Nishiki Market/Nishikiichiba

In July, I went to Nishiki Market, which is popularly known as “The Kitchen of Kyoto.” Look at the entrance. It’s very narrow, though it’s long actually.

the entrance of Nishiki Market
the entrance of Nishiki Market

 

The colorful pattern on the ceiling is eye-catching.

the colorful ceiling
the colorful ceiling

 

On that day, I found shells and ice in a wooden tub, which made me feel refreshed. 400 years ago, people kept food cold with groundwater. Nishiki Market began as a fish market because the area was abundant in groundwater. Now there are 126 various shops, so I’m pretty sure you enjoy shopping here, even if you don’t like fish so much.

shells and ice in the tub
shells and ice in the tub

There are not only shops and stores, but also restaurants and cafes. You may see fake food samples, too. Look at the picture. They look like real food, don’t they? The very thin noodles are called somen in Japanese. We have them especially in the summer. They are good even when you don’t have much appetite. Actually, however, they recommend Japanese rice cakes served with them.

fake food samples 1
fake food samples 1

 

In the next picture, you can see shaved ice. The white dumplings on them are shiratama, which go well with shaved ice. They have no flavor, but you can enjoy the chewy feeling. Also, Japanese red beans, Adzuki are on some of the shaved ice. They are so sweet and rich in taste.

fake food samples 2
fake food samples 2

 

The picture below is more colorful, but these sweets are real, not fake. In Japan, you can find many beautiful sweets that make you feel the season. Feast your eyes before your mouth!

colorful sweets
colorful sweets

 

These are what we call obanzai. Obanzai is a generic term for traditional home-made dishes in Kyoto, and originally it was simple food cooked and served only at home. These days, however, it’s also sold at such stores and served at restaurants.

obanzai
obanzai

 

By the way, have you heard of tsukemono? They are Japanese preserved vegetables, usually served with steamed rice. Here you can see various kinds of tsukemono. Differenttsukemono have different colors, flavors and smells. Taste some, and find out your favorite!

tsukemono
tsukemono

 

As well as prepared food, they have ingredients for cooking, like raw fish and fish roes. Their quality is so high that even famous chefs in Kyoto sometimes come to buy them.

prepared food and ingredients used in cooking
prepared food and ingredients used in cooking

 

Nishiki Market is located between Takakura Street and Teramachi Street in Kyoto City. It’s one block north of Shijo Street.