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Food

Omicho Ichiba in Kanazawa

Omicho Ichiba is a must see for foodies if you are visiting Kanazawa. But, I hope you don’t make the same mistake I made if you are planning to go there! On my recent visit to Kanazawa in March, I almost missed the one thing I really really wanted to see, the market.

After spending all day going to Wajima and arriving at Kanazawa a bit after 4:00 pm, I stopped at the tourist information center at the Kanazawa Station to pick up some maps. When I described my plan to go to Omicho Ichiba next day (a holiday) to the lady at the desk, she put on a puzzled look and asked me “What for?”. Could the purpose be anything else, but to see the market? She quickly replied that most of the shops are closed on holidays! “The Omicho Ichiba website didn’t say anything about that, is it true?” I asked. She said that not all the shops are closed but almost all of the fish stores and vegetable shops are closed on holidays.

Seeing how disappointed I was, this very nice person suggested walking to the market from the station in about 12-15 minutes before the closing time at 5 pm. Since I had bags for traveling for a few days, I decided to take a taxi to drop our luggage at the hotel in Katamachi, which should have been a small detour between the station and the market. In truth, what was supposed to be a 15 minute cab ride turned into more than 30 minutes of incredibly stressful entrapment in a cab with my constant nagging of “Is there any other way to bypass this traffic?”. Te-chan calmly informed me everytime I asked that since it was rush hour at the start of a holiday weekend there was no way in hell that there was any short cut and that we should have left the bags at the station or just let it go and come back next time, since I would only be teased and disappointed by 10 minutes in such a legendary market.

Finally at 4:50 pm, we dashed out of the cab into the market to catch a momentary glimpse of the lively market of over 170 shops and restaurants. Crabs were displayed stall after stall, whole fish in styrofoam boxes filled with ice were still stacked up in front of the shops, and all kinds of shrimp from the Japan Sea looked so enticing! I just wished that I had been there earlier to fully enjoy the sights.

The next day was a public holiday, and I went back to the market only to find dark alleys and shuttered store fronts with only a handful of shops open. If it is a wholesale market, I could easily guess that it would be closed on Sundays and holidays, but I thought Omicho Ichiba was 100% retail.

Later, trying to verify when shops were open, I could not find the information about the general hours of operation without going to each shop’s site. So, I called the market association to find out the hours of shops at Omi Ichiba.

Omi Ichiba Hours:

Weekdays and Saturdays:
Most fish stores are open from 9:00 am – 5:00 pm
Some other shops and restaurants are open until later.

Wednesdays:
Some fish stores are closed.

Sundays:
About 60% of shops are open. Some fish stores open only half of their space.

Holidays:
Most shops are closed.

Discussion

3 Responses to “Omicho Ichiba in Kanazawa”

  1. The kaiten sushi shop in Omicho Market (called Kaiten Sushi – haha) has the best kaiten sushi I’ve ever eaten.

    I loved living in Kanazawa and going to the market most weeks (10-min walk from my apartment).

    Posted by billywest | April 23, 2009, 1:49 am
  2. I think if we lived a 10 minute walk from the market, we’d be eating there everyday!

    Posted by Te-chan | April 23, 2009, 8:32 am
  3. I loved Kanazawa. Such a beautiful city with so much art and history!

    Posted by Et-chan | April 23, 2009, 8:42 am

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