Winter in Hokkaido Part 4 – Curb Market (Sapporo Jōgai Ichiba)

(This post is part of an ongoing travelogue. To start at the very beginning, click here.)

In every major city in Japan, there is at least one market where seafood is sold. Usually, you can pick your fresh seafood, go to restarant nearby and they can cook the food for you there and then. In Kyoto, you have Nishiki market. In Tokyo, there is, of course the world famous Tsukiji fish market. In Seoul, we have also visited a similar market called Noryangjin. Here in Sapporo, they have two – Curb Market (Sapporo Jōgai Ichiba) and Nijo market. In preparing this itinerary, I was rather undecided on which one to visit. Nijo is smaller, but is in the city centre. In the end i decided to go to Curb Market, as it was on the way back from the Chocolate Factory.

Curb Market (or its full English name, Sapporo Wholesale Central Market) is a street of about 30 shops on both sides all selling fresh, frozen and pre-packed seafood, and other local delicacies. It’s best to time your visit early in the day, and plan to have a meal there. To get here, take the Tozai Subway line and exit at Nijuyonken station.

Once you arrive at the street, you will notice that the strip of shops is quite short. Surrounding the area, there are other restaraunts, but most tourists concentrate here.

(that’s how short the street is)

Most shops here have an eating area at the rear.

(all the different kinds of crabs available)

(Horsehair crab)

Hokkaido is famous for its crabs, namely Horsehair Crab (small prickly thorns), King Crab (the biggest crab you’ll ever see), Hanasaki Crab (large sharp thorns) and Snow Crab (long legs). In addition to crabs, they are also famous for Ikura Donburi (salmon roe rice bowl) and yubari melon. You should try all these here in Curb Market.

(snow crab legs)

(not sure what kind of crab this is)

(the king crab for size comparison. They make you sanitize your hands first)

(its not just crabs. they have fish, too)

Some shops have a supermarket of sorts inside where you can buy other frozen or packed delicacies. Or you can even freeze pack your purchases and they will arrange to freight it to your country.

(one of our favourite Hokkaido products)

(hmmm… is this some kind of aphrodisiac…?)

So after walking through all the shops, time to decide where to eat. Honestly, they all look the same, with almost similar prices and products. So we just picked one that had a large selection. They led us to a small seating area beside the supermarket behind. The menu was in English and Japanese, and many different sets and offers available (and also somewhat confusing). They also have free flow of green tea and soup.

This was our lunch for 4 people. We ordered the snow crab (top), and king crab (left), unagi, ikura donburi (salmon roe rice bowl) and a rice set.

(our snow crab)

The verdict? We love unagi, and this was one of the best we tasted, comparable to the one we had in Arashiyama. As for the crabs, they tasted good, easy to eat, but we’re not really big fans of crabs. But it was good experience.

For dessert, we tried the yubari melon. Very cheap, sweet and juicy. This is a must try. They’re available all over Hokkaido. You can even get yubari ice cream.

Next – Snow Festival at the Tsudome

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