Kyoto’s Kitchen—thriving for 400 years.
Nishiki Market today differs from its origins as an open-air fish market 400 years ago.
Nishiki Market has an astonishing 130 vendors packed into a narrow passageway approximately 400 meters long and 3.9 meters wide. It continues to thrive, attracting not only visitors but Kyoto locals too.
How to Get There
Nishiki Market is easily accessible from Kyoto Station by subway or bus.
The market is a historical arcade on Nishikikoji Street, just north of Shijo Street and running parallel to it. From Kyoto Station, you can take the Karasuma subway line to Shijo Station and enter the market from the west side of Takakura Street.
You will come out at the east side of the market to Teramachi Street—a popular shopping arcade running north-south.
Opening Hours and Fees
Opening hours vary from store to store, but most are open between 9 am and 6 pm. Some shops may open earlier or remain open later. As small, family-run businesses, many shops are closed one or more days each week, typically on Sunday or Wednesday. There is no admission fee to enter Nishiki Market.
Food: What to Eat in Nishiki Market
One of the best ways to explore the market is by taste — and there are plenty of opportunities to do so. Some snacks you might recognize, while others might be new to you.
Either way, there’s enough here for a feast. Although Japan traditionally looks down on eating in the street, there are exceptions (and this is one of them). Some shops also have small seating areas where you can take a break.
Spoiled for choice? Here’s some of the best food to try at Nishiki Market.
A tiny baby octopus with a quail’s egg inside its head. This little skewered treat is candied, making it a combination of salty and sweet.
Mochi in many forms
Mochi is a sweet you’ll have seen across Japan at supermarkets and street stalls. The mochi sticky rice cake comes in many forms, all of which should be tried.
Much like tofu, if you’ve had one type of mochi you didn’t like, don’t let it put you off. Sweet, soft mochi dusted with kinako powder (toasted soybean flour) has a peanut-like flavor, whereas the chewy dango (mochi balls on a stick) are often dipped in a sweet/salty soy-sauce glaze. If it’s pink and in a leaf, you’re looking at sakura mochi; if it’s white, it’s Kashiwa mochi, filled with red bean paste and wrapped in an oak leaf (don’t eat the leaf). Try one, try all, and find your favorite.
Goma dango (sesame dumplings)
Small, chewy, sesame seed-covered mochi balls in an assortment of flavors, from sweet to savory (and with cheese options, too). They’re originally from China, where they’re called jiānduī. Black sesame is incredibly delicious, but pick and choose, they’re all well worth a try!
Satsuma age (fish cakes)
Fish cakes are a traditional snack here in Japan and across Asia. They’re made from fish paste mixed with flour, then deep fried. You can try various styles and fillings, from cheese to mochi, and get a feel for your favorite.
Fresh grapefruit juice
After all this food, especially in summer, you’ll need a drink. This is where freshly pulped fruit juice comes in and beats out anything you could get from a vending machine. You’ll see a mountain of grapefruits at one of the small stalls near Nishiki Shrine — have one pulped, juiced, and served with a straw.
Not Japanese, authentic, but delicious nonetheless. You can try a few freshly made dumplings to fill you with traditional meat fillings. Just a warning: many contain pork, so if that’s off the table for you, check in advance.
Senbei – rice crackers with different seasonings and always delicious. You can choose soy sauce, sweet plum sugar, miso, or plain salt. Made for street-eating, nothing beats a freshly made senbei.