Friday, March 07, 2014

Kyoto's Kitchen in Nishiki Market

Kyoto bound from Osaka.  And it's so easy by train.  Depending on the train you take, the ride from Osaka station to Kyoto Station can range from 20-45 minutes.

In planning the day trip to Kyoto, temples and shrines were naturally on the itinerary as this is the city to take in the sights and nature's beauty.  When the day arrived, it was soo cold.  We decided to focus on our main purpose, the food market.  The other sights in Kyoto will have to wait for our next visit.

The Nishiki Market is a five block long shopping street filled with over a hundred shops and restaurants.  It's known as "Kyoto's Kitchen," as the shops specialize in everything food related.  Generations of families have been running these shops since it first opened in 1310 when it started as a fish wholesale district.  Today, they sell fresh seafood, produce, snacks, kitchenware, and all these local specialities.  It's a place for locals to shop for their meals, and for tourists to taken in the local foods and atmosphere.

The market is almost ridiculously crowded with people.  There were a number of times when I felt like a was floating in a sea of people who were crammed to every inch of my body.  But as crowded as it was, it was almost...pleasant.  Strange, right?  But I think that's just Japan for you.  The people aren't as rude, they don't smell..and maybe the cold air helped to filter out the potential grossness from the crowds.  In any case, this is definitely a market to check out if you have interest in local culture and food.

The start of Nishiki Market

Fresh and prepared seafood

Local crafts for food

Kawai vendors

Whole fried fish

Fresh miso paste

Tamago freshly cooked and rolled

Endless crowds down the walkway

5 blocks of this scene

Fresh eggs

Friendly vendors for locals and tourists alike

Sesame vendor

Black sesame treats

With black sesame paste inside

Chestnuts and HUGE cabbage

Roasting chestnuts

Partially peeled, and fuzzy

Local knives

Something for everyone

Perpendicular street with more shops

Shops, restaurants, and shrines

A closer look at the shrine

Endless crowds and shops

The famous Katsukura in its hometown

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