The Japanese marketplace is one of the many things that struck me about Japan when I went there more than three years ago. Whether it was a big wholesale fish market or a neighborhood market it was always so clean!
In Tsukiji Fish Market in Tokyo, though the vendors were hauling and cleaning and slicing kilos and kilos of seafood, the place was spotless; sure, the floor was wet, but it didn’t reek of that pungent fish market smell. It was more of a subtle saltwater smell from the fresh catch. While busy, it was also relatively (and surprisingly) quiet compared to our bustling marketplaces here (which have their own kind of charm as well). In Tsukiji, what you mostly hear are the hum of motorized carts and forklifts. The workers, vendors and buyers are all going about their business, while us pesky tourists try to stay out of their way.
Nishiki Market in Kyoto was no different. It’s also clean in the entire stretch of the 400-meter long marketplace. While not a sprawling marketplace like Tsukiji, it has served as the ‘Kitchen of Kyoto’ for centuries and comes to life with both locals and tourists in less hushed tones, but still a generally reserved atmosphere.
Of all the things P saw in his short trip to Kanazawa, its marketplace is probably one of the places I would have loved to see. With over 200 stalls and almost 300 years old, I imagine Omicho Market to be like Nishiki (though I’m told it’s more like a maze than a long corridor of food stalls). Also, since Kanazawa is located on the coast of the Sea of Japan, Omicho Market, has a lot of stalls selling fish and other seafood. And where there is a fresh seafood market, there are sushi-ya. Some baskets of fresh seafood has “Eat Me!” signs–obviously targeting tourists who visit. Like Nishiki and Tsukiji, P says Omicho was very clean, busy but subdued. And the food. Oh the food. For now, let’s just imagine we’re wandering through this Japanese marketplace, finding some mouthwatering food.
According to japan-guide.com, Omicho Market is a 15 to 20 minute walk or a short bus ride from Kanazawa Station on the way to the city center and you need to get off at Musashigatsuji bus stop.