Nishiki Market, known as Kyoto’s Kitchen, is always bustling with a mix of Kyoto locals, Japanese tourists, and travelers from abroad. With more than 120 shops and restaurants, it is a Kyoto sightseeing spot which shouldn’t be missed! It is fun to see and with so many delicious restaurants and interesting souvenir shops, it’s great to enjoy with kids. We will tell you the 5 things you must do if you visit Nishiki Market with kids.
About Nishiki Market
Nishiki Market is Kyoto’s Kitchen and you can taste locally made, seasonal dishes there. It has been around for 400 years! For a length of 390 meters, there are more than 120 shops and restaurants lined up. All year, no matter the season, it is bustling with customers from all over and is a spot you can enjoy sightseeing with kids.
1. Try Traditional Japanese Foods With Kids
Kyoto style pickles (Kyotsukemono)
Tsukemono is vegetables and other ingredients which have been preserved in salt, vinegar, sake lees, etc and is a non-perishable food that has been made in Japan since long ago. Its characteristic flavor is a hint of acidity and Japanese people often have a bit of tsukemono with freshly made white rice or dishes such as ochazuke.
Tsukemono made from vegetables grown in Kyoto (Kyoyasai) is known as Kyotsukemono. Kyoto, blessed with rich groundwater, is where the culture of tsukemono was developed. At Nishiki Market, we recommend “Kyo-tsukemono-no-Uchida.” The shop has a long history, open since 1937, and you can find many tsukemono barrels lined up in front of the shop. You can sample many of the different kinds of tsukemono, so please try different kinds and buy your favorite.
Uchida Tsukemono – Shop hours: 9:00 – 18:00 – Closed on January
Website(only in Japanese): http://www.kyoto-nishiki.or.jp/stores/uchidawest/index.html
Dashi-maki-tamago (Japanese style rolled omelette)
Dashi-maki-tamago is a Japanese style rolled omelet made by mixing dashi, a type of broth, into beaten eggs and cooking until it is firm. In the center of Nishiki Market, you can find the shop, Miki Keiran, which serves Kyoto style dashi-maki-tamago. Opened in 1928, at Miki Keiran you can eat a dashi-maki-tamago made by a true professional. The secret behind Miki Keiran’s dashi-maki-tamago is the dashi they use. It’s dashi made from carefully selected kelp and dried bonito and the smell of dashi-maki-tamago made with it is so inviting. It looks like such a simple dish, but it is a dish in which you can truly experience the delicateness of Japanese cooking.
Miki Keiran – shop hours 9:00 – 18:00
Website (only in Japanese): http://www.kyoto-nishiki.or.jp/stores/mikikeiran/index.html
2. Try Unique Dishes with Kids
Have you ever heard of a dish called croquette? It’s a dish made by boiling and mashing potatoes, mixing them with ground meat or other vegetables, rolling the mixture up, coating with breadcrumbs, and deep-frying it. It is an imitation of a western dish and is commonly made in kitchens in homes all over Japan. In Nishiki Market, however, you can find a unique croquette. At Inoue Tsukudani you can find chocolate croquettes! It has been showcased on various TV programs and is one of the most popular food items in Nishiki Market. At just 100 yen, the chocolate croquette is the perfect size for eating and walking. The outside is crispy and when you take a bite the smooth chocolate oozes out. Because of its reasonable price and popularity, it is known to sell out, so if you would like to try we recommend you get there early in the day if possible.
Inoue Tsukudani – shop hours 9:00 – 18:00 – Closed on Wednesdays and the 3rd Sunday of the month and may be closed on other days.
Website (only in Japanese): http://www.kyoto-nishiki.or.jp/stores/inoue/
At Notoyo, a store specializing in fresh water fish, you can find skewers with eel and sweetfish grilled with salt and eat them on the spot. As popular as these dishes are among tourists who want to have a quick bite while walking, at Notoyo you can find a unique dish… a skewer of suzume or sparrow! Suzume skewers are rare even in Japan and you can’t find them just anywhere. Even for people who may be a bit unsure at first, the rich taste of the marinade usually wins them over.
Kawasakana Notoyo – shop hours 8:00 – 18:00 – open daily
Website (only in Japanese): http://www.kyoto-nishiki.or.jp/stores/notoyo/index.html
3. Kyoto Sweets – Kids Will Love Them!
Sweets in Kyoto are typical Japanese sweets. I personally love fu-manju. Fu is wheat gluten and is often used in soup type dishes in Japan. At Fuka, a shop in Nishiki Market which specializes in fu products, you can find the sweets made from fu called fu-manju. It’s soft and chewy and inside the fu is a sweet red bean paste. It isn’t so sweet and is a favorite Japanese confection among adults and children alike.
