By John Carter
The 580 meter long Kuromon Ichiba (Kuromon Market) boasts a variety of products sold at its 150 shops. It is a one stop for many market-goers, with the majority of its products bought by restaurant chefs from all over Osaka. From fresh fish to marinated produce, visitors will surely find something that interests them here.
The Kuromon Ichiba is just two minutes walk from Nippombashi Station. The best time to visit would be before 11 am, when you will see the stall owners setting up their displays, and get the freshest buys! Don't worry if you are one of those people who are sensitive to fishy smells, because the area is well ventilated, with many stretches of shopping arcades acting as wind tunnels and providing natural ventilation.
You may want to head over to the visitor information center before attempting to navigate the countless nooks and turns of Kuromon Ichiba. There, you can grab a map of the market and choose which section is best for you. The staff there can speak English and Chinese, as Kuromon Ichiba receives many visitors from Chinese speaking countries. If you want to cover the entire market, it would probably take you about one and a half hours, but this excludes the time you will take standing in awe watching chefs grill oysters, and the stops you will make at the many eateries.
The market is over 170 years old and over the years has proved to be a favorite among both locals and tourists. Visitors can also shop for shoes, bags, printed fabrics, lingerie, fruits and much more. A lot of the shop owners have adapted themselves to speak some English and Chinese so you don't need to worry about not being able to ask which sauce you want on your grilled oysters.
Don't forget to check out their fruit stalls and look out for the most expensive melon I've come across in Osaka! Neatly packaged, with perfect looking stem still attached to it, the melon was priced at US $150. It wasn't even that big, just slightly smaller than the average melon size. Who knows what glorious flavor awaits in it. Maybe you can give it a try and let me know!
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