Sunday Market in Kochi: Castle Town Market with a History of Over 300 Years
The road leading eastward from Kochi Castle is lined by over 400 street stalls every Sunday. The market made up by these stalls is called “Nichiyo Ichi (Sunday Market)” and here you can buy all kinds of things.
Among what you can get here are vegetables grown with abundant sunlight of Kochi, hand-made local specialty sushi (inaka zushi), carefully and elaborately made rice cakes, skillfully home-made pickles and dried fishes, flowers, seasonal fruits, Tosa cutlery, antiques, good looking sweets and breads, juice and old style ice cream called “aisukurin” which can rarely be found anywhere else but in Kochi. You will never get bored even just taking a look around the variety of things offered at the market.
With such a great variety of things to catch your attention, you would naturally feel like stopping by here and there and asking questions about things displayed at each stall.
“What is this?” “How do I east that?”
The market is filled with lively voices of conversations.
The origin of this street market is said to date back to 1690 in the Edo Period, when the local feudal lord of the Tosa Clan authorized the opening of a market on a designated date and location. Then since around 1876 the 9th year of the Meiji Period, the market has been held regularly on Sunday at Honsuji-machi (present “Densha Dori” Avenue).
The two lanes on one side of a road is made into a pedestrian walkway, which stretches for about 1.3 kilometers from Nichiyoichi 1 chome in the east part, past 6 chome near the castle, and stretches southward as far as to 7 chome. The market has long supported the livelihood of the locals for over 300 years and is today known as Japan’s oldest and largest markets among the ones you can find in other local cities of about the same size (population of about 300 thousand).
You will surely be able to come across many things as you walk around the market. The experience will be all the more exciting especially if you are from outside Japan.
For those among you who have become interested and may actually consider visiting the market, let us show you another place of interest in the vicinity.
Within just a short distance from the market, there is a bridge named “Harimaya Bashi,” which is featured in a famous Japanese folk song, “Yosakoibushi.” The bridge is said to have been constructed by two influential merchant families, respectively named Sotoku Harimaya and Dosei Hitsuya, for the convenience of traffic between one another. The original bridge was made of wood but has been rebuilt with granite. Make sure to extend your trip here as well.
It is a beautiful vermilion red colored arched bridge, the shape of which is commonly categorized as “Taikobashi (drum bridge)” in Japan for the drum-like semi-circle shape of the arches. Information: Map