Wajima morning market, worth the effort to visit
Experiencing the lifestyle and food culture of the people you're traveling with is one of the great joys of travel, isn't it?
In Tokyo, the tuna auction at the Toyosu market is also popular among foreigners visiting Japan.
I think the charm of the market is that you can feel the real life of the people of the country, not just for tourists.
The Wajima Asaichi (morning market) is one of the most famous morning markets in Japan,
along with the morning market in Takayama, Gifu Prefecture, and the morning market in Hachinohe, Aomori Prefecture.
Local fishermen and farmers' wives sell their own seafood and agricultural products in stalls.
About 200 stalls are lined up over a distance of 360 meters.
There is an amazing lineup of freshly picked seafood, processed seafood, freshly harvested vegetables,
homemade pickles, and even handicrafts.
Among the many morning markets in Japan, this is one of the largest and has the best atmosphere.
It's located on the Sea of Japan side, so it's not the easiest place to get to, but it's worth the trouble to visit just to enjoy this morning market!
Where is Wajima located? What is it like?
Wajima in Ishikawa Prefecture is located at the end of the Noto Peninsula, which juts out into the Sea of Japan.
From Tokyo or Osaka, take the Shinkansen or limited express train, and then change to a bus in Kanazawa to get there.
It takes about five hours in total.
It is very "rural".
The area around Wajima is full of the original Japanese scenery of sea and mountains.
On the other hand, Wajima itself has prospered since ancient times as an important port of call for trading ships that travel the Sea of Japan.
Wajima-nuri (lacquerware), one of Wajima's representative traditional crafts, has been nurtured by such trade.
In the past, Wajima was culturally developed because it was well connected to Kyoto, the center of culture, by sea.
Near the morning market, there is the Ishikawa Wajima-nuri Art Museum,
so if you are interested in Wajima-nuri and the culture of Wajima, this is also a good place to visit.
The sea around Wajima is known as one of the richest fishing grounds in the world, and you can enjoy typical Japanese seafood such as crab,
yellowtail, puffer fish, abalone, and turban shells throughout the four seasons.
What is the Wajima morning market?
It is probably one of the oldest markets in the world, having been recorded in documents dating back to the Heian period,
or more than 1,000 years ago.
It is said to have originated from the bartering of products brought together on the festival days of shrines and temples,
and gradually came to be held regularly.
Nowadays, the market is held almost all year round, except for two holidays a month.
The characteristic style of the market is that the vendors set up their stalls on the street.
The 360-meter-long " Asaichi-dori (morning market street)" is very close to the harbor.
You can feel the scent of the tide as you shop, and the atmosphere is very active.
How to enjoy the Wajima morning market
The market is open from 8:00 am to 12:00 pm every day.
The best time to visit is right after the market opens, when freshly picked seafood, produce, and flowers are lined up.
The earlier in the morning, the cleaner the air, and the more photogenic it will be.
Just to the north of the Asaichi-dori street is the parking lot and Wajima Marin Town, the last stop for the express bus from Kanazawa.
There is a tourist information center in Wajima Marin Town, where you can get a "Asaichi map".
You don't need to worry about the parking lot being crowded except during peak tourist seasons such as three-day weekends.
From Wajima Marintown, walk south along Nishikigawa-dori for about two minutes to the entrance of the morning market street.
From the end of the straight road, which is about 300 meters long,
turn left to the side of Iroha Bridge, and you will see the morning market street lined with stalls and stores on both sides.
Think of it as an L-shaped street.
There are many shoppers coming and going, so take your time to go back and forth from one side to the other.
It takes about one to two hours to enjoy the market.
There is a wide variety of goods for sale.
In addition to fresh seafood, dried fish, seaweed, vegetables, fruits, flowers and other foodstuffs,
there are also traditional crafts such as lacquer ware and chopsticks, and clothing items such as T-shirts and towels.
I bought some ita-nori seaweed and ate it as a snack for my beer at the hotel that day.
The natural scent of the seaweed, which you can never taste from the seaweed you buy at supermarkets in the city, made the night of my trip more enjoyable.
The price was only about 500 yen, so it was perfect.
The stalls also have gourmet food that can be eaten on the spot, such as grilled seafood with salt or soy sauce.
When I visited in early summer, I saw many grilled squid skewers.
The price is 300 yen per skewer.
As soon as you bite into a skewer, you instantly realize that the soy sauce really brings out the true charm of the ingredients.
Not just your sense of taste and smell, but all five senses as well.
I was so glad that I came here.
By the way, I also recommend you to taste what you buy at the beach nearby.
You can enjoy excellent seafood along with a sense of openness.
There are many restaurants in the area, so you can enjoy authentic seafood dishes such as sashimi, stewed dishes, and hot pots.
Some restaurants are open from the morning.
You can choose the one that best suits your mood.
You can experience a lot of "freshness" that you cannot experience in big cities like Tokyo or Osaka.
Gourmet food is an absolute must!
You'll be knocked out by sight, smell, and hearing for sure!
Recommendations for the Japanese countryside
Since the Noto Peninsula and Wajima are not easily accessible by Shinkansen or airplane, the tourism industry is very important to them.
They are working very hard to disseminate information on the web and Social Media, and to write in foreign languages.
Even if it is not easy to get to, there are many tourist spots that you can visit along with the morning market.
・Shiyone-Senmaida rice paddy field, which reminds us of the original satoyama landscape
・Soji-ji Temple, the home of Zen Buddhism in Japan
・Wakura Onsen, home of Japan's top hot spring inn, Kagaya
・The best seaside views such as the Notojima Bridge.
These are all landscapes that can be encountered only in Noto.
Please go out of your way to visit them!