Nishiki Market

Known as Kyoto’s Kitchen, Nishiki Market (Nishiki Ichiba) is the four hundred year old, iconic food market in the centre of Kyoto. It’s first shop opened in 1311. This place is all about tradition which makes it a must-see as well as being a great place to visit when it rains as it is part of the covered shopping area.

There are over a hundred shops selling seasonal food and Kyoto specialities. You can buy Japanese sweets, fresh tofu, dried fish, fresh seafood and many more things. Most of it locally produced and procured. There are other shops too mixed in amongst the food stores; food related shops (e.g. high-end speciality knife shops) as well as little some souvenir places.

We spent several hours wandering from shop to shop and watching locals grocery shopping. It is very easy to start browsing, exploring and snacking all the time as some of the shops give out samples as well as selling bite-sized snacks. Go there only when hungry.

Narrow shopping street with glass stained ceiling. The entire area is covered.

A delicious smell emanated from this roast chestnuts shop.

Tea shop.

Big wooden boxes with tea.

Uchida pickles. Big barrels of pickles made in a traditional way since the shop opened in 1947.

Pickled eggplant. Stunning purple colour.

Ochanoko Saisai, a very good spice shop. We bought lots of spices here and plenty of chilli oil. It is the best chilli oil we have found so far. Because of our purchases here we were turned back by airport security and told to check in our luggage. Too many jars of delicious chilli oil.

Entire shop that sells only chopsticks. So many different types. The pair which I really liked was rather expensive: 35pounds! I didn’t buy them so I’ll have to continue using the (much cheaper but still pretty) pair from Bangkok’s Chatuchak market.

Plastic/Wax models restaurants use in window displays.

Marinated baby octopus stuffed with a quail egg. We did try one. It was good.

Hand painted folding paper fans. To our surprise we saw people (men and women) using them every day on public transport, in coffee shops etc. While in one of the department store we passed several displays of modern design fans (for men) by non Japanese brand like DKNY.

Funky shaped chopstick rests.

Traditional Japanese wooden sandals.

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