There was an unforgiving cold snap as we entered the final few days of our stay in Kyoto. It was perpetually gusty outside and the temperature dropped to about 2°C, which was a significant change from the reasonable 7-11°C we were given to work with upon our arrival at the old city. Despite the face-biting weather and unrelenting drizzle, we made sure to pay a visit to the famous Nishiki Market (錦市場, Nishiki Ichiba) just before setting off on our long journey south to Mount Kōya (高野山, Kōyasan).
Nishiki Market is Kyoto’s largest traditional food market. Fondly dubbed “Kyoto’s Kitchen” by the locals, you can find anything and everything to do with food at this iconic location, from sugary wagashi (traditional Japanese confectionery) and tofu doughnuts to marinated grilled octopus and locally grown tangerines, freshly harvested chestnuts and packets of tsukemono (Japanese pickles) to the finest Japanese cutlery and cookware. You will not have to look very hard to find any of the major ingredients used in traditional Kyoto cuisine here.
Nishiki Market first started as a fish wholesale district back in 1310. Today, the fully sheltered market is made up of 126 stalls – many of which have been around for generations, run by the same families – lined along a narrow 6-block shopping arcade that runs east-west from Teramachi Street to Takakura Street, parallel to Shijō Street. It can be reached on foot in less than 5 minutes from Shijō Station on the Karasuma Subway Line or Karasuma or Kawaramachi Stations on the Hankyu Line.
Opening hours: Nishiki market is open seven days a week, although some shops don’t operate on Wednesdays. Most stalls open at around 9am and start closing at around 6pm.