Hungry for Fish? Local Fish Markets Across Japan

May 1st, 2009 | By | Category: Food, Shopping

Shiogama Wholesale Fish Market Miyagi Japan There are over 900 local fish markets around Japan and most of these local markets are much more relaxed when compared to the center of the fish universe in Tokyo at the Tsukiji Wholesale Fish Market. For one thing, the scale of the markets don’t compare to Tsukiji and you don’t have to be worried about your safety because there are no little vehicles coming out of nowhere and going through the tiniest alleys that just one person can barely pass through, let alone you and a small forklift.

Japan’s local fish market vendors also have more time to chat with customers. Some markets even offer more than just sushi: how about oysters on the shell to try right on the spot,  little food stalls where they offer rice and soup to enjoy with tuna or uni you’ve just purchased in the market, or a fish store offering fresh squid sashimi that comes right out of the tank?

So, if you visit a new town in Japan, ask if there’s any local fish market open to public.

Here are just a few of the local fish markets that you might consider visiting on your travels through Japan:

Shiogama Wholesale Fish Market

Located in Shiogama, Miyagi Prefecturem the Shiogama Wholesale Fish Market is approximately 30 minutes by train from Sendai in Japan’s Tohoku Region.

This market is open to both professionals and the public. If you are traveling, it is best to go after 9:00 am when the real business is over. You will see fresh honmaguro tuna from Oma, anago eels, and lots of items in season such as hoya or sea squirt, noresore or baby anago, oysters, sea urchin and more. Just like Tsukiji, you can watch the guys with a big knife performing a tuna cutting ritual.
Shiogama Wholesale Fish Market Miyagi JapanThere is a tiny restaurant in the corner of the market where they offer rice and miso soup for around 300 yen. You can enjoy whatever you purchased in the market with the set. Make your own big uni don or kaisen donburi!

Hours: 3:00 am 1:00 pm Sundays 6:00 am to 2:00 pm

Location: 1-20-74 Shinhama Cho, Shiogama, Miyagi

Access: 15 minutes walk from the JR Shiogama station or 5 minutes by taxi

See more images from the Shiogama Fish Market on Flickr.

Nakaminato Fish Market

Nakaminato Fish Market Mito JapanThe Nakaminato Fish Market in Nakaminato, Ibaraki is approximately 30 minutes by JR and local train from Mito, Ibaraki in the Kanto region of Japan.

This market beats Tokyo Disneyland! It is a giant seafood amusement park where you find everything related to seafood and where everyone at all ages can have fun.

The train ride to Nakaminato is something not to miss. Picture a single car old train railing along the rice paddies without any homes in site. When you arrive at this gigantic market by the sea, you will find all kinds of places and things to eat with one specific category – all seafood. You will find lots of sushi and seafood restaurants to choose from after shopping for fish, but stalls in the market offers shucked oysters on the spot, uni lump with soy flavor BBQed on the shell or BBQ shrimps. They even have a DIY BBQ grill in the middle of the crowded market. In addition to fresh seafood, you spot all kinds of dried fish being made – including the whole process from the cleaning part, dipping in sauce part, skewering, or the final drying part. Finally, you find all kinds of seafood such as fish famous as winter delicacy, anko, big local clams, and crabs.

Hours: 7:00 am to 5:00 pm

Location: 21 Minato Motomachi, Hitachinaka, Ibaraki

Access: From JR Katsuda, take a single car local train, Hitachi-Naka Kaihin Tetsudo that runs twice an hour to Nakaminato Station. About 10 minutes walk from the train station.

See more images of the Nakaminato Fish Market on Flickr.

Fish Market & Auction in Kochi

Kochi Fish Market Japan The Local fish market auction in Kami-no-kae, Kochi is in the middle of nowhere in Kochi between Kochi City and Shimanto Nakamura in Japan’s Shikoku Region.

Participate in the program offered by Kami-no-kae Fishing Co-op where you can learn from the local fishermen how to tie ropes, fish using rock weights tied to the rope, and row an old style fishing boat. See how you can sign up for such experience.  In the afternoon, watch local guys bring in the fish and auction it off to a dozen local restaurants and shops in matter of 10 minutes (a short fish market video taken in Nakatosa, Kochi).

This is one extreme of a local fish market, but in the same area, there is a very nice fish market where you can stroll and have something to eat. It is called Taisho Ichiba and the whole market feels like it has stepped back in time to the Showa period (1926–1989).

Taisho Ichiba

Hours: noon to dusk

Location: 6382, Kure, Nakatosa Cho, Takaoka, Kochi

Access: 10 minutes walk from the JR Tosa Kure station

See more images of Taisho Ichiba at Sushiboy555’s photo set on Flickr.

Other Fish Markets in Japan on Tokyofoodcast

Wajima Morning Market in Ishikawa

Take some time to get our and explore some of Japan’s local fish markets and stop by and visit me at Tokyofoodcast to follow my foodie adventures in Japan and learn more about Japanese food and food culture.

Images used with permission of Tokyofoodcast

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