Food Japan Travel

Nijo Seafood Market: A Fare Haven for Seafood Lovers in Sapporo

Nijo Market, located in the heart of Sapporo, is a bustling seafood market that attracts tourists and locals alike. With over 150 shops selling everything from fresh seafood to souvenirs, it is a must-visit destination for anyone traveling to Hokkaido.

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    History of Nijo Market

    Nijo Market has a rich history that dates back to the early Meiji Period (1868 – 1912) when the area was originally called “Nijo Uomachi”. It is recorded that the fishermen from Ishikarihama accessed Sapporo via the Ishikari River and began selling their catches at the Nijo Uomachi. And because there were only 13 shops, at the time, the area was also called 十三組合 which translates to the “Thirteen Union”. The major seafood transportation route was through the adjacent Sosei River. 

    There once was a massive fire destroying the entire area, but the fish market was rebuilt again, and it was some time in the 1903 that the place was seen to look like the Nijo Market we see today. The market had developed around the Minami 3-jo Higashi 1-chome in Chuo-ku, however, in 1910, an array of shops were lined up as far as the Higashi 2-chome.  

    Dried and Processed Products Sale in Nijo Market Today

    After the end of World War II, the area was popularly called “Nijo Market” and many shops started selling side dishes and processed foods in addition to fresh marine products. The most recent renovation took place in 1993 , with the construction of the current upper arcade. It is said that this arcade is based on the atmosphere of the Edo period and the sea. Since then, it has become a popular destination for tourists looking to experience Hokkaido’s unique food culture. [source]

    What to Expect at Nijo Market

    Nijo Market is a lively and colorful place that offers a unique glimpse into the local food scene. The market is open year-round, but the busiest time is during the summer months when visitors flock to Hokkaido to escape the heat.

    The market has an abundance of fresh seafood. Visitors can expect to find an array of seafood products, including crab, salmon, tuna, scallops, and sea urchin. Many of the shops and restaurants offer fresh catches of the day, making it a great spot for seafood enthusiasts to try something new.

    One of the popular activities for visitors to the Nijo Seafood Market is the “seafood breakfast.” Many restaurants and shops offer breakfast sets featuring fresh seafood, rice, and miso soup. It’s a great way to start the day and experience the local cuisine.

    Popular Seafood Rice Bowls Displayed in Nijo Market’s Main Alley

    One of the highlights of Nijo Market is the exuberance of seafood donburi restaurants that serve up delicious rice bowls topped with fresh seafood. The kaisen-don, a rice bowl topped with a variety of seafood, is a popular choice among visitors.

    Another must-try dish is the uni-don, a rice bowl topped with fresh sea urchin. Hokkaido is known for its high-quality uni, and Nijo Market is home to some of the best uni-don restaurants in the city.

    Aside from the food, Nijo Market also offers a glimpse into the local way of life. Visitors can witness the market vendors haggling with customers, locals going about their daily business, and fishermen unloading their catch of the day.

    A Seafood Vendor Taking a Breath After Welcoming a Group of Tourists

    Tips for Visiting Nijo Market

    To make the most of your visit to Nijo Market, here are a few tips to keep in mind:

    • Go early: The market gets crowded quickly, so it’s best to arrive early in the morning to avoid the crowds.
    • Bring cash: Many of the shops and restaurants in Nijo Market only accept cash, so be sure to bring enough yen.
    • Try the samples: Many of the shops offer free samples, so don’t be shy about trying before you buy.
    • Explore the side streets: While the main thoroughfare of Nijo Market is bustling, don’t be afraid to explore the side streets where you can find hidden gems and smaller shops.
    • Watch for seasonal specialties: Hokkaido is known for its seasonal specialties, so be on the lookout for dishes that feature ingredients that are only available during certain times of the year.

    In Conclusion

    Nijo Market is a must-visit destination for anyone traveling to Hokkaido. With its rich history, colorful atmosphere, and delicious food, it offers a unique glimpse into the local way of life. Whether you’re a seafood lover or just looking to experience a slice of Hokkaido’s food culture, Nijo Market is sure to leave a lasting impression!

    Access to Nijo Market

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