Also known as the Kitchen of Kochi or Nichiyo-ichi, the Sunday Market has continued for over 300 years.
We'll introduce 3 different ways to make the most out of your day at the Sunday Market.
400 stalls stretching over 1km
The Sunday Market stretches along the road towards Kochi Castle for about 1.3km. Every Sunday, about 400 stalls line the street selling fresh fruit and vegetables, breads and sweets, bonsai and other plants, kitchen knives, arts, crafts and more! What's more is that the market has a big focus on "made in Kochi"; for the most part, sellers are also the makers/growers.
The Sunday Market is bustling with locals and tourists alike, and runs from morning until late afternoon.
How to enjoy the Sunday Market #1: Check out the foods that Kochi is famous for!
Among the abundant fresh produce lining the market, be sure to pay special attention to the fruit tomato. First produced in Kochi, the fruit tomato is so-called due to its sweetness.
Juicy and with just the right amount of acidity, these delicious tomatoes are sold year round. Some of the stalls even sell them ready-to-eat.
Kochi is also famous for being the biggest producer of ginger, and the prefecture is synonymous with buntan (a citrus fruit that has a flavour similar to a grapefruit). There are also ingredients that you might not be used to seeing, like ryukyu (a vegetable that is an important staple in local home cooking).
From the rare to local specialties, you can get a first-hand view into the food culture of Kochi here.
How to enjoy the Sunday Market #2: Great street food!
Walking along the many stalls while tasting all the delicious street food is one of the best ways to enjoy the Sunday Market. Try fresh juices made using locally grown yuzu, buntan, ginger; traditional snacks like manju and mochi; skewers, Japanese pickles and more!
One of the most popular of these street foods is imo-ten; tempura sweet potatoes with a crispy outside, and light and fluffy on the inside. Obanyaki, a pancake with jam-like paste made from yuzu, is another crowd favorite. Watch them being made, and eat them fresh off the hotplate!
Other notable Kochi favorites available at the market include aisukurin (a sort of dairy sorbet) and inakazushi (a special sushi made with vegetables instead of fish, and yuzu-scented rice).
How to enjoy the Sunday Market #3: Shopping & Souvenirs
The Sunday Market offers a huge range of local produce, but there is more than just food here. You can find stalls offering handicrafts and hardware like Tosa coral earrings, wooden coasters cut with Japanese patterns, and Tosa hand-forged kitchen knives that have been carefully crafted here for 400 years. Bags made from repurposed kimono and vibrant fishing boat flags, mini bonsai, and hand-carved wooden masks are some of the more traditional Japanese handicrafts available.
Other souvenir ideas include jams and pickles, dried fruits and locally grown Japanese green tea. Take your time walking through the Sunday Market and see what great finds you can pick up!
The City of Markets! Other great markets in Kochi
There are several other regular markets that take place in Kochi.
Tuesday Market - Open every Tuesday
Around 40 stalls set up on boards laid over an old water conduit. Stretching for about 250m, you can shop while enjoying the historical scenery.
Hours: 6:00am until an hour before sunset
Place: 4~5 chome, Kami-machi, Kochi City
Thursday Market - Open every Thursday
The second largest market after the Sunday Market. Around 70 stalls line up in the business district of Kencho-mae.
Hours: Sunrise to an hour before sunset
Place: Kencho-mae, Kochi City
Friday Market - Open every Friday
A street market with a strong local feel, held under a railway viaduct.
Hours: Sunrise to an hour before sunset
Place: 1 chome, Atago-machi, Kochi City
Kochi Organic Market: Ike Park Saturday Market - Open every Saturday
With organic being the main concept, this market offers chemical-free produce, additive-free processed goods, and crafts made using natural materials. About 50 stalls gathered in a tree-filled park.
Hours: 8:00am to 2:00pm (until 12:00pm in July and August)
Place: (Kochi Ike Park) 2311-1 Ike, Kochi City
Sunday Seaside Market - Open on the 2nd Sunday of the month
Held in the port town of Kuroshio. Local produce, handmade processed foods and handicrafts are on offer. Live events and picture book storytelling are sometimes held at the market.
Hours: 9:00am to 2:00pm
Place: 388 Irino, Kuroshio Town (next to the Tosa Seinan Daikibo Park Gymnasium)