Kanazawa’s Omicho Market

Visiting Omicho Market was definitely one of the highlights of Kanazawa. The market is a warren of narrow covered alleys lined with up to 200 stores. Judy and I love markets generally, and this is a good one. We went there every day during our time there.

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There are lots of entrances to Omicho, this one opens out to one of the back streets.

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I’ve never seen signs encouraging polite behavior at an American shopping mall. In our experience, Japanese people tend to very courteous with or without signs.

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You can find all kinds of stuff at Omicho Market, but there is a special emphasis on seafood, most of it coming out of the nearby Sea of Japan.

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Since the fish is fresh and the area is kept very clean, I found the fish smell rather pleasant.

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Most of the seafood is carefully packaged, but some is displayed in baskets of various sizes.

 

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There are lots of big crabs for sale.

 

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Sometimes you feel like octopus, but you don’t want a whole octopus, know what I mean? Well, Omicho Market has you covered with Octopus By The Arm (TM).

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Omicho Market also has restaurants and stalls selling cooked food, and this was our favorite. More specifically, it had the best fried oysters that Judy or I had ever tasted, juicy and sweet. The number of times we visited this counter must be kept classified due to national security concerns.

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There were also stalls selling freshly shucked raw oysters, something we had never eaten before.  I think those are sea urchins toward the front.

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And it turns out we won’t be trying raw oysters again any time soon.

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There’s more than just seafood at Omichi Market. Among other things, there were stalls selling fresh fruit, which tends to be pretty expensive in Japan. Judy loved the sweet, giant grapes. I was crazy about the fresh green and purple figs, which are kind of hard to find in Chicago (we do have “fresh” figs but usually they are not really fresh).  Whenever we were at Omichi, we would buy some fruit to take back to our hotel.

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The mushrooms displays were also quite interesting, though we didn’t buy any.

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Markets are usually more fun than museums, and they may be more informative about everyday life in the country you are visiting.

That’s all for now.

29 Comments on “Kanazawa’s Omicho Market

  1. I enjoyed this look at the market. I love fried oysters, but have never ever ever been tempted to try a raw one.

  2. Two additional bits of info: the yen was right around 100 to the dollar, so add two decimal places to those prices to get US$. Yes, those crabs were $80. And the small bunches of grapes were $6 (and we saw plenty of grapes that were much pricier). The grapes were amazing, so much tastier than most US supermarket grapes. I am sad right now not to have some. PS It is possible that fried oysters were eaten for breakfast at least once, but you didn’t hear it from me.

  3. I agree about markets; we love visiting them too. Fresh fish should smell of the sea not of fish so sounds like the fish you saw were really fresh!

  4. What fun. How interesting to see everything displayed so neatly.

  5. Looks wonderful! I would have been visiting frequently, too, had I been there. Why is the fruit so expensive, I wonder? Imported?

    • I am not sure why fruit is so expensive, but it wasn’t just at this market. It all seems to be very high quality, so that might be part of it. At one grocery, we saw huge, single boxed grapes for $5 apiece (almost size of a walnut, maybe). We laughed, because who would buy that? But now I wish I had tried one to see how they were. At Narita Airport, leaving Japan, I somehow qualified for us to use the United Club, where there was a nice spread of food. It was all self-service, including sushi and hard liquor, etc., but the fresh fruit was in little tiny paper cups to discourage you taking much. So funny, because I suspect it would have been the opposite in the US – a big self-serve bowl of fruit salad, but ask the bartender to pour liquor.

      • Thanks so much for taking the time to respond to my question. Different customs in different countries, that’s for sure.

    • I don’t think that it’s imported. Not entirely sure why it’s so expensive but I somehow got the idea that the have a very protected agricultural sector with lots of farms and that tend to make prices high. But it’s possible I just made that up.

  6. I love markets too, they show so much of the real life of the country…interesting that the crabs were $80.00 US…..and fruit also being so expensive.
    One of our daughters visited Japan and was very impressed with how courteous and respectful Japanese people are, and how much they pay attention to details. She wondered how Japanese tourists cope with the casual Australian way of doing things when they visit Australia!

  7. Thanks for the market tour, we love them too and yes you can understand much about the culture and country when visiting them. Sorry, had to laugh about the shucked oysters. More for us.

  8. Being something of a hobbit I would have been there each day buying those delicious looking mushrooms, I can’t get enough of the things!xxx

  9. Thank you for the picture of the cooked foods. I saw some fried food on the second shelf that was a favorite food of mine when I lived in Japan! We had a special “bulldog” sauce we put on the fried potatoes that brings back wonderful memories.

  10. You’re right Jason, sometimes markets can show better the life in the country than any museum. I love visiting markets as well, and realize that I didn’t eat food I saw there. Judy’s photos are pretty, some meal looks tasty as crabs and cooked sea food.

  11. Street food is one of the highlights and being Japan, I can imagine some of the market displays cross over into being pieces of art.

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