A Specialty Shopping Area Surviving the Times

Meet you at Nijo Market! – Part 3

Sapporo's Nijo Market- 150 years of history. I learned why people walk through it, eat here, and have loved it for many years.
Words by Aratame Nanae
Photographs by Rumiko Ito
Translation by Xene Inc.

A fish expert is here

Like all fish markets, Nijo differs from a supermarket, with fewer cooked and small portion products, and a shop staff who can determine freshness, possess knowledge on seasonal fish and preparation techniques.
Ikeda Kunihisa, owner of the fish shop "Ikeda Shoten," is an expert who has worked in the wholesale fish industry since he was a teenager.

Ikeda Kunihisa

For him, cleaning fish as requested by his customers and explaining how to cook it, is easy. As I talked with him, I naturally began to think "I want to eat fish from here," and "I want to buy from this shop." It must be the fun of face-to face sales. Nijo market is a place where you can meet professionals with knowledge and skill at work, and feel the richness of the seafood culture. 

As a buyer, you should be careful not to judge an item just by its price. Prices at Nijo are higher than at a supermarket, but once you actually buy and eat it, you can definitely tell the difference in quality. I felt bad that I used to avoid the area because I thought it was a tourist spot. From now, I plan to enjoy the happiness of having a fish market nearby.

Nijo market hasn't changed

If Sosei Higashi area is thought of as “downtown Sapporo,” then Nijo market may appear to be a symbolic representation of the area with its arcade roof which has served for many years, small family-owned shops pressed close together, and the narrow streets.

However, there was time when building reconstruction was proposed. According to the head director of the Sapporo Nijo Uomachi Business Co-op, Sasaki Kazuo, "About 30 years ago, there was a plan to convert the lower floors of the buildings into shops, and the upper floors into residences. But if that happened, this market wouldn't be here." Certainly, if everything was made modern and practical, the unique atmosphere of the market would be lost.

Sasasaki Kazuo

What will happen to Nijo market among the rapidly changing streets of Sapporo? Up to now, it has continued to soundly and wisely change and will no doubt continue to stand after this generation. It may look stubborn, but it may also have capacity to accept the changes of city and people better than anywhere else.

Nijo Market
Higashi 1-chome and 2-chome, Chuo-ku Sapporo, Japan

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