Markets are one of the best places to experience the local way of life, and Omicho in Kanazawa is no exception. The bustling, colourful hub is the largest in the city and its oldest, dating back to the Edo era. Its modern form may be a far cry from how it originally looked like – but as you stroll through its neat layout, it’s not difficult to imagine traders in traditional costumes hawking their produce and wares to prospective buyers. Today, there are about 200 stalls selling everything from fruits to vegetables, kitchenware, clothing and more. Of course, being by the sea, Kanazawa is renowned for its fresh seafood, found at every corner of the market.
One of the entrances to Omicho.
Like everywhere else in Japan, the market is exceedingly clean. Spacious walkways are flanked by stalls, with goods laid out in an inviting display. The place is busiest in the mornings, but there was a fair number of visitors as well during our visit in the afternoon.
Every colour looked exceedingly vivid. Displays are made to look as attractive as possible – no rotting or less-than-satisfactory fruits/veges would have made the cut. This is quite a contrast with some wet markets in Southeast Asia (or maybe just in Malaysia lol) where you’d find a bunch of wilted greens piled unceremoniously in a dirty-looking wicker basket in a corner.
The seafood selection is nothing short of impressive. Fancy some hairy crabs for 13000 yen (RM480)?
Why wait til you’re home to savour the seafood? Have it on the spot, like this group of youths who picked out their favourites and chowed down with some soy sauce and condiments. Can’t get fresher than that!
A worker shucking some giant oysters.
There are several restaurants within the vicinity. To attract customers, they sometimes put their ‘catch of the day’ on display, like this one which had a giant tuna head on ice.
One of these days I’d love to witness the auction process at the Tokyo market.
Take a bus from stops 6,7,8 or 9 at Kanazawa Station East Gate Bus Terminal and alight at Musashigatsuji. Alternatively, the Kanazawa Loop Bus (Left Loop) also takes you there, alighting at stop 7. Tickets are 200 yen for single fare.
Opening hours: 8AM – 6PM (shop hours may vary)
Closed (varies from shop to shop), but usually Wednesdays and Sundays, as well as public holidays.