Region
Shikoku
Island
Shikoku
Largest City
Kochi
Population
813,980

Kochi Sunday Market

Fewer tourists, more sashimi and don't forget the citrus!

Sip on yuzu or ginger juice, peruse Japanese knives, eat fresh sushi and get your hands on citrus fruits the size of your head at Kochi City’s Sunday Market. Showcasing the best local food, drink, artistry and produce from Kochi Prefecture, the 1.3-kilometer-long market has remained a weekly tradition for over 300 years and is a phenomenal way to dig into Kochi’s unique culture and natural goodies.

Ginger root is also aplenty at the market, as Kochi is a big producer of the it.

Photo by: Victoria Vlisides Ginger root is also aplenty at the market, as Kochi is a big producer of it.

The rural prefecture of Kochi lies on the smallest and most rustic island of Japan called Shikoku. Kochi-jin (the native people there) have their own distinct laid-back style that’s reflected in the smiles and openness from the farmers, artists, entrepreneurs and even inoshishi (Japanese boar) hunters who gather each Sunday offering up Kochi’s regional delicacies.

The market's colorful goods are the best of Kochi's local farmers.

Photo by: Victoria Vlisides The market’s colorful goods are the best of Kochi’s local farmers.

The Kochi Sunday Market stretches all the way to the striking Kochi Castle, another must-see spot in the city, but there is so much to look at (and let’s be honest, eat!) before you get there. It takes a little over an hour to meander through the huge range of products at the more than 430 stalls. Like any good farmers’ market, you’ll find fresh seasonal fruits and veggies such as the buntan, a Japanese citrus fruit that can be twice the size of a grapefruit but tastes slightly sweeter. Definitely worth a try.

Kochi Market Citrus

Photo by: Victoria Vlisides Buntan (right) and yuzu (left) are two native citrus fruits to try in Kochi.

Another local citrus fruit at the market that is widely used in Japanese cooking is the lemon-like yuzu. Buy it raw, sip on it in juice form or take home infused condiments like yuzu-kosho (yuzu pepper) as souvenirs. You’ll also find other popular produce Kochi is known for such as sweet tomatoes and all types of ginger. Japanese favorites like udon noodles or more local dishes like inakazushi (all veggie sushi) are also up for grabs.

Sample Kochi’s famous dish, katsuo tataki, which is lightly seared skipjack tuna fish.

Looking for some bona fide non-touristy souvenirs? Browse hundreds of Japanese high-quality knives, one-of-a-kind jewelry and other crafts from local artists or pick up some artisan tea made from Kochi herbs and plants. Don’t forget to take back some rare tanuki (raccoon dog) oil, which is Kochi’s answer to the popular product “tiger balm.”

Katsuo toro sashimi is often eaten with raw garlic. A plate of sashimi typically costs around ¥450.

Photo by: Victoria Vlisides Katsuo toro sashimi is often eaten with raw garlic. A plate of sashimi typically costs around ¥450.

After you’ve had your fill of shopping, drop into the nearby Hirome Market, which more than satisfies the craving for beer, sake and extremely fresh sushi day or night. A bustling fish market with colorful food stalls and restaurants, you watch in awe as your meal gets flame-kissed in front of your eyes. Of course, this is Kochi’s famous dish, katsuo tataki, which is lightly seared skipjack tuna which is hand-roasted over straw to keep with tradition and for a flavorful smoky taste.

You can try even more seafood as sashimi lines the fish market area with all types of maguro (tuna), uni (sea urchin) and even kujira (whale). As it is totally OK to share tables with other people, this is your chance to make memories while chatting up the locals.

Katsuo Tataki is the No. 1 dish you have to try while in Kochi.

Photo by: Victoria Vlisides Katsuo Tataki is the No. 1 dish you have to try while in Kochi.

Japan’s more famous markets in Tokyo and Kyoto are packed with tourists, yet the less-crowded Kochi Sunday Market remains a vital snapshot of what life is like for Japanese locals who are living off the land. After picking up on these resilient Kochi vibes, you’ll leave refreshed for your next adventure.

This article was sponsored by the Kochi Prefectural Government.

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Things To Know

Sunday Market

The Sunday Market is each Sunday from 5 a.m. to 6 p.m. April to September and 5:30 a.m. to 6 p.m. from October to March. It stretches from Ekimae Densha Street to Kochi-jo (Castle) Street.

Hirome Market

This market is located along Obiyamachi shotengai (covered shopping street) which is next to the Sunday Market. Hirome Market opens at 8 a.m. on weekdays, Saturday and public holidays and 7 a.m. on Sundays. It closes at 11 p.m. Feel free to share tables with other people and to leave your plates when you’re done — they’ll be picked up by the staff.

How To Get There

Address

Japan, 〒780-0842 Kōchi-ken, Kōchi-shi, Ōtesuji, 1 Chome−10−9 鰹人

By train

The market is most easily accessed from Kochi station by the Shikoku Railway’s Dosan line. It is about a 10 to 15-minute walk from Kochi station.

You can also take the streetcar. From Kochieki-mae station (just outside JR Kochi station), take the Tosaden Sambashi Line streetcar for two minutes to Hasuikemachidori station. From there, walk about six minutes west to the start of the market (map).

Where To Stay

Dormy Inn Kochi
  • Obiya-cho 1-9-12 Kochi-Shi, Kochi 780-0841
  • 8.8/10
  • 0.1 km
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Richmond Hotel Kochi
  • Obiyamachi 1-9-4 Kochi-Shi, Kochi 780-0841
  • 8.6/10
  • 0.2 km
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Bright Park Hotel
  • Outesuji 1-5-13 Kochi-Shi, Kochi 780-0842
  • 8/10
  • 0.2 km
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Kochi Sunrise Hotel
  • Honmachi 2-2-31 Kochi-Shi, Kochi 780-0870
  • 7.4/10
  • 0.3 km
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