Just before diving into the Nishiki Market area, we have a hearty yakitori lunch in one of the many restaurants in the area. Then, it is time to start exploring this market which runs along Nishikikoji-dori, a street in central Kyoto. The market section of the street is covered by a high ceiling with coloured glass panels. Trading went on here since the 14th century, and in the Edo period, the 17th-19th century, Nishiki was a wholesale fish market. Now, people wander around the many shops, all of which are highly specialised. One sells Japanese snacks popcorn in all kinds of tastes (green tea, brown rice tea), while others have an extensive array of tsukemono, or Japanese pickles, or Japanese candies in all sorts and colours.
Inevitably, fish is easily found in stalls here as well, all neatly packed, sometimes with all the parts of the fish inside a transparent plastic box. Invariably, the Japanese pack their products with an amazing eye for detail and presentation, and even the simplest box is presented like the most precious item. Just by looking at the way things for sale are presented, you would already be convinced to buy! There are stalls with a specially prepared pickled cucumber in sake sauce, and there are a whole lot more things that are sometimes hard to understand for a foreigner. That, of course, only makes visiting Nishiki market more interesting.
There are also regular shops which specialize in items related to food. One of my favourites: the chopstick store, with a dazzling array of chopsticks, and chopstick rests in all kinds and sizes. There is a famous knife shop, which sells some state-of-the-art Japanese knives. Apart from the food stalls, there are also several restaurants, with the sample dishes on display in their windows: again, even the simplest dishes are presented in a delicate, perfect way. When we reach the end of the street, we even see unrelated shops like clothes and shoes, and we arrive at the end of the street which intersects with another, modern shopping street. Incredibly, we have managed to see all the attractiveness of Nishiki without even buying one thing.
Personal travel impressions both in words and images from Nishiki Market (Japan). Clicking on the pictures enlarges them and enables you to send the picture as a free e-card or download it for personal use, for instance, on your weblog. Or click on the map above to visit more places close to Nishiki Market.
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