Kyoto’s Street Food Nishiki Market: Be Careful of Eating Too Much!!


When you are living in Australia, of course, you can have Japanese food at the restaurants, or you can even cook yourself. But it’s still quite different ingredients which you may not get them if you are in overseas.

I sometimes go to the local supermarket to get something I really missed such as; Tarako (cod roe), Sujiko (marinated salmon roe) or any other food which I used to eat at home. If you are staying in the hotel, you can’t really have these food neither.

Then you know where I should go??

Nishiki Market! There the place you can have street food!!

Nishiki Market is just Like a Japanese Local Market

Kyoto's Street Food Nishiki Market
you can buy as little as possible for dinner

Firstly, I should explain what Nishiki Market is, it’s the traditional Japanese style local market.

Before a new type of supermarkets was so popular, they had shopping arcades in every provincial town then you could find delis, fish shops, butchers, veggie shops were there.

Then now, most of these shops were forced to close. I understand that it’s very convenient that you don’t need to shop around, you just visit only one big super to finish it. Anyway, these closed arcade calls now “shutter-arcade”.

Where I grew up in Yokohama, there was a local market there. I used to shop there after school, as well as my parents, asked me there to buy too.

When my father passed away for 10 years ago, I visited this market, and it wasn’t same of course, there were so many closed shops, that made me so sad.

Anyway, this Nishiki Market is an exceptional example of successfully well organised for tourist. I visited other shopping arcades in Kyoto, but they were not the same as this. I liked visiting local shops, but sadly I’ve seen there were so many shutter-arcades.

Nishiki Marke (錦市場 – Nishiki Ichiba) is about 400 years old, and it has more than 100 shops in a very narrow shopping arcade, called Kyoto’s kitchen. 

It’s also called Kyoto’s kitchen. This market opens about 10 am to 6 pm daily, and you can see many tourists visit for snacks and explore local Kyoto’s lifestyles as well as shopping too.

Kyoto’s Kitchen: Nishiki Market Street Food!

Kyoto's Street Food Nishiki Market

That morning when we were heading to Nishiki market for lunch, we had just only had salad and coffee as very light breakfast at the Kyoto Brighton hotel.

After the breaky, we spend a bit of time in our hotel room then we left the hotel at about eleven o’clock.

There was a shuttle bus to Karasuma Oike from our hotel, and it would take about 13 minutes by foot to the Nishik Market from there on the Google map.

My best friend said as looking at the Google map;

“Well, it’s quite a bit to walk then…” (sounded very complaining)

Then I said with quite convincing,

“Well, it’s Kyoto! We always walk in Kyoto!!

I probably better to write here, why I really want to come here, because I wanted to eat crabs, fish sperm with vinegar dressing and grilled Ayu fish! And many more!

I have to apologise here. I forgot to take pictures because I was so crazy about eating.

Firstly, when I get there, I grabbed one octopus on the stick!!

Here we go!

Octopus on the stick

Kyoto's Street Food Nishiki Market
Photo credit : Kai’s website

Again, I took a long time to find decent photos to share in this article, like from such twitter. Well, I was so excited and most of all I was too busy to eat.

Anyway, firstly I had a tiny octopus stuffed quail eggs in its head.
It was quite delicious. I should try a little squid too, though.

As you can see you can get them in the sticks like photos below.

It’s about ¥300 ~ ¥350, it depends on the shops.

Grilled Ayu fish

Photo credit: Tomoharusan by Wikipedia

Above photo is different, that’s I found good example of Japanese way of Ayu cooking.

Ayu is a quite popular fish in Japan. Some parts of Japan can go fishing too. It has a sweet flavour and distinctive aroma.

Ayu is a typical ingredient at traditional Japanese food, so you can also have them at the ryokans. Indeed, Ayu is my favourite fish!

At this Nishiki Market, I had two small ones and one big one. However, when I was leaving Japan I reget I should have another one there!!

Snapper Milt

I believe some of the people would think, it’s disgusting. My husband can’t eat them at all. It’s fish milt. Normally, fish milt has to be boiled and add some ponzu sauce with a little bit of grated daikon chilli and we sometimes add it to hotpot too.

