There are many popular dishes in Kanazawa that you’ll want to try. The sweet, not spicy, Kanazawa curry, Hanton rice which is a specialty of the city, and of course, oden which is a mix of seafood and vegetables in a dashi broth. We love them all, but the sashimi and hot rice bowl that is kaisendon is our top favorite.
The best restaurants in Kanazawa where you can go to try kaisen don are in Omicho Market. The market has been an important part of the food culture of our city for over three centuries. While it’s fascinating to see the immense variety of fresh produce at the market, some of it you’ll recognise and some you might not, it’s more exciting to taste it.
Omicho Market (also known as Omicho Ichiba) is a market located a 5-min. bus ride from Kanazawa Station. You’ll find over 170 shops & restaurants selling fresh seafood, fruits, vegetables, local delicacies, sushi, kaisendon and more.
The seafood and vegetables sold in Omicho Market are of the freshest and highest quality to be found in Kanazawa city. Although it will vary by shop, shops at Omicho Market open from 9AM. Many local people and restaurant owners go there in the early morning to purchase what they need for the day so it can be a little hectic. We recommend going mid-morning, between 10am and 11am, when you’ll find the rush time is over and it’ll be quieter.
After you’ve wandered through the market and had your senses stimulated by the incredible sights and smells, you’ll be more than ready to eat. Don’t leave it too late for lunch though as most food places in the market close at 3pm.
|Omicho Market Information|
|Address||50 Kamiomicho, Kanazawa, Ishikawa 920-0905|
|Access||・5 min. bus ride from Kanazawa Station
・14 min. walk from Kanazawa Station
|Hours||9AM~5PM (Varies on the shop)
We recommend heading there between 10AM~12PM to see the bustling market in action
|Holiday||Varies from store to store
(Some stores are closed on Wednesdays and Sundays when the central market is closed)
Deciding which restaurant to go to in Omicho Market can be difficult, there’s so many, but we recommend you try a kaisendon while you’re here. They’re the ones we go to regularly so we know you’ll love them as much as we do.
Simply put, kaisendon is a seafood bowl. A bowl of fresh rice is topped with either an assortment of sashimi (such as tuna, salmon, squid, salmon roe, crab, sea urchin, and more), or just one single ingredient (i.e. salmon sashimi only). It is commonly enjoyed very simply, with just soy sauce and wasabi so that you can taste the umami that the fresh sashimi delivers.
Keep reading for our top 5 favorite places to eat kaisendon when visiting Omicho Market.
The kaisendon they serve at Yutaka is art in a sushi bowl created from Omicho Market produce. Every morning you can find, if you’re up early enough, the chef from the Yutaka restaurant at the market’s fish auction. It’s there he purchases, among other fish, the Nodoguro which is a black throat perch used for the house speciality, Yutaka Saikyo Don.
When you want to taste just a small sample of nodoguro then the nodoguro nigiri sushi is perfect, but we know it won’t be enough. One bite and you’ll want more so skip the nigiri sushi and have a proper tasting. The kaisendon at Yukata is one of the best there is so don’t be surprised to see a queue at their door.
When we can’t get to Omicho Market to eat kaisendon at lunchtime, we go to a restaurant called Amatsubo. Amatsubo is still in the market, but they serve food until six in the evening. That’s good to remember if you’ve been out for the day sightseeing in the Kazue-machi district or at Kanazawa Castle and want to eat kaisendon when you get back.
Amatsubo have been serving their sushi bowls & oden for over fifty years. Don’t mistake the kaisendon for chirashi though as they have that on the photo menu, too. The two dishes look very similar and in fact, kaisendon was inspired by chirashi, but they are different. The rice in chirashi is flavored with vinegar so it has a completely different taste. As well as their spectacular kaisendon, Amatsubo is famous for Kanazawa oden (which is a must-try when in Kanazawa city) so there’s plenty of variety on the menu to choose from.
They also have a great selection of locally made Japanese sake – so have a drink when you stop by for their kaisendon. Kanpai!
|Address||38-1 Shimotsutsumicho, Kanazawa, Ishikawa 920-0917|
|Holidays||Closed on Holidays (subject to change)|
Until you see the menu signs of the Ushioya restaurant you may think it’s another market stall selling fresh fish & seafood. It looks a little different though, as the fish displayed at the front of Ushioya is pre-packaged ready to be taken away as souvenirs of Omicho Market. Ushioya isn’t a secret restaurant, although it can appear to be as the tables are hidden away at the back. There’s only room enough for twenty diners so you often have to wait for a seat, but we promise that it’s always worth the wait.
At Ushioya they’ve been thrilling the taste buds of their customers with their unique kaisendon sushi bowls since 1978. How? Try their tataki sushi bowls (sashimi pieces that are seared to perfection for a fantastic texture, aroma and taste), which they specialize in, and you’ll soon know how. The tataki are all hand-grilled by the chefs, has an irresistibly delicious aroma on the outside.
Ushioya is also popular for their sushi bowl that comes with gold-plated nodoguro (blackthroat seaperch) and salmon roe so that’s something else you may want to try. If you don’t know which kaisendon to go for, we recommend:
|Address||88 Aokusamachi, Kanazawa, Ishikawa 920-0907|
|Holidays||Closed on Holidays (subject to change)|
Kaisendon Hikariya is one restaurant that’s easy to spot when you’re walking through Omicho Market. They have eye-catching red banners hanging outside, but don’t let them distract you from the images on the menu. You’ll want to feast your eyes on those.
Kaisendon Hikariya’s signature menu is the “Maruhidon” (3 types). The reason why their signature kaisendon is unique is that each can be enjoyed twice: (1) Enjoy your kaisendon bowl with a special sesame and soy sauce. When you’ve enjoyed about half of your sushi bowl, (2) pour over umami-packed, piping hot dashi stock on top! The exquisite seafood combined with the flavorful dashi soup stock will definitely leave you wanting more.
Kaisendon Hikariya is a great spot to try kaisen don if you’re with family or friends as they have more tables than other restaurants in Omicho Market. Some are big enough to accommodate a small group of six or eight people, but there’s also comfortable counter spaces where you can sit if you’re on your own. The sushi bowls here are more economical than other restaurants, but they still deliver on quality and taste.
|Address||26 Shimoomicho, Kanazawa, Ishikawa 920-0904|
|Holidays||Closed on Mondays & Holidays (subject to change)|
By putting Kaisendon Hirai at the end of our list of places to eat kaisendon in Omicho Market, we may have saved the best to last. But that’s something you will decide for yourself when you try kaisendon there. We love Kaisendon Hirai because it’s smart and modern and has an open kitchen so you can watch the chefs preparing the food. They have a special touch too which is noticeable when the sushi bowls are placed in front of you. Before you start to eat, you’ll want to take a photograph for your Instagram as these sushi bowls are truly beautiful.
One of the charms of this restaurant is its Japanese cuisine, which uses carefully selected seasonal ingredients. In winter, you can enjoy a crab menu, as well as a dish using Kaga vegetables and Kanazawa’s local cuisine “jibuni”. We would eat lunch here every day if we could!
|Address||88 Aokusamachi Kanazawa, Ishikawa
2F of Omicho Ichibakan Building
|Holidays||Closed on Holidays (Subject to Change)|