After you make your way to the designated meeting point, your guide greets you and provides an overview of the beginnings of the Nishiki Market. Walk through the market alleyways to see a Shinto shrine that marks the birthplace of the market.
Also known as ‘Kyoto's kitchen,’ Nishiki Market is located inside a fully enclosed building and stays open year-round selling the ingredients and specialty items that make Kyoto a famous food destination. You can find all things food related at numerous vendor stalls, shops and kitchens, including fresh seafood and produce, savory and sweet snacks, bowls of ramen, sake, Kyoto specialties, cookware and more.
Your expert guide — who may be a chef, a food critic, or a culinary historian or anthropologist — leads you to the best spots in the large market. Sample a range of foods throughout the tour as your guide shares informative commentary about what the foods you taste at the different stalls. You'll get to try several Kyoto-specific foods, like tsukemono (pickled vegetables), wagashi (Japanese tea sweets), traditional Kyoto vegetables and more before enjoying a full lunch.
During the tour, learn about the four types of Kyoto cuisine: obanzai (home cooking), kaiseki (which developed out of the tea ceremony), vegetarian shojin-ryori (eaten at Zen temples) and yusoku-ryori (cuisine of the imperial court). Your guide also explains washoku (traditional Japanese food), which has become increasingly popular around the world and is now on UNESCO’s Intangible Cultural Heritage list.
By the end of the tour, you’ll have a new appreciation for Japanese cuisine and a deeper understanding of Kyoto’s culinary offerings.