{Japan: Eat} A Seafood Breakfast At Sapporo’s Nijo Fish Market

my breakfast close up

In a Nutshell:

  • Where: Nijo Market, Sapporo, Hokkaido
  • When: October 6, 2013
  • *Notes: open from around 7 AM – 6 PM, a variety of fresh seafood and produce is sold here, approx. 5-minutes away from Odori Station on foot, a number of restaurants serve up seafood donburis (fresh fish on top of a bowl of rice)

Full Report:

On a crisp Sunday morning in early October, M and I set out from our hotel to walk to Sapporo’s famous Nijo Market.  Comprised of over 50 restaurants and stalls selling all sorts of seafood and local produce, we had heard from multiple sources that this was the place to get one of the best breakfasts in the city.  In particular, we had been told that we needed to try a donburi ~ fresh seafood atop a bowl of rice.

As sashimi is one of our favorite things to eat and we were quite hungry, we walked along very briskly until we reached the block where the market was.   It looked exactly like it had in the pictures I’d seen of it: rows and rows of vendors with their wares set out in front for customers to peruse.

And what wares there were!  Crab, scallops, a variety of fish, shellfish, melons, corn, potatoes, packaged ramen, and even butter.

morning market 1

nijo market people walking

nijo market storefront

nijo market crabs 2


ikura and uni

nijo market corn 2

nijo market potatoes

nijo market melons

nijo market scallops

nijo market seafood variety 2

nijo market butter

Almost every store we passed by had a worker in the front calling out to customers and urging them to buy, buy, buy.  One friendly gentleman approached me and said, “I saw you looking at my crabs, I think you might like one?”

As we walked by the stalls, we were also taking note of each and every donburi restaurant that we passed.  M kept looking at me and raising his eyebrows questioningly, “Do you want to eat at this one?”  They all looked so good that I was having a very hard time deciding.  Finally, when we were back at the very corner where we’d started from I said, “This is it, let’s eat here!”

nijo market restaurant 1

donburi restaurant

restaurant sign

exterior of restaurant we ate at

The restaurant that we ended up eating at.

our restaurants sign

The restaurant had a large banner outside with pictures of all their different donburis.

Once inside, we discovered that the restaurant was a very cozy little hole in the wall comprised of only 2 tables.  It appeared to be run by a middle-aged couple, with the wife taking orders and serving and the husband masterfully putting the bowls together behind the counter.  We were immediately each given a cup of hot tea, and as we had already decided what we wanted from the outside banner we were able to give our orders right away.  I opted for #15 (salmon, uni, maguro, octopus, ikura, shrimp) while M went with #21 (maguro and salmon in the shape of a rose).

When the food arrived, we were momentarily speechless.  The pictures I took really do the donburis no justice.  The colors of all the different types of seafood just seemed to jump out at us and you could practically see the freshness of the fish.  As for the taste?  It was like heaven in a bowl.  I ate every last scrap, even the octopus which I normally really don’t like.  And lo and behold, even that tasted good!

restaurant we ate at interior


my breakfast

m breakfast