Kyoto is known more for its shrines and temples than its street food, but where you do find it, know that it’s the best. Here’s a list of places not-to-be missed Kyoto street food markets.
The best market: Nishiki Market
Nishiki Market is a shopping street with a history that spans hundreds of years. As you might guess, it’s a place where shops have been around for generations, selling traditional Japanese ingredients like tofu, fish, green tea, and fruit. You will also see stalls of ready-made food, sweets and several restaurants. Most things in the market are comfortably under ¥1,000. Sometimes, you get lucky and the vendors hand out free samples. Read our full guide to exploring Nishiki Market.
The monthly market: Tenjin-san flea market
Yes, it’s branded as a flea market, but don’t be fooled. The second-hand clothing stalls are matched by an equal number of food stalls and carts selling all your favorite Japanese fare like takoyaki (a ball-shaped snack). They even have fruit, vegetables and seafood. Just make sure to time your trip to Kyoto on the 25th of the month, when the market is held at Kitano Tenmangu Shrine.
The annual market: Gion Festival street stalls
July sees Kyoto go crazy for the Gion Festival. In the three days leading up to the float processions, Shijo-dori Street is closed for an evening of street food and partying. Warning: it’s hot and humid, it’s crowded, but that’s how it is just about anywhere in Kyoto at that time of year. So you might as well get your food for cheap and enjoy the atmosphere of the festival.
The market at Fushimi Inari: Classic Kyoto street food
You can find tons of delicious bites to eat around this famous shrine. On top of the fried chicken, cutlets and skewered meat, try some dishes with bean curd, thought to be a favorite of foxes, which decorate the shrine. Plus, you have access to all the dango, mochi, taiyaki and ice cream your heart desires.