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Kyoto’s Nishiki Market – The Fish

During our week in Kyoto we went to the Nishiki Market every day. I've shared about the incredible vegetables and the delicious tamago both of which I ate plenty of while grazing my way through this food center in Kyoto. Another principal food item is the fish which is abundant.

Photo credit: Mr. Misadventures

Unlike Tokyo and the Tsukiji Fish Market, most of the fish here comes from the rivers around Kyoto. That is not to say that they don't have seafood they do, but there is more of the local, seasonal items, which is why I love this region of Japan so much, they celebrate the abundance that is available to them.

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Photo credit: Mr Misadventures

There are a lot of different techniques for ensuring that seasonal items last several month, such as smoking or curing. A lot of the fish are dried with marinates and I love snacking on them like chips!

Photo credit: Mr. Misadventures

Like these tiny dried shrimp or the eel in the photo above that. A lot of the fish I had never seen before (in my opinion that is a good thing, hyper-local to the area, what is the global footprint if they start shipping them everywhere in the world?).

Something in the anchovy family? These tasted delicious with something like teriyaki seasoning on them.

Photo credit: Mr. Misadventures

Salmon that went perfectly with a dried rice cake.

Photo credit: Mr. Misadventures

Lots of fish on sticks are perfect for snacking, which is exactly what I did! Every day!

Photo credit: Mr. Misadventures

How about bonito flakes? Do you ever eat them on rice? So delicious. Also, my vet says if you have an overweight cat (like Jessica) these are a great snack for them! I always get them “already flasked” in a bag, they look like this:

Photo credit: Mr. Misadventures

Or a little smaller in size. But I had never seen how they actually start, which is as a dried fish that looks like this:

Photo credit: Mr. Misadventures

Of course, some things I avoided, like shirako, whale sperm, which I already tried once in Tokyo and have no intention of trying again (I didn't like the taste!). My hubby didn't get a good picture of it, it is the pinky stuff on the far right corner of this photo.

Photo credit: Mr. Misadventures

I would love to have a market as large as this available to me on a daily basis. I have already spoiled with great farmers' markets all around and a small Japanese fish market in Berkeley, but I dream of having this one in my own backyard!

How about you? Fan of fish? Got any fish tales you want to share?

Author Bio: Andi Fisher

Yes, I am a francophile, but after that, I love Japan, especially the food! I have been to Tokyo many times, and spent 2 weeks in Kyoto and a week in Osaka exploring and eating!

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  1. Yum! The seafood foodie in me is truly! Looks so fresh and delicious!

    1. Andi Fisher says:

      @Shane, no lack of great fish, that is why the Japanese live so long!

  2. Dorothy Boucher says:

    i am a very picky eater and from the look of some of the food, maybe more so because i am just used to shopping and making my food at home, i don’t buy open food, if its not sealed to protect me i don’t buy it, but a lot of the food your showing here , ya i would probably starve to death…. i am still trying to figure out what that is in the first picture, one looks like eyeballs in a shell and the other something red with bubble… i am not being mean or anything i really don’t know…. thanks for share @tisonlyme143

    1. Andi Fisher says:

      @Dorothy, no worries I get it, the way we were raised in the US we aren’t used to open air food, but that is how we used to do it to from farmer’s etc. It does take a leap of faith. The red bubbles are fish eggs, the thing that looks like eyeballs is a mollusk like a clam.

  3. What beautiful pictures. Whale sperm? Wow. I don’t think I would try that even if I ate meat. I did try shark once…It didn’t have a whole lot of flavor and was Mako (ate this when I wasn’t vegetarian of course).

    1. Andi Fisher says:

      @Shannon, it was not that great (in my opinion) so definitely won’t be doing that again. What part of the shark? Like a steak?

  4. Beautiful photographs and very interesting!

  5. KAREN DEGRAAF says:


  6. Great photos of the seafood. Not sure I would try it though. Picky palate.

  7. I love fish and I can never get enough sushi!

  8. Your photos just killed me 🙂 As an Asian living in a western world, I miss these foods a lot. I’m not from Japan but I always wish some day I could visit and taste the genuine sushi made from their genuinely fresh fish 🙂 Your blog is awesome!

  9. this fish looks very good