Nijo Fish Market
A market with over 100 years of history, reverberating with the calls of vendors
*Updated November 21, 2019
Nijo Fish Market is said to have developed in the early Meiji Period (1868 – 1912), when fishermen from Ishikari Bay started selling fresh fish there. The market originally spanned the Sosei River, running from Nishi 1-chome to Higashi 2-chome. Over time, the number of bars and greengrocers in the area began to increase, laying the foundations for today’s Nijo Fish Market. The market continues to serve local residents’ culinary needs to this day, and is also popular with visitors to the city thanks in part to its central location.
Fresh seafood from all over Hokkaido at the best prices
Hokkaido is surrounded by the sea on all sides and is a treasure trove of seafood. As its main city, Sapporo acts as a focal point for the freshest catches from all over the island. Nijo Fish Market boasts 15 fisheries and fishmongers selling that day’s catch. The array of seafood on display, including crabs and hokke (Okhotsk atka mackerel), also makes for a feast for the eyes. Each store has its own unique selection and it’s interesting to see the differences between them.
In addition to fresh food, a number of shops sell dried fish and other processed seafood products. Of course, you can take your purchases home with you on the day, but many vendors also offer delivery for an extra fee, meaning you don’t have to worry about carrying them with you on the rest of your trip.
Don’t forget your fruit and vegetables! Tasting is the best part of market day
Nijo Fish Market also has an abundance of vendors selling delicious fruit and vegetables, from Hokkaido’s iconic melons to grapes and apples. Corn on the cob, another Hokkaido favorite, is also available in summer and makes for a great gift.
Many places offer samples, and once you’ve experienced the taste of Hokkaido’s produce, you’ll be sure to want to take some home with you.
Hidden delights for the eagle-eyed
It can be easy to lose yourself in the constant hustle and bustle of the market, especially during the busy morning period. However, taking a moment to look around and soak up the atmosphere reveals a variety of adornments that give the feeling of a port town, such as lanterns made from glass fishing floats and signboards in the shape of fish.
The statues by the side of the road, one boy and one girl, are the mascots of Nijo Fish Market, making it a popular spot to take pictures. The roadside location means the area gets cold and in winter gas heaters are situated at various points. Warm clothing is still essential, but the warm air as you walk past makes for a welcome spot of relief.
Enjoying the taste of fresh seafood
There are restaurants in the market for those who want to eat fresh fish right away, with 6 stores, offering sushi, seafood rice bowls and grilled seafood, and some of the market vendors also have eat-in areas. Nothing beats the taste of fresh seafood at market.
More places to discover
In addition to those on the street, there are more stores inside. Heading into one of the entrances between Minami 3-jo and Minami 4-jo along the Sosei River yields a completely different atmosphere from outside. A little away from the river, there is also Noren Yokocho, which is home to restaurants with incredible seafood and places to enjoy a quiet drink.
A stone’s throw from Sapporo TV tower
Turn away from Nijo Fish Market and Sapporo TV Tower can be seen peeking out between the other buildings. Soseigawa Park, located at the base of the tower, is dotted with sculptures and is the perfect place to catch a breather as the Sosei River flows gently by.