Akita Citizens Market

Where locals come for free market action

By Bonson Lam    - 3 min read

The Citizens Market sounds like some throwback to the Soviet era, to a time where the socialist utopia promised enough food for all. There are no posters advancing the workers’ progress however, and if you want to see pictures of a workers and farmers movement, you may be better off heading down to the aptly named red brick building to view the works at the Tokushi Katsuhira Memorial.

On the other hand, if you want to find out where the locals come to participate in some free market action, this is the place.

In a small city like Akita, word gets out quickly on where the freshest and best food is to be found. If you want the best and freshest of all, you must go to the markets. Even the film crew from the TV series “Iris” came here to sample the wares, and you can imagine shopping with Yuki and Seonhwa here.

For many gourmets these markets bring out their inner chef, however if you don’t want to cook, try the many eateries strategically dotted next to the fresh food markets. You can’t get much fresher than the live, swimming fish. You can get Chinese style soba for just 650 yen, but for my money, try the Ichiban sushi restaurant. They serve the most delicious seafood and the best Akita komachi rice grain. Imagine what you can expect from matching the best of the best.

I know there are two kinds of gourmets. One who likes to follow the best brands, and where the atmosphere and decor is an important part of the experience. The other kind just goes for the food, no matter what the decor looks like. The former can try the boutique sushi restaurants in Tsukiji. But for somewhere more earthy and casual, and still reminiscent of the Tsukiji markets, you can’t beat the Ichiban sushi restaurant in the Akita markets. What it lacks in fancy decor, it more than makes up in taste, as you can taste some of the regional fish not available elsewhere served as sushi. There are no tourists here, no globalized bland menus, and even Japanese from other prefectures will find this place exotic sampling the unique regional cuisine and even more unique regional dialects. If you can speak fluent Japanese, ask about the local fish but it is okay if you don't understand every word of the Akita dialect perfectly. Just sit back, relax and enjoy the earthy friendly banter of this relaxed country market. And if you can’t, have a look at the seasonal fish posters around the market. This is possibly one of the best fish markets outside Tsukiji in Tokyo.

While you are at it, check out the 87 stalls in the market, from fish, to packaged izakaya food and vegetable stalls. It must be one of the biggest yet easy to navigate markets around. You can even send anything you buy to your family or friends in Japan directly via the takkyubin parcel service as you pay at the cashier.

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Bonson Lam

Bonson Lam @bonson.lam

I knew my future was destined to be with Japan the moment I flew from Sydney to experience the atmospheric lane ways of Kyoto last century. From the skies above Sapporo to the old charm of Naha's alleyways, I have been enchanted by the beauty and variety on every island. I am humbled to have met many distinguished people in my role as Regional Partner, especially the national living treasures of Japan, such as the doll maker to the Imperial Family. From sushi cooking classes to Ninja training grounds I welcome your ideas on what you like from JapanTravel.com. Please visit us in Kyoto or Osaka and have some green tea or sake with us. 

Join the discussion

tubo 9 years ago
I like fresh fish and fruit .So I want to go to Akita. If I visit Akita I want to eat various local oroducts and enjy shopping
pochi 9 years ago
I have not been to Akita and I do not know about Akita.
If I go to Akita, I want to eat fresh seafood and the best rice grain of Akita komachi. Especially I like sushi. SOo I want to try the Ichiban sushi restaurant.
saya 9 years ago
I knew that there are a lot of fresh and delicious food in Akita.
I want to visit Tsukiji once because action seemed to be interesting.
I want to buy fishes there.