When asking a Japanese person about the aspect of their culture they take the most pride in, their cuisine often tops the list, particularly their seafood. Japan, which is responsible for consuming 6% of the world’s fish and is the largest seafood importer, showcases this culinary passion in restaurants nationwide. The key to Japanese seafood is its freshness, and for the freshest experience, a visit to a local fish market is recommended. In the heart of Nagoya, just a short five-minute walk from Meieki lies the Yanagibashi Chuo Ichiba fish market. This market has been a hub for the Tokai region’s businesses since 1910, and some stalls even trace their origins back to the Edo era.
Second only to Tokyo’s renowned Tsukiji fish market in size, Yanagibashi hosts over 400 shops offering a vast array of seafood. From Chita Peninsula, Mikawa Bay, and Ise Bay fishing areas, the market provides an extensive selection, including tuna, octopus, urchins, and even top-grade whale meat. Primarily serving hotels and restaurants, the market also welcomes individual customers, including homemakers seeking fresh ingredients for home cooking.
For those unfamiliar with the variety of seafood, the market offers guided tours every Friday and Saturday. Led by Mr. Ando, the president of Marunaka Shokuhin Center and a local celebrity, these two-hour tours provide insights into the market’s operations, fish preparation, and professional cooking techniques. Priced at 1000 JPY, the tours are conducted in Japanese, but they still offer a fascinating experience for non-Japanese speakers.
Yanagibashi Chuo Ichiba operates from 4 to 10 am, with peak activity between 6 and 8 am. It’s closed on Sundays, holidays, and some Wednesdays.
Yanagibashi Chuo Ichiba Fish Market