Walk and Eat Tour of Kyoto: 4 Delicious Shops to Visit in Nishiki Ichiba Market
“Nishiki Ichiba (Market)” is located at Nishiki-koji Street, and it is called as “Kyoto’s Kitchen”. Many local residents use this market every day in addition to the tourists, and it is a shopping district that is closely tailored to the lives of Kyoto residents. Specialty stores line up offering tsukemono pickled vegetables, tsukudani food boiled with soy sauce, fresh fruits, dried foods, fish and shellfish, or meat. And in recent years more and more stores have started preparing food you can enjoy while walking.
This time we would like to introduce stores that this author, a 10-year Kyoto resident, can vouch for the fabulous taste. If you are hungry and reading this article, be prepared!
Fluffy and Springy Texture! Nerimono at “Hokyu-an”
“Hokyu-an” is located in the center of the Nishiki Ichiba, and this store specializes in nerimono (steamed paste made from various ingredients). Steamed in a large “seiro” steamer and skewed on a stick, they are perfect for eating on a stroll.
Any one of them is delicious, but I recommend “Jaga-bataa (potato with butter)”. By adding the process of steaming, the paste increases its springy texture, leaving gentle and rustic, but unforgettable feeling after eating. When you make an order, they will give you a freshly steamed one to your delight.
There are seats available next to the store, thus it’s a great idea to enjoy it with a beverage. It’s perfect to take a break here so you can study and plan your travel route further on.
Summer Isn’t the Only Season to Enjoy It! Tempura at Conger Eel Specialty Shop
Conger eel is such a popular food in Kyoto that speaking of Kyoto, conger eel comes to many Japanese people’s minds. This leading dish among “Kyoto cuisine people love in summer” is parboiled conger eel with plum sauce. But apparently, the season that the fish grows and fattens up is from autumn to winter.
“Uoriki” is a famous store and it often appears in various media. This store sells conger eel kabayaki (split and broiled) that you can eat at home, and tempura or cutlet on skewers. When you order, they will sprinkle salt on fillet of conger eel right on the spot and start grilling it over charcoal. It is delicious with a fantastic toasty aroma!
Conger eels in summer are light-tasting and refreshing to eat. But the same fish in autumn and winter are sweet with fat and so rich that even one skewer is quite satisfying. The store offers other fish in addition to conger eels, primarily fish with white-colored meat such as sea breams, so please try various kinds. The store staffs are all friendly and you might get into a lively conversation without knowing.
An Adorable “Snoopy Chaya” Has Just Opened!
“Snoopy Chaya” has just opened on August 31, 2016. It is an adorable café made from a renovated traditional townhouse, leaving authentic Japanese atmosphere. You can eat in or take out cute sweets, smoothies, or ice cream. A large Snoopy welcomes you at the entrance.
The café offers a wide variety of sweets, and I am sure you can find a wonderful gift or souvenir. They are all designed to present a taste of Kyoto both in the package as well as in flavor, and they won’t fail to make people happy in many countries abroad!
Tables for eat-in guests are available on the second floor, and you can enjoy interesting food that uses plenty of local ingredients in Kyoto.
But the store is packed with many people on weekends and holidays, even forming a long line of people waiting at times. I heard the best time to visit is in the morning on week days.
This Is Perfect for Sake. Dried Delicacy Store for the Mature Palate
This is “Sankyo Suisan” dedicated to dried food. The shop is particularly well stocked with delicacies, and you can buy plenty of souvenirs that sake lovers will die for.
I recommend this “yaki-ebi (grilled shrimp)”. This is made by slicing open shrimp and drying it as is, and it has no unpleasant smell of shrimp at all! It is packed with delicious essence of shrimp only, and once you start eating it, you eat one and then another, you cannot stop eating it. You will end up popping them into your mouth so many that you might wonder just how many shrimp you have just eaten. I have repeated this many times, telling myself an excuse that this is healthier than potato chips and other snacks. (But it is 100% made of shrimp, thus if you are watching out for cholesterol, you may have to be careful.)
When you broil it lightly in a toaster oven, it is incredibly delicious that you cannot stop drinking beer. This is the best souvenir for those who enjoy alcohol.
Treasure Hunting in Lively Kyoto Nishiki Ichiba
Nishiki Ichiba has a lot more attractive products and eateries. In addition to the stores and food I recommended this time, I am sure you can find fantastic “treasures” if you walk in the market yourself. Though stores have long histories, they are open to new challenges day after day. No matter how many times you visit, you can find pleasure and delicious experience in Nishiki Ichiba. It is indeed the kitchen of Kyoto.
It is no exaggeration that this is the only shopping district that allows you to experience Kyoto’s food culture with the eyes, body and mouth all at once. When you visit Kyoto for the fall foliage, please don’t forget stopping by at Nishiki Ichiba. Nishiki Ichiba Market: Map