Japan has gained a lot of popularity for being home to some of the worlds most renowned fresh food markets. Below are two of Japans food market that we grew fond of during our visit.
Kuromon Ichiba Market, Osaka
The Kuromon Ichiba market is a is an actively cheerful market situated in Osaka’s Chuo Ward, stretching for about 580 meters. The market also goes by the name “Osaka’s kitchen” since both local restaurant chefs, as well as homeowners in the area, get their provisions and supplies from here. The market is renowned for its fair share of fresh seafood which has led to Japan becoming a prominent tourist destination in the recent years. Consequently, you’ll find people from different walks of life here and as such, the market tends to get quite crowded sometimes.
Statistics have it that in the year 2015, the Kuromon Ichiba market received an average of 23,000 visitors per day, but that tally is believed to be reasonably higher now. One of the primary reasons that have resulted in such significant popularity is the fact that many stalls will prepare, cook and serve most of their mouth-watering foods to their customers on the spot. Some of the stores also sell yakiniku beef kebabs, sausages, burgers, and other meaty snacks. This features as mentioned above, make the Kuromon Ichiba market an excellent venue for a leisurely walk, snacking on a delicious variety of fresh market foods as well as familiarizing oneself with various food types.
Visiting the Kuromon Ichiba market
On visiting the Kuromon Ichiba Market, you will discover that despite it growing into a little tourist destination, it still acts as a prime local neighborhood market. This is one of its features that really charmed us.
Locals stream into the market to do some shopping, buy produce, fish, and supplies other supplies. New shoes, clothes, gadgets, and an assortment of other stuff are available.
Shopping in Osaka
Despite the fact that the central focus of the market is on fresh food ranging from groceries all the way to readymade restaurants food, there is a fair share of other random shops as well. Taking a walk inside the market, you will come across over 140 stores, with approximately a quarter of them selling fresh seafood and fish. The remainder of the stores is mostly dedicated to selling fresh vegetables and fruits, dried fish, meat, confectionery, and pickles. Clothing stalls and supermarkets are also represented in smaller numbers scattered throughout the market.
One of the supermarkets that we got close to was a high-end gourmet shop, selling the highly sought after fresh vegetables and fruits. Fruits are one of thing that never gets boring in Japan. The beauty in the variety gets you salivating.
The other supermarket was a more of a conventional supermarket, selling all the stuff sold in most supermarkets in Japan, but had a section secluded for sushi and pre-cooked food.
Adding up to the food stores are approximately 25 eateries in the market, selling Japanese pocket-friendly foods and occasional curry or noodle shops. In the recent past, izakaya style eateries, seafood restaurants, and cafes have been on the increase.
Kuromon Market Information Center
Walking towards the southern end of the market, we came across an information center. Here, there is a resting area where you can sit and eat any of the snacks you have purchased at the market. The center is also equipped with a foreign currency exchange machine, and you have access to baggage storage at a specified fee per item, plus a bonus of free wi-fi. Toilets are also available, and the staff here speak English to some extent.
The market is designed with several entry points for convenience purposes.
Kuromon Ichiba is a three-minute walk away from Kintetsu Nippombashi Station and Nippombashi Subway Station.
The Omicho Ichiba Market, Kanazawa
The Omicho Ichiba market is the second buoyant food market located in Kanazawa, Japan, that caught my attention. Going by the name “Kanazawa’s kitchen,” the Omicho Ichiba market is a hotspot for selling seafood like fish and crab, fresh fruit and vegetables as well as confectionery. The market boasts of over 185 different stores selling everything from both fresh and prepared fish and seafood to local vegetables.
Additionally, there is also a fraction of restaurants, clothing stores, grocery stores, and flowers shops. The cheerful atmosphere and welcoming mood encompassing the market makes Omicho Ichiba market a great spot to acquaint oneself with the Kanazawa’s food culture.
Since Kanazawa is located on the Japan Sea coast, it claims a considerable share of fame for its seafood and unmatched expertise in the latter. Taking a walk through Omicho Ichiba market, we got an idea of the incredibly colorful variety of seafood and marine products available in Kanazawa town.
At Omicho Ichiba market, the Crabs, yellowtail amberjack, and shrimps are some of the seafood we had a taste of and their quality is what I’d call the finest. Edible seaweeds are also available at the customer’s disposal too. Here, you’ll find strips of wakame seaweed being used extensively as a flavor for soup, while the stringy mozuku seaweed is used in vinegar. The two are known for their health benefits. Here, you’ll find food stalls that have food samples that you can taste, while others sell snacks that you can eat as you go about your shopping routine. Some of the snacks include fresh oysters, broiled, fried, or eaten raw which happens to be a very tasty treat.
No visit to Omicho Ichiba market is complete if you don’t stop at one of the restaurants and enjoy a hot bowl of rice, or a bowl of kaisendon, or sashimi style raw fish.
There are multiple well-known restaurants, but trying to locate one in the market’s maze of alleys will only get you frustrated. If you spot a friendly looking restaurant with empty seats and pocket-friendly prices, just go in. You’ll never get disappointed.
The restaurants are spread randomly throughout the market’s first floor, but there is also a food court in the basement section and a restaurant section on the second floor. Those who are fond of eating an early lunch have access to some fair deals. The market also has a number of eateries at their disposal.
Additionally, apart from the extensive range of seafood, Kanazawa is recognized for its delicious rice which is sustained by natural mineral waters and regular rainfall.
The Omicho Market is situated in the heart of Kanazawa, easily accessible via a short bus ride from either Kanazawa Castle or JR Kanazawa Station.