Omicho Market: A Culinary Treasure Trove in Kanazawa
Omicho Ichiba is Kanazawa's lively food market that is worth visiting!
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Kanazawa, the seaside capital city of Ishikawa prefecture is, unsurprisingly, well known for its bounty of incredibly fresh and delicious seafood. To sample some of Kanazawa's exquisite local specialties, a must visit when venturing to the lovely coastal city is famed Omicho Market (or, Omicho Ichiba in Japanese). Dating back almost 300 years from its inception in the Edo-era, this fresh food market (also known as the "Kitchen of Kanazawa") can be found in downtown Kanazawa—and is conveniently located within walking distance to the beautiful Kenrokuen Garden, the well preserved Higashi Chaya district, and Kanazawa Station.
More Than Just a World-Class Seafood Market
Simply referred to as "Omicho" by locals, the modern iteration of the market contains a wide variety of local fresh food and wares, including favorites such as Kanazawa's famed crabs, Nodoguro (Blackthroat Seaperch), an abundance of fresh produce and flowers, snacks and confectioneries, and a multitude of other goods. On any given day you can find the market bustling with residents and tourists alike, and many ingredients used in local restaurants are sourced from here daily. Given the market is located within a pedestrian zone blocked off from road traffic, it's the perfect place to enjoy strolling, eating, and shopping during your time in Kanazawa.
With the abundance of Kanazawa's fresh ingredients, Omicho Market is the perfect place to sample local specialties, as well as Japan's varietal trove of classics such as kaimono (shellfish), clams, fish, ebi (shrimp), uni (sea urchin), ika (squid), tako (octopus), and fish roe. If you're a seafood fan, the incredible assortment of colors, shells, and scales found in the market will be sure to make your mouth water. As many do, should you desire to pop into a nearby restaurant making use of the local ingredients on offer, please be sure to check out some of our favorites below.
Restaurant Spotlight #1 Seafood 丼HIKARI House (Seafood 丼ひかりや)
On a recent trip to the area, we first visited "Seafood 丼HIKARI House," which presented a unique and innovative take on a classic seafood donburi (rice bowl). Here you can enjoy a wide variety of signature toppings (including an attention-grabbing donburi stacked high with oysters!), varying in selection and price depending on what is in season when you visit. In addition to the variety of toppings on offer, the shop provides a range of specialty sauces and unique ways to enjoy your meal. One such recommended technique we tried is after first eating two-thirds of your rice bowl using the shop's specialty sauce, the staff will bring out a flask of hot tea to mix with the rest of your dish. The effect was unexpectedly delicious, creating a warm, soupy concoction of tea and rice that went down really smoothly, providing an excellent way to finish the meal!
Restaurant Spotlight # 2 MORIMORI Sushi (もりもり寿司)
When it comes to enjoying seafood in Japan, one can rarely go wrong with sushi and sashimi. To sample some of the good stuff, we stopped at a popular sushi chain in the region by the name of "MORIMORI Sushi." The location we visited is conveniently located within Omicho Market, and has undoubtedly become one of the more popular shops in the area. Given the incredible variety of fresh seafood on offer nearby, it was no surprise that the quality of fish, shellfish, and shrimp was top notch. Adding to the flavor, one can also not help but notice the ubiquitous Japanese cuteness factor built into the shop with their teacups, sushi plates, and the occasional miniature shinkansen (bullet train) which brings your selections right to your table!
Planning Your Visit to Oimachi Market
If you're a fan of markets and fresh seafood, then Kanazawa's Omicho Market should be at the top of your list when visiting the coastal capital city. As always, we suggest doing a bit of research before your trip, as there are around 200 excellent shops and stalls to peruse when visiting. Market operating hours are typically between 9:00 am to 5:00 pm, though individual stall openings may vary, especially on Sundays and national holidays. (Additionally—as is commonly found throughout Japan—you may find some shops designate Wednesdays as an off-day.) To get the latest up to date information on the market's operations, please refer to the market's website here. Enjoy your time in Omicho Market, and be sure to check out some of our other articles detailing other incredible ways to spend your time in Kanazawa!