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What to Eat at Omicho Market in Kanazawa, Japan

June 6, 2024

This is your foodie guide on what to eat at Omicho Market in Kanazawa! Since its establishment in the Edo Period, Omicho Market has played an essential role in Kanazawa’s food and culture scene. For more than 300 years, the market has provided direct access to its freshly-caught seafood along the Hokuriku Coast. Today, it’s a hub for restaurants, locals, and visitors alike!

In this post, I included a photo of the stall and its food because I couldn’t confirm the name of every business. When you visit, you will also discover that multiple businesses sells the same fresh seafood– which isn’t uncommon for a market like this. So, I hope this guide can help you explore what to eat at Omicho Market in Kanazawa!

Photo Credit: All photos are property of Natalie Moe. Permission is required to use Natalie’s photos, please email contact@happilypink.com for a usage inquiry.

When to Visit Omicho Market

While some markets are best to visit early morning, i.e. Outer Tsukiji Market in Tokyo, you do not want to visit Omicho Market early in the day. Earlier market hours are when restaurant owners and locals go grocery shopping for their fruit, vegetables, seafood, and other items.

Restaurants also don’t open until later in the morning. So instead, get some rest and show up as early as 10am. We arrived via bus at noon, and felt everything was quite full. Some of the restaurants and stalls start to close at 3pm, so 10am-3pm is the prime window.

If you arrive later than that at Omicho Market, there’s a good chance that the stalls could be closed. And most certainly by 5pm, a majority of the market is closed– with the exception to a few restaurants (one which I’ll dive into later in this post).

But if you’re looking for more places to eat in Kanazawa after the market closes, check out my Where to Eat in Kanazawa blog post!

What to Eat at Omicho Market: Fresh Seafood

When you visit Kanazawa, you can expect to experience some of the freshest seafood of your life! But this should come at no surprise given Kanazawa’s direct access to seafood from the Hokuriku Coast. I observed several vendors selling scallops, sea urchin, snow crab, oysters and fermented shrimp. In addition to this, there was also an assortment of restaurants selling one of Kanazawa’s specialty dishes, the kaisendon.

Uni (Sea Urchin)

My favorite bite of seafood at Kanazawa’s Omichi Market was this uni served to us in its shell. It was rich and creamy, with almost a custard-like consistency, and a mild briny finish. At the stall, we could choose a smaller portion for ¥800 ($5.14 USD) or a larger portion for ¥1000 ($6.42 USD).

What to Eat at Omicho Market in Kanazawa: uni
What to Eat at Omicho Market in Kanazawa: uni
Fresh uni served in its shell

Kobako-gani (Female Snow Crab)

At the same vendor, we tasted kobako-gani, a female snow crab that is only offered in the winter. Kobako means “little jewel box” because the the female shell is filled with juicy meat and granular brown eggs, sotoko.

The meat was sweet and on the lighter side, while eggs’ texture stood out for its slight crunch. To further enhance the flavor, locals like to serve this crab with vinegar and/or soy sauce. The price of the smaller one was ¥1400 ($8.99 USD).

If you miss out on trying this Kanazawa delicacy at one of the stalls, you can also savor it on kaisendon or in oden… which I highlight in this post.

What to Eat at Omicho Market in Kanazawa: kobako-gani
What to Eat at Omicho Market in Kanazawa: kobako-gani
Female snow crab with sotoko

Hotate (Scallop) from Minami

We also discovered several stalls with meaty scallops served with a dab of wasabi. We paid ¥700 ($4.49 USD) for a set of two scallops at Minami, but the prices and quantity of scallops varied for each stall.

Large scallops

Kaisendon

One of my foodie highlights was this kaisendon from Amatsubo. Serving Kanazawa for more than 50 years, Amatsubo is where we went to experience one of Kanazawa’s culinary specialties: kaisendon.

Kaisendon includes fresh, warm rice served with sweet shrimp, snow crab, yellowtail and other fresh catches from the Hokuriku Coast. I ordered the smaller portion, but also added on the uni and Kanazawa’s gold leaf flakes. The kaisendon was easily my favorite thing that we ate on this past trip to Japan.

