Japan is renowned for its fish markets, with almost every city having some kind of delicious fishy place to offer its citizens. However, it is understandable that the cities located right on the sea shore would have bigger and more developed fish markets than those that are located in the center of the country. As a huge lover of all kinds of sea food, I decided that it was time that I visited the closest fish market to my city, which was Hofu.
You will need the help of a GPS to get to the Shiosai fish market because it isn’t located near any particularly big building or popular sightseeing places. It is located in the bottom floor of a small building right on the sea shore. It may not be as big as some of the other fish markets in Japan, like the one in Osaka, but it is full of fresh products at very reasonable prices.
I arrived at about 11 am and it was jam-packed with people. From what I understood from the locals, the market had opened at 7 am (although the website says 9 am), which meant that my amateur arrival at 11 was a little ‘late’ for a fish market. In fact, the locals also told me that some people start to queue up at 5 am to get the best fish and sea food available. If you aren’t a restaurant owner though there is no need to queue up so early, because whenever you arrive, you will be greeted with beautiful products fresh out of the sea.
The sales people were very friendly and explained their products to me in English as I was passing by. I love mussels and all kinds of shell fish, so I stopped at a stand to buy a kilo of them and was greeted with big smiles and even tips on how to prepare them! You don’t have to buy anything if you don’t want to because you can freely stroll around the stands and familiarize yourself with all that Japan has to offer in terms of seafood. And it has a lot to offer indeed!
There is also a small restaurant and a number of food stalls which serve already prepared food that you can either order as a take away, or you can eat it at one of the tables. I didn’t stay to eat at the restaurant, but I did buy a fresh sushi lunch for about 500 yen which had a total of 10 sushi pieces in it. You will also find many traditional sweets being sold here at very low prices!
There is a huge collection of additional foods that you can buy at the market, all of which are designed to go with the seafood when you decide to prepare it. This includes spices, sauces and pre-made soups, which are frequently homemade by the locals.
Once you’ve finished looking around the fish market do not miss the chance to stroll out onto the pier, where you will notice a few fisherman and the beautiful view of the sea. It is a very quiet place that becomes even quieter when the fish market no longer has customers, but I believe that it is a great morning spot for anyone visiting Hofu, and the perfect place to buy wonderful food. The fish market closes at 6 pm, but the earlier you get there the better!
Address: 2-3 ShinTsukijicho, Hofu 747-0824, Yamaguchi Prefecture
Website(in Japanese): http://www.shiosai-hofu.jp/