A selection of five markets brimming with seafood in Otaru!

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publication date:05/10/2017 latest update:05/17/2017


Otaru, Hokkaido is well-known as a port town. Perhaps you are thinking of buying fresh seafood while you’re there but are not sure when or which market to go to. There is no much information on the internet and it’s difficult to find about the markets, their ambience and what kinds of items are available.
Otaru city is dotted with nine markets. We’ll leave out the small markets and introduce you to five of the recommended markets, their ambience and how to access them, just as we saw them!
If you go to Otaru after reading this, you’ll be able to enjoy strolling around and shopping in the markets of the town while taking full advantage of the limited time you’ll be there.


Otaru Markets Map

1. Opening at 4:00 a.m, it’s the earliest in Otaru! For those who want to enjoy morning markets: Rinyuu Asaichi Morning Market

2. A market next to the station, convenient for sightseeing!: Sankaku Market

3. The best place to experience a cosy and local atmosphere!: Temiya Market

4. The market with great access by car and with the highest number of shops!: Shinnantaru Market

5. A typical Otaru market, loved by the locals: Nantaru Market

Otaru Markets Map

1. Opening at 4:00 a.m, it’s the earliest in Otaru! For those who want to enjoy a morning market: Rinyuu Asaichi Morning Market

First, we’ll be introducing you to Rinyuu Asaichi Morning Market. With the port stretching ahead, this market is located in place that radiates the ambience of a port market.

Here is the exterior of Rinyuu Asaichi. The picture shows the entrance of the market, which is the door in the middle; there are dining halls on either side where you can eat seafood bowls and set meals.
Also, for markets, people generally tend to have the impression of open air shops lined up like Tsukiji Market in Tokyo or Nijou Market in Sapporo. However, all of Otaru’s markets are located inside buildings so that people can enjoy shopping even when it’s raining or snowing.

This the interior of Rinyuu Asaichi. The picture was taken at 9:00 a.m on Saturday; at that time there were about twenty customers in total, having a calm and relaxed atmosphere.
About half of the shops in this market sell crabs, salmon, sea urchin, etc and the rest include shops selling vegetables, fruits, or miscellaneous items. There were about ten shops opened.

We went there in July and at that time, the seasonal product was king crab. There were also sea urchin and salmon, a specialty of the Shakotan area located near Otaru. Fruits are a local speciality of the Otaru area, and there were plenty of cherries, which were currently in season.

Speaking of which, while Yamagata is renowned for cherries, Hokkaido actually comes in second, after Yamagata, as the largest cherry producing region. Not only that, the towns of Yoichi-machi and Niki-machi near Otaru are renowned for their cherries so you can buy freshly picked cherries on the cheap in Otaru!

Shop information: Rinyuu Ashaichi
– Address: 10-15, 3 chome, Kaiuchi, Otaru-shi, Hokkaido.
– Opening hours: 04:00 ~ 14:00 (slightly different depending on shops)
– Regular holiday: Every Sunday
– Parking capacity: Approx. 8 cars.
NB: The restaurant named “Misaki”, located by the entrance of the market, is open even on Sundays when the market is closed.
If you’d like more info about it, please click this here! (Japanese website)

2. A market next to the station, convenient for sightseeing!: Sankaku Market

The next place we’ll be introducing is Sankaku Market. It’s very close to Otaru station and it’s the best one in terms of access through JR.

Here is the exterior of Sankaku Market. The entrance nearest to Otaru station is on the left, and the one opposite is on the right. As you can see, the entrance is quite narrow, but if you’re walking from Otaru station, it’ll be right on your path so you can’t miss it.

You can see the sign saying “ズバリ安い!! (extremely cheap!)” The picture on the right shows that the sign for “Sankaku Market” is falling apart, but well, let’s consider it a part of its charm.

Here is the interior of Sankaku Market. The passage is a narrow slope with a width of about two meters, with shops on either side. This market, which resembles an “eel’s bed”, extends for about two hundred meters in total. You can rest assured because, unlike other markets in Otaru, it’s open every day.

Sankaku market, being near Otaru station, has a relatively high number of tourists. You’ll be able to enjoy the feeling of being in a market with the energetic voices of the shopkeepers resonating from all sides!
In addition to shops selling seafood such as crabs, sea urchins, scallops, they also sell vegetables, fruits, and daily items. There are also three dining halls where you can eat seafood bowls and other dishes. Speaking of which, if you’re in Hokkaido, you should definitely try the seafood bowls!

Ajidokoro Takeda, in Sankaku Market. We couldn’t stop by this time, but there were plenty of seafood bowls on the menu by the entrance of the shop. Here is the menu from the restaurant’s website. (Posted from Ajidokoro Takeda’s website)

For more information about Ajidokoro Takeda, please click here!

Shop information: Sankaku Market
– Address: 10-16, 3 chome, Inaho, Otaru-shi, Hokkaido.
– Opening hours: 07:00 ~ 17:30
– Regular holiday: None

3. The best place to experience a cosy and local atmosphere!: Temiya Market

The next one on the list is completely different from Sankaku Market, which is teeming with tourists. We’ll be introducing you to Temiya Market; it’s a market with a calm ambience and loved by locals.