While most restaurants close after lunch, Amatsubo is one of the few restaurants open for dinner. We loved dining here after our late-afternoon arrival into Kanazawa from Tokyo.

What to Eat at Omicho Market in Kanazawa: Kaisendon from Amatsubo
What to Eat at Omicho Market in Kanazawa: Kaisendon from Amatsubo
Kaisendon from Amatsubo

What to Eat: Something Warm

It was unexpectedly cold during our visit to Japan, so we found ourselves seeking out warm, comfort food when deciding on what to eat at Omicho Market in Kanazawa. Here were some of our favorite warm bites.

Curry Rice Croquette from Omichokorokke

When Alex and I visit markets, we take turns picking out a vendor. This was one of his picks, and one of his overall favorites from Omicho Market. From Omichokorokke, you will find an assortment of croquettes ranging from seafood to curry. We settled on the curry rice croquette for ¥250 ($1.60 USD).

The first bite was the exact comfort we were looking for on this damp, frigid day. Past the crunchy panko crumbs, was a warm and savory interior of curry rice. The consistency was thick enough so it didn’t spill onto your hand after that first bite.

If you love the curry breads from the konbini, then you need to definitely try this curry rice croquette when you’re deciding on what to eat at Omicho Market.

What to Eat at Omicho Market in Kanazawa: Omichokorokke Curry Rice Croquette
What to Eat at Omicho Market in Kanazawa: Omichokorokke Curry Rice Croquette
Warm, curry rice croquette

Noto Beef Nigiri

My favorite bite on what to eat at Omicho Market in Kanazawa was was the Noto beef nigiri– with the uni as a close second. This melt-in-your-mouth premium beef was prepared two ways for ¥1000 ($6.42 USD): with local soy sauce and ginger, and bamboo charcoal salt and wasabi.

Noto beef comes from a specific strain of Japanese black cattle that are bred in the Ishikawa prefecture. Characterized by its high-quality fat with a high ratio of oleic acid, the Noto beef is tender and aromatic.

Each nigiri set is made to order, and it’s wonderful to watch how meticulous the chef is with torching each piece and decorating it accordingly. I wish I could have had this again at the market!

What to Eat at Omicho Market in Kanazawa: Noto Beef Nigiri
What to Eat at Omicho Market in Kanazawa: Noto Beef Nigiri
Noto beef nigiri

Oden at Kanazawa Oden Ippukuya

Kanazawa Oden Ippukuya was our last stop at Omicho Market. At this fast-casual spot, we tried oden, a Kanazawa speciality. Oden consists of a soy sauce-based, dashi broth, with an assortment of ingredients like fish cakes, meats, seafood and/or vegetables. At this restaurant you could add in your choice of fish cakes, meats and seafood.

For my ingredients, I selected four things that totaled ¥1450 ($9.31 USD). But your total cost will vary based off of the ingredients that you choose. I attached a menu for reference.

I enjoyed the shellfish ¥500, Japanese white radish ¥300, and omelet ¥200, but my favorite was the shellfish for its briny flavor and chewy texture!

Kanazawa Oden Ippukuya is a spacious restaurant with plenty of seating, but I’d recommend arriving around 1pm to enjoy the ingredients before they’re sold out for the day.

Kanazawa Oden Ippukuya menu at Omicho Market
Omicho Market in Kanazawa: oden from Kanazawa Oden Ippukuya. This includes shellfish, omelet, Japanese white radish and more.
Kanazawa Oden Ippukuya’s oden with shellfish, omelet, Japanese white radish, and fish cake + egg

As a final tip, do not walk around and eat your food when exploring Omicho Market. This is considered impolite. Instead, please buy your food at that stall and eat it immediately, then throw your garbage away at that specific stall. This is the general etiquette of Japan for any eatery. One of the few exceptions to this rule is if you’re taking a longer distance train in between cities.

I hope you enjoyed my guide on what to eat at Omicho Market in Kanazawa! If you’d like to see more visuals on my experience, watch my video on Instagram or TikTok.

For more Kanazawa foodie ideas, check out my blog post on Where to Eat in Kanazawa. Happy eating!

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