot of unusual varieties that really can’t be gotten in Tokyo.

There are also many fish shops which invite eating-in, and with seafood like fresh rock oysters, jumbo shrimp and sea urchins, you can easily have the seasonal fare as sashimi right there. And aside from sashimi, you can walk around and try Kanazawa delicacies such as grilled and skewered fish and shrimp croquettes. There are also plenty of various dining establishments such as sushi bars naturally serving hand-shaped sushi and bowls of rice topped with sashimi, curry places, ramen joints and a French restaurant which uses Kaga vegetables. There are many fresh food shops open from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m., but please be aware that there are also many stores that are closed on Wednesdays. Depending on the time, there are also events such as mochitsuki (rice cake-pounding) and nanakusa gayu (rice porridge with seven herbs) A 15-minute walk from Kenroku-en Garden, it’s a tourist spot that you want to head for at least once. 

Admission: Free

Guidebook from Planetyze about Omicho Market
Reviews from TripAdvisor about Omicho Market
Tours of Omicho Market

Tsukiji Fish Market

Four Wonderful Markets in Japan
Tsukiji is one of the world’s greatest fish markets in a nation whose fisheries industry is irreplaceable for the Japanese and in a world which has grown to love sushi and sashimi. But it’s not just fish…there are also many restaurants which take care of fruits and vegetables. The peak of this activity and business is also called Tokyo’s kitchen. You can get a close glimpse of things such as the wheeling and dealing between suppliers at the auctions at this commercial facility which has been so since the very beginning.  

Among all the activity at Tsukiji, watching the carving of the tuna is recommended. The statistics show that the Japanese population consumes a considerable amount of tuna; it is estimated that the percentage is more than 80% of the world’s tuna stock. Amongst other kinds of fish retailing at the market, tuna is the primary variety of fish that is traded at the market. The preparation of the entire fish for retail purposes is a popular happening amongst visitors to the market. The opportunity to observe the merchants skillfully carving the massive tuna with their specialist knives is an experience distinctive to Japan’s Tsukiji Market. Moreover, the liveliness of the fish market is representative of the energy characteristic to food markets in Japan. Although the market is primarily a commercial hub, there are days when the market is not open. Furthermore, there are often times when the operating hours are restricted to just after noontime, so before deciding to visit, it is necessary that you confirm that the market is open on the day you plan to visit on the market’s official homepage.    

Since the inner market operates primarily as a commercial center for merchants and wholesalers, the average visitor cannot enter the auction proceedings. However, there is plenty to see and discover time at the Outer Market. At the Outer Market, you will find a wealth of restaurants and you can even purchase fresh produce and ingredients directly from the market. Naturally, a visit to Tsukiji Market would not be complete without sampling the fresh fish at one of the restaurants through the prepared sushi and sashimi. For those who do not take a liking to raw fish, the Tsukiji market is also famed for its other culinary offerings. Amongst them, the most widely known is Tsukiji’s gyu-don (beef on a bed of rice), a dish that mostly all Japanese are familiar with.    

Admission: Free

Guidebook from Planetyze about Tsukiji Fish Market
Reviews from TripAdvisor about Tsukiji Fish Market
Tours of Tsukiji Fish Market

Nishiki Market

Four Wonderful Markets in Japan

(image by upload.wikimedia.org)

Located right in the center of Kyoto, Nishiki Market is a shopping area which measures 390m and has 126 shops. It has a long history of 400 years. In long-ago Kyoto which had no refrigeration, the people used underground water to keep their foods cold. In 1615, when the area received its title to be a fish wholesaler from the Edo shogunate, it progressed as a fish market, and then with the creation of the Kyoto Central Wholesale Market in 1927, Nishiki Market evolved into its current form. At Nishiki Market, perishable items such as fish and Kyoto vegetables, famous Kyoto pickles and o-banzai (Kyoto jargon for side dishes) are sold. Food distinctive to Kyoto can all be brought together here at Nishiki Market, Kyoto’s kitchen. With the advent of supermarkets and department stores, Nishiki lost a bit of that energy for a while, but that guaranteed quality and the abundance of food has made it a place that is loved by tourists and locals alike.  

With things like the registration of Japanese food as a UNESCO Intangible Cultural Heritage, the current topic of “wa-shoku” includes the famous sushi and tempura, but even within Japan, the brand of Kyoto cuisine stands out. It’s a cuisine that makes good use of the tastiness of fresh ingredients such as tofu, fish and Kyoto vegetables. Kyoto cuisine regards appearance and atmosphere as important and it is something to be enjoyed with all five senses. At Nishiki Market which has shops dealing in Kyoto cuisine, there is a collection of all that is tasty in Kyoto. It is a market that can be enjoyed just on sight alone, but since tasting samples are richly provided, please sample the real food of Kyoto. Searching for interesting examples of wa-shoku such as famous Kyoto pickles and mellow-tasting Japanese-style omelettes is also fun. 

Admission: Free

Guidebook from Planetyze about Nishiki Market
Reviews from TripAdvisor about Nishiki Market
Tours of Nishiki Market

Ameyoko (Ameya-Yokochō)

Four Wonderful Markets in Japan

(image by flickr.com)

After the war, Ameyoko, though it was called a black market, was a place that was indispensable for survival. From Narita, it’s the closest shopping district in Tokyo.