Fuka – shop hours 9:30 – 18:00 – Closed Mondays and the last Sunday of the month from January – August
Website (only in Japanese): http://www.kyoto-nishiki.or.jp/stores/fuka/index.html
Matcha warabi mochi
I’m sure any travelers to Japan have tried matcha at least once. At Nishiki Market, you can find a shop which specializes in sweets made with matcha. It is called Sawawa. They use Uji matcha, one of Japan’s three major teas, to make their sweets. There are many delicious sweets lined up in the shop, but among them, I recommend matcha warabi mochi. It is a bit jiggly like gelatin and with its light sweet taste, it is loved by people of all ages. The combination warabi mochi‘s light sweetness with the aroma of Uji matcha is something you must try!
Matcha Sweets Sawawa Nishiki store – shop hours 10:00 – 18:00 – Open daily
Website (only in Japanese): http://www.kyoto-nishiki.or.jp/stores/sawawa/
4. Find Typical Kyoto Souvenirs with Kids
In Nishiki Market, you can find Aritsugu, a store known not only throughout Japan, but even the world, for their kitchen goods. Of course, you can find different pots, pans, and various cooking utensils, but the most popular item, displayed in the center of the store, are their knives. There are many different types and styles. It is a popular stop among foreign travelers because if you purchase a knife you can request to have your name engraved there on the spot.
Aritsugu – shop hours 9:00 – 17:30 – Closed January 1-3
Website (only in Japanese): http://www.kyoto-nishiki.or.jp/stores/aritsugu/
Kuromame (black beans)
One sweet you should buy at Nishiki Market is kuromame. Kuromame is a type of soybean and is often seen in the Japanese New Year platter called Osechi. They are a sweet bean and are therefore often used in Japanese sweets. At Kuromame-Sa-An Kitao, you can choose a box from over 50 different designs and fill it with kuromame sweets. Among the designs are Kyoto-Esque things such as maiko-san, so the box makes a great souvenir to remember your trip. They also make a great gift if you want to take a souvenir to friends or family back home.
Kuromame-Sa-An Kitao – shop hours 10:00 – 18:00 – Closed on Wednesdays
Website (only in Japanese): http://www.kyoto-nishiki.or.jp/stores/kitao/index.html
5. Praying at Nishiki Tenmangu with Kids
If you walk through the Shinkyogoku Shopping Arcade, which is near the Hankyu Kawaramachi Station, you will come across Nishiki Tenmangu (shrine). You can stop to pray at the shrine, then get started on your walk through Nishiki Market!
Nishiki Tenmangu is known as a shrine to pray for knowledge and business sense. You may see many students preparing for their entrance exams or business owners visiting the shrine to pray.
You will find some things unique to Nishiki Tenmangu that you may not see at other shrines. For example, there is a statue of a cow’s head which visitors often rub and there are fortunes here which are a bit different from those you may see at other shrines. We hope you will go and have a look for yourself!
Nishiki Tenmangu – shrine hours 8:00 – 20:00
Website (only in Japanese): http://nishikitenmangu.or.jp/
Things to Be Careful of Walking Around Nishiki Market with Kids
Being that Nishiki Market is known as Kyoto’s kitchen and you can find so many delicious foods there, it is a popular spot for people from all over Japan and the world. In order for everyone to enjoy their visit to Nishiki Market, there are a few things to be careful of.
When you buy some food, most shops have a place near the shop for you to eat. Most shops have garbage cans, so please dispose of your garbage at the shop when you finish eating. Help keep Kyoto beautiful by doing these things and it will remain beautiful and a spot which travelers will continue to love visiting.
You Want to Visit Nishiki Market with Kids
As you can see, Nishiki Market can be a lot of fun to visit with your kids. However, as it is often quite crowded it may not be ideal for visiting with small children. If you use Kyoto with Kids Club then just the adults can go and experience Nishiki Market while we take care of your kids.
Access to Nishiki Market
Nishiki Market Shopping Arcade
- City Bus #5 – get off at Shijo Takakura – walk about 2 minutes
- Subway – Karasuma Line – get off at Shijo – walk about 3 minutes
- Subway – Tozai Like – get off at Kyoto Shiyakusho Mae – walk about 10 minutes
- Hankyu Kyoto Line – get off at Karasuma – walk about 3 minutes
- Hankyu Kyoto Line – get off at Kawaramachi – walk about 4 minutes
- Keihan Honsen – get off at Shijo – walk about 10 minutes
- Keihan Honsen – get off at Sanjo – walk about 15 minutes
Website(only in Japanese): http://www.kyoto-nishiki.or.jp/index.html