Chow down on fresh fish at one of Japan’s liveliest seafood markets, packed with plenty of restaurants.
In operation since the mid-1700s and boasting more than 180 shops today, the Omicho Market is one of Japan’s most energetic fresh food markets. Vendors noisily shout out their special offers to local shoppers buying supplies for their kitchens and they are always ready to let you taste samples of their wares.
The historic city of Kanazawa, where you’ll find this awesome market, offers a great mix of traditional Japanese culture, modern facilities, and stunningly beautiful landscapes. From the Northern Japanese Alps to the Sea of Japan coast to the rolling hills of the Noto Peninsula stretching out north of the city, there’s plenty to see.
The Omicho Market brings all these different features of Ishikawa Prefecture right to your plate in the heart of Kanazawa.
Walking around the market
Kanazawa has traditionally been a wealthy city blessed with a rich environment. Hungry locals demand the best of the fish from the Sea of Japan, beef from the nearby Noto Peninsula, and fruits and vegetables grown near the city.
There are no bad choices here, but the plethora of seafood available is really top-notch. Take your pick from squid, octopus, ikura (salmon roe), and even fresh iwagaki (rock oysters) and uni (sea urchins) that you can eat right on the spot.
The most famous product of the market is the zuwaigani (snow crab) which is in season during November and December. Fishermen take the crabs from the sea just off the coast of Ishikawa and deliver them straight to the market. During this season, Omicho becomes the center of Japan’s snow crab trade. Buy it here, fresh.
If you are especially intrigued with a crab or any of the other seafood on offer but have no access to cooking facilities on your trip, just have the merchant ship it in an icebox to your address or that of a friend’s anywhere in Japan.
Omicho Market restaurants
Now that you’ve gawked at all the mouth-watering seafood for sale, are you ready to eat? The market has plenty of restaurants of all kinds from market booths with just a few benches outside to upscale eateries.
Most of them specialize in seafood, of course! The restaurants typically feature photos of the dishes on offer outside, spelling out the prices right next to them so it should be easy to take your pick.
Take a look around and decide what best appeals to your stomach and your wallet. No Japanese? Check out this English shop and restaurant map from Omicho Market’s official website! Or just order by pointing at the pictures.
Kaisendon, a variety of raw seafood on rice, is the most popular dish at Omicho Market and for good reason. We’re drooling just thinking about it.
If you’re not feeling that, you can go with just one particular seafood over rice. We recommend kani-don (crab on rice), ikura-don (salmon roe on rice) or uni-don (sea urchin on rice). Enjoy.
There’s more to Japanese food than just fish! Have your sushi and eat it too with our famous food in Japan series.