Since there were a lot of stores selling candy there, the area was called “Ame-ya Yokocho” (Candy Store Lane). It was also called “America Yokocho” because it sold contraband goods from the US army. The two names got confusing so it’s said that the name ended up as “Ameyoko”. In the past, there were markets in Shinjuku, Shibuya and Ikebukuro, but now there is only Ameyoko in Ueno. There are 520 stores selling everything from foods and products for everyday living to clothing, watches and health goods. Ameyoko is a street that has a very inexpensive image with many shops that offer products that are cheaper than usual. 

Admission: Free

Guidebook from Planetyze about Ameyoko
Reviews from TripAdvisor about Ameyoko
Tours of Ameyoko

 

Best Virtual Tours & Experiences in Japan

Looking for an authentic travel experience in Japan but still stuck at home? No problem! Why don’t you start by taking a Virtual Tour for a moment’s escape from the mundane and chaos with our professional guides in Japan?

Top Experiences:

More Japan Virtual Tours & Experiences

Plan your trip to Japan

Chat with a local tour guide who can help organize your trip.
Get Started

Recent Tour Reviews

“ Wonderful Kendo Experience ”

Excellent
1 week ago Traveler: Lorelei -   Tour Guide: Mayumi

Mayumi was absolutely wonderful from the beginning. She ensured our ability to meet her at the training facility, since we drove instead of taking the train. She was outside in the cold, waiting for us and made certain we had a place to park. Upon arrival, we were able to change into our Kendo gear for our lesson. She had her daughter with her and they proceeded to teach us the basics of Kendo...
read more

“ Kyoto Fun! ”

Excellent
1 month ago Traveler: Stephanie -   Tour Guide: Toshiyo

Toshiyo was such a great guide! very communicative before the trip. 1/2 day in kyoto, 2 adults, & 2 kids (6 & 8). she gave us great information we would have missed if she wasn't with us. helped us with the Bus. kept my kids engaged. it was a great introduction to beautiful Kyoto! thank you for all your suggestions Toshiyo!
read more

“ Home away from home ”

Excellent
3 months ago Traveler: Sharon -   Tour Guide: YUKIKO

Japan is a fave destination for friends and family. I am glad that I took the leap and booked Yukiko. Made pre arrangements 2 weeks before the tour and she was very helpful in giving an itinerary tailor Fit for our group. We will definitely book again.
read more

“ Awesome virtual experience ”

Excellent
3 months ago Traveler: MELISSA -   Tour Guide: Richard

For our recent corporate team activity we did Richards virtual traditional Japanese tea ceremony experience. Our team is split across Australia, Japan and Singapore.. Richard did a phenomenal job of making our virtual experience unique that for the 1 hour we were with him it felt like we were all together in the heart of Osaka in this beautiful tea shop! Richard went the extra mile and had all the...
read more

“ Time well spent ”

Excellent
3 months ago Traveler: Ananya -   Tour Guide: CHIZURU

Chizuru is an amazing and energetic guide - very familiar with the area, she made sure that I got the most out of both Naoshima and Kurashiki. She's thoughtful and sets the pace according to what suits you, which is perfect. She's well informed and gave me all sorts of interesting nuggets of information which I really appreciated. Would highly recommend you choose to spend your time with her :) T...
read more

“ Visiting Temples was easier with Guide ”

Excellent
3 months ago Traveler: Mercedes -   Tour Guide: Mitsuru(Mark)

I learned a lot about the history and culture of Kamakura. Mark explained all about the different shrines and the meanings. It made the experience of visiting the temples so much easier.
read more

“ Great tour of Chichijima ”

Excellent
4 months ago Traveler: Michael -   Tour Guide: Shunsuke

Shunsuke is friendly and a good guide. He took time to understand what we wanted to see which was really great so we got to see a lot of interesting spots and learn about Ogasawara history, we would really recommend the tour :)
read more

“ Fantastic online tour at Angkor Wat ”

Excellent
4 months ago Traveler: TOMOKO -   Tour Guide: Chansip

Since we were planning to visit Cambodia before this pandemic, we were so happy to find an online tour at Angkor Wat on Triplelights. Our tour guide, Chansip is very kind, pleasant, patient, and knowledgeable. He explained various aspects about Angkor Wat and showed us beautiful sceneries there including many detailed carvings. It was just like a real tour. I really recommend exploring Angkor Wat ...
read more

“ Excellent guide. Well prepared tour. ”

Excellent
4 months ago Traveler: Pobparat -   Tour Guide: Hideo

He is so friendly and very knowledgeable about local history and japanese mythology. His itinerary was well preplanned. I would not have been able to explore all the places we did on my own. Thanks Hideo san!
read more

“ Excellent Tour! ”

Excellent
5 months ago Traveler: Windy -   Tour Guide: Matt

Sorry for my late review. We had a great day taking an online tour with Matt to stroll in the bush in Sydney. I was surprised by the quality of the tour and the view at the cliff was just spectacular! The only thing is that we had 3 young kids in the tour, I wish he could explain things in a more plain language.
read more

Plan your trip to Japan

Chat with a local tour guide who can help organize your trip.
Get Started