Nishiki Market is famous as the "Kitchen of Kyoto." Not only the local residents, but many restaurant owners and chefs also come to Nishiki Market to purchase materials for their cuisine. During the rush to purchase supplies for the end-of-the-year holidays, which is always the most crowded time of the year, the market is jam-packed with shoppers.
Nishiki Market is a 390-meter arcade located along Nishikikoji St. from Takakura St. to Teramachi St., with about 130 stores and shops. Here you will find fresh produce such as fish, vegetables, meat, and tofu (soybean curd), as well as many other kinds of food, like preserved food that has been boiled down in soy sauce, common household dishes, and a variety of Japanese pickles. There are also shops specializing in Japanese pastries and tea, providing a wide variety to choose from.
At present, Nishiki Market still plays a vital role in the support of the dietary habits of the citizens of Kyoto, but that role is expanding to include sales of sweets and gourmet dishes favored by people who like to go on food excursions to sample local specialties, and the occasional camera-laden tourist. Like tourist spots throughout the country, many shops in the market have started to offer "eat-in" services, with menus based on goods on sale at the shop.
It has been said that the cold in Kyoto in the winter goes down to the bones, due to the water table moving beneath the city. However, walking through Nishiki Market, you will surely find a counter-balance to that cold in the warmth of the people working there.