Here's useful information on how to enjoy the 100-year-old Sapporo fish market, which is a major point of interest in the city. We recommend doing a walking and eating tour like the Japanese do. This is called "tabearuki". Also, we've selected three of the best places to have some seafood bowls!
The seas of northern Japan are rich with fish and crustaceans that have been part of the food culture of Hokkaido for centuries. Sapporo has a reputation in Japan for being a major gourmet spot for seafood for that reason. The Nijo Market, pronounced "nijo ichiba" (二条市場) in Japanese, has been around for over a century. It's a major point of interest of Sapporo because you get the quaint feel of an authentic fish market of long standing, and you can enjoy some delicious seafood while you are at it! Furthermore, the market is conveniently located at a walking distance of the Susukino Station, a major station in the bustling downtown area of the city.
The fish market as you've probably guessed it is all about seafood! Most of the fish you'll see at the market have just arrived at the port in the morning of the same day. As pictured above, Hokkaido's famous crabs can be seen in tanks as well. It's impressive just to see the merchant's display and it's even more exciting to try the fresh seafood for a fraction of what it would cost if they were served at a fancy Tokyo restaurant.
"Tabearuki" (食べ歩き): Walking And Eating Your Way Around The Market
You'll come across crabs, uni (sea urchins), fresh fish and so much more! The temptation will be everywhere so one of the best ways to enjoy the market is to do what Japanese people call "tabearuki", which means to buy small portions of whatever tickles your fancy while strolling through the area. For just a couple of coins here and there, you can try so many regional specialties! One must try item is those fresh sea urchins ("uni") grilled right before your eyes.
Although it is mostly known for its fresh seafood, the market is not only a fish market. You can find a variety of foods like fresh vegetables from Hokkaido or local alcohols such as these plum wines ("umeshu").
"Kaisen Don" (海鮮丼): Bowl Of Rice With Lots Of Fresh Seafood
This is THE thing you should have as the main dish of your walking tour! You'll see them everywhere in the market. "Kaisen don" literally translates to seafood bowl. So you can get a generous amount of fresh seafood topped on a bed of rice for a ridiculously low price. You pour a "tare" sauce on top to give it a little extra savoury taste. If you love sushi, you'll love the kaisen don. Here are some places you might want to try.
The kaisen dons here are about ¥2,000. Perhaps two things that come to mind when Japanese people things of Hokkaido are sea urchins and salmon roes. Both are delicacies that cost quite a lot if you eat at a nice sushi restaurant. Here, you can have a mind-blowing amount of both as a topping for a kaisen don. Both of these have a smooth rich sea taste that you must try at least once if you are in Japan.
The trifecta of our dreams! Not only do you get the salmon roe and the uni in one of their kaisen don, but also some red king crab, which is another iconic seafood of Hokkaido. They serve plenty of other types of bowls too.