Indulge your inner foodie and sample Hokkaido’s world-famous seafood at Nijo Market in Sapporo

Nijo Market is famous for its wide variety of local seafood, for which Hokkaido is famous.


By SETH ROBSON | Stars and Stripes | Published: February 14, 2019

The seafood section of Sapporo’s Nijo Market isn’t on the scale of Tokyo’s famous Tsukiji Market — but the monster king crabs for sale there look like they could compete for Japan’s crustacean crown.

The market, a short walk from Sapporo’s TV Tower, includes about two dozen street-side shops situated along the banks of the Sosei River selling a wide variety of seafood.

Locals say Nijo Market dates back to the 19th century during Hokkaido’s frontier age, where it served as a pantry for settlers and was filled with stalls selling local farm produce and seafood — not unlike the market of today.

Vendors keep warm in Sapporo’s chilly winter temperatures standing beside gas heaters as they show off their wares available for purchase.

The seafood is packed in ice — but in Hokkaido’s harsh winter conditions, it seems an unnecessary measure.

You might not see fishmongers slicing up giant tuna here, but the rows of oversized oysters and crustaceans (which include king crabs, hairy crabs and snow crabs) should be enough to satisfy any traveler’s desire to see some of Japan’s world-famous seafood up close.

Most of the outlets also sell prepackaged seafood products that are ideal omiyage, or souvenirs, for tourists.

Looking for a bite to eat? Travelers can sample a selection of cooked items, including barbecued scallops and uni (also known as sea urchin), which is a Hokkaido specialty, at some shops.

If you want to sit down, head deeper into the market to find several restaurants nestled amongst the vendors.

Sushidokoro Keiran, tucked away in a nondescript corner of one of the outlets, offers diners respite from the cold. The restaurant’s seafood meals are both fresh and delicious, making this an ideal spot to satisfy any hunger cravings during an afternoon of exploring.

Shushidokoro Keiran’s specialty is sashimi don, or rice bowls topped with slices of raw fish. The sashimi don range in price from 980 yen (about $8.65) up to a pricey 4,200 yen, depending on the size and what types of fish are included.

The sashimi at Shushidokoro Keiran is thicker and tastier than what you typically get in Tokyo. Most orders also come with a side of crab soup, which includes a meaty and delicious crab leg. A glass of ice-cold Sapporo beer, also local to this city, is the perfect way to wash down your meal.

Visiting Nijo Market is a great way to immerse yourself into the rhythm of Sapporo — and it’s also not a bad way to sample some world-class seafood, either.

Twitter: @SethRobson1

Nijo Market

LOCATION: 1 Chome Minami 3 Johigashi, Chuo Ward, Sapporo, Hokkaido 060-0053

DIRECTIONS: Nijo Market is accessible via the Sapporo Subway Toho Line at Hosuisusukino Station (6-minute walk) or the Sapporo Subway Namboku, Toho or Tozai Lines at Odori Station (7-minute walk).

HOURS: Most shops are open from 7 a.m. to 6 p.m., while restaurants are open from 6 p.m. to 9 p.m.

ONLINE: nijomarket.com

A chief prepares sashimi don, which are bowls of rice topped with fresh raw fish, at Sushidokoro Keiran restaurant in Sapporo's Nijo Market.

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