Between Karasuma Street and Kawaramachi Street lies the famous Nishiki Market Street in downtown Kyoto, where a feast for all the senses awaits. This Market is known historically as it preserves traditions and is famous for its infinite choice of foods and goods.
Kyoto is a wonderful place to experience Japan, where the old and the new meet and mix in a very unique way. People come from all over the world to see ‘traditional Japan’. Visitors with this goal in mind should definitely make some time for Nishiki Market in between stops at Kyoto’s many temples and shrines. For those new to Japan, it’s the perfect place to see, smell, and most importantly, taste some of the wares Japan has to offer. Lined from end to end with stores selling a range of traditional goods, there is always something to attract the eye and spark interest.
From pickles, to Matcha, to Mochi, to fish and seafood in various forms (including some things on sticks you may never have considered eating before, but which people were enjoying with great relish) the market street houses many of Japan’s weird and wonderful foods. Many places have samples and tasters displayed for those wishing to try before they buy.
Souvenirs, or omiyage, are not difficult to find in Kyoto, and Nishiki Market is no exception. You can come across little jars of tiny Conpeito candy, beautiful fabric hanging mobiles, confectionary bento boxes, or those food replica phone charms shaped like sushi, fried egg, or steak, which you never knew you needed.
There’s all kinds of cuteness to be found, like these tiny Geishas. The store also had characters from Japanese folktales, such as Kaguya-hime.
The Market is also populated with local residents and Japanese tourists, proving that, even for those more familiar with Japan, it is no less a delightful place to wander and shop.
If you’re heading to the Gion area of Kyoto, why not go via this historic market street and see what you can discover? The west entrance is just a short walk away from Shijo station on the Karasuma subway line. Head back down to the parallel Shijo street once you reach the shopping arcade at the eastern end of Nishiki Market Street, and you can snap some pictures of Pontocho Alley on your way to Shijo Bridge, which takes you across the Kamo River to Gion.