Kuromon Ichiba is a lively covered market which stretches for 580 meters in Osaka’s Chuo Ward. Nicknamed “Osaka’s kitchen” because both local homeowners and restaurant chefs get their supplies here, the market is famous for its fresh seafood and has recently become a popular tourist location. As a result it can get quite crowded. In 2015 the market was visited by an average of 23,000 people a day, but that figure is most probably higher now. One reason for the market’s popularity is that many stalls will prepare, cook and serve their food to you right on the spot. This makes it an excellent venue for strolling, sampling, and snacking on a delicious variety of fresh market foods.
Kuromon Ichiba History
Although fresh fish traders began to appear in this area from the early 19th century, it wasn’t until 1902 that a market was established here. Originally the market was called Enmyoji Ichiba after a nearby temple called Enmyoji. This temple was known for its black painted gate, so it wasn’t long before the market got the nickname “Kuromon Ichiba” or “Black Gate Market.” Sadly the temple and its gate were completely destroyed by a massive fire in 1912, and today the market is known solely as Kuromon Ichiba.
Kuromon Ichiba Market Today
In the market you will find around 150 stores, about a quarter of which sell fresh fish and seafood. The rest of the stores are largely devoted to fresh fruit and vegetables, meat, dried fish, pickles, and confectionery. There are also a small number of supermarkets and clothing stalls.
In addition to the food stores there are about 25 eateries in the market, which are typically cheap and casual noodle or curry shops. Recently however, seafood restaurants, izakaya style eateries, and cafes are increasing here too. Here are some highlights from the market.
Kuromon Market Information Center
Towards the southern end of the market there is an information center which is open from 9.00 – 18.00. There is a rest area here where you can sit and eat some of the snacks you have bought at the market stalls. The center also has toilets, a foreign currency exchange machine, baggage storage for 500 yen per item, and free wi-fi. The staff here speak limited English.
Kuromon Ichiba is a 3 minute walk from Nippombashi Subway Station and Kintetsu Nippombashi Station.
Article and original photos by Michael Lambe. All rights reserved.