It’s impossible to eat them in Australia, well, possibly you have to ask a fish shop to keep it for you if you really want. However, I’ve never seen it any.

It’s a very creamy texture, especially snapper ones’ doesn’t have the fishy smell so much. It was very yummy!

But I’m sure you must grow up with it.

Japanese Crab and sashimi

Kyoto's Street Food Nishiki Market
Kyoto's Street Food Nishiki Market
Fresh salmon sashimi

IIn this Nishiki Market, there are quite a few fish shops, and they sell a small amount of sashimi set too.

Like this photo, you can get salmon sashimi, tuna, squid, crab and more!

Japanese crabs’ taste is quite different from Australian’s, it’s hard to explain, but I guess, Japanese seawater temperature is lower than Australia’s thus, I can taste Japanese crab is rich in flavour.

Deep-fried tempura

There are so many deli shops here, that you can buy some side dishes or main dishes for dinner.

This Gobo-fried was really delicious. The ladies from overseas were peering into this, then I explained to them what it was, and then they decided to buy it with me. It’s mixed the burdock with a white fish paste and it deep-fried, but it was delicious.

However, I got a bit full after this. It was quite bigger than it looked.

Handmade Rice Crakers

Japanese rice crackers have a quiet variety not only with soy sauce but sweet ones, spicy, seaweed or more. They were all handmade and you can also try them at that shop.

I had one with soy sauce and seaweed, it was still warm and fresh!

Plenty of Dessert’s Choices

There are so many choices for dessert. You can get match flavour soft serve, traditional Japanese red beans sweet etc.

I’ve found chilli flavour soft serve….well, next time I probably try it!

I had grilled mochi on a stick with sweet soy sauce as dessert. I used to eat them all the time in Japan. You can also choose red bean paste ones, but I prefer this soy sauce based.

However, I was quite full but luckily my dessert tummy was still empty.

Ummm, yum!

I also came to cross this sticky rice and shaved ice bowl with matcha syrup which I really wanted to have it, but I was so full…. I wish I would have another stomach to have this…

Shaved ice bowl is typical summer dessert in Japan from ancient time. I used to have a machine to make it when I was a child.

If you go to Japan in summer, I recommend to have it, that will cool you down quite a bit for sure.

Just Explore Japanese Food culture!

Tsukudani shop

Again, this Nishiki Market was just like where I grew up and shop when I was a child.

We found a Tsukudani shop for taking home. Tsukudani is typical Japanese style preserved food which has stewed vegetables or konbu (seaweed) roots with seasoning and soy sauce.

There were so many different kinds of tsukudani, the shop offered us to taste every single one of them so we took quite a long time to choose.

However, they were all so yummy!

Kyoto Pickles are famous in Japan!

Japanese people love pickles, you might know this, but you will be amazed at how many pickles shops in Nishiki Market.

In Japan, they have different types of pickles in each local region and off course, Kyoto has one too.

This time, we hadn’t hungry enough to try at this shop which you can try many different pickles at the same time within little bowls.

If you like Japanese pickles, why don’t you try some then!

Finding Interesting Souvenirs

Nishiki Market is just like the local food market, but it’s in Kyoto, so it’s more likely for international customers and there were many souvenir shops there.

It would be a good idea to explore some interesting shops for souvenirs rather than buying them in an ordinary souvenir shop.

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How to Get Nishiki Market

Nishiki Market is located almost the middle of Kyoto. You can get there quite easily from some stations.

The Nishiki Market is basically parallel to Shijo Avenue, only one block north from Shijo Avenue.

You can get there from Shinjo Station (4 minutes, 220 yen from Kyoto Station), Karasuma Subway Line, and it’s less than five minutes. 

Or you can also get there Karasuma or Kawaramachi Stations on the Hankyu Line.


Nishiki Market’s Website:


I hope you enjoyed my story of Nishiki Market in KYOTO. Hopefully, you found it useful and make you got there too! Here are a few more interesting articles about Yoshino that I recommend you read next:

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