Here is Temiya Market’s exterior. Established in 1917, this market is the oldest in Otaru. The building was redesigned in 1994, so the old features are not remaining, but you can still enjoy the old fashioned atmosphere. Look out for the cute sign shown in the picture on the (bottom left).

Here is the interior of Temiya Market. There are about ten shops on either side of the passage in the middle. Here, you can buy not only seafood, but also dried goods, daily items, Otaru’s delicious Kamaboko, and other local products. There are also vegetable and fruit shops right outside the market. (The picture on the lower right)

We came here at around 10:00 a.m. About 80% of the visitors were local people, including elderly ladies and men living around the neighborhood. It had a relaxed atmosphere.

NB: You can find plenty of information about Temiya Market on the website of “Kaneshin Shinbo Shoten”, which has a shop in the market.
http://otaru-shinbo.com/temiya_market/(Japanese website)

Shop information: Temiya Market
– Address: 9-3, Nishikichou, Otaru-shi, Hokkaido.
– Opening hours: 10:00 ~ 19:30
– Regular holiday: Every Sunday

4. The market with great access by car and with the highest number of shops!: Shinnantaru Market

Next, we will be introducing to you a place completely different from Temiya Market. Shinnantaru Market is the biggest and most crowded market in Otaru.

Here is the exterior of Shinnantaru Market. This place is located right near the Otaru Bay area complex, “Wing Bay Otaru”. As you can see in the picture, it is in a shopping center with shops such as “Yamada Denki” and “Daiso”. It’s a convenient market, with big signs for first timers and a free parking; it can be easily accessed by car.

Here is the interior of Shinnantaru Market. Compared to the markets previously introduced, this one is the most modern; it has the atmosphere of a big supermarket with plenty of specialty stores.

We visited this place at 11:00a.m on a Saturday. Some areas were so crowded that it was hard to walk. You will need to pay attention to avoid bumping into people. The ratio of locals to tourists was 6:4. It’s so lively that you can even enjoy just window shopping.

With about 40 shops, Shinnantaru Market has the highest number of shops in Otaru. It is stocked abundantly with seafood such as crab, sea urchin, shrimp, mackerel, and Hokkaido-produced vegetables such as asparagus, and also cherries, melons and the specialty watermelon “raiden.” They can be bought on the cheap here. Also, there are also dining areas where you can grab a seafood bowl.

Raiden watermelon is a famous branded watermelon of Hokkaido. It is obtained from Kyowa-machi, west of Otaru. The rind is thin, and the fruit inside is dense and sweet. It’ll be heavy to take with you so it’s better to eat it while you’re there or have it delivered.

Shop information: Shinnantaru Market
– Address: 8-11, Chikou, Otaru-shi, Hokkaido.
– Opening hours: 10:00 ~ 19:00
– Regular holiday: Every Wednesday
– Parking capacity: Approx. 200 cars(free of charge)
– Official website: http://www.shin-nantaru.com/(Japanese website)

5. A typical Otaru market, loved by the locals: Nantaru Market

The last one we’ll introduce to you is a vibrant market, popular with both locals and tourists, Nantaru market. Shinnantaru Market, introduced previously, was a result of the shops in Nantaru Market unable to keep up with the huge number of customers. The people running the shops decided to increase them, making Shinnantaru Market a descendant of Nantaru market.

Here is the exterior of Nantaru market. If you take the national highway from Otaru towards Sapporo, you’ll see an adorable sign on the left. The market is about a 100 meters ahead of that. When we went there on a Saturday afternoon, we had to wait for a parking spot. Even on weekdays, the parking area is usually full. (The security guards will guide you.)

Here is the interior of Nantaru Market. The entrance and the interior are both reminiscent of an old, retro supermarket. It is packed with about 30 shops. It was full of mostly local visitors, including elderly men and ladies, as well as families with children.

There are several seafood shops. Apart from that, there are also shops selling meat, fruits, as well as delicacies such as kamaboko and fried foods. The market also has a sushi shop, which can be enjoyed at an affordable price.

Hokkaido’s sea urchins mainly consist of two types — purple sea urchin and horse-dung sea urchin. The difference in taste is in how rich the taste is. Horse-dung sea urchin tends to be richer in taste and generally more expensive.
In the markets of Otaru, except during the fishing ban period, you can buy purple sea urchin known as “Shakotan blue” from the Shakotan area, caught in the beautiful seas. If you’re looking for famous Horse-dung sea urchin, you can buy the ones produced in the Rishiri-Rebun area, that are raised fed on Rishiri kelp. Both types are delicious and can’t be missed when you’re in Hokkaido!

Shop information: Nantaru Market
– Address: 12-1, Shintomi-chou, Otaru-shi, Hokkaido.
– Opening hours: 09:00 ~ 19:00
– Regular holiday: Every Sunday
– Parking capacity: Approx. 70 cars(free of charge)
– Official website: http://www.nantaruichiba.or.jp/(Japanese website)

NB: If you need further bargain information of the markets above, click here!


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