Wajima Asaichi (Wajima Morning Market) – A bustling local morning market in a quiet port city of Wajima
Wajima in Ishikawa Prefecture, is a port city facing the Sea of Japan, situated on the Noto Peninsula. It is famed for its durable and exquisitely gorgeous lacquerware and is also home to one of Japan’s three largest morning markets, whose origin dates back more than a thousand years ago. As its name suggests, the market is an exclusively morning affair from around eight till noon. In the morning, the street is lively with locals examining various seafood and fermented foods while amused tourists stream by, browsing through lacquerware shops. Some of the products as expected, gives off the expression as being too luxurious for the average tourist. By early afternoon, the crowd disperses and the bustle of the market fades off. Such a transformation can be indeed quite surprising.
New Furukawa – a homely local bakery stall using Noto’s fresh ingredients
What seems to be an inconspicuous temporary street stall found by turning at the corner of the north-western end of the Wajima Asaichi street is a heart-warming local bakery, perfect for satiating a hungry stomach on an early morning walk. The best-selling Ika no Shiokara-pan, is made with dedication to bringout the flavours of sweetness and umami characteristic to Wajima. The pinkish salted squid, made using sea salt from Suzu peeks out through the top is matched excellently with hot mashed potato, itself unseasoned, and lightly topped off with mayonnaise. Judging by its ordinary-looking appearance can be deceiving, for its fillings packs a savoury punch.
Ryoshinomise (Fisherman’s Shop) Kodawari - Eat seafood at its freshest with generous servings!
Located on the other end of the Wajima Asaichi street, beside a nushiya (Wajima lacquering house), is a local restaurant operated by a family of fishermen. The restaurant uses Wajima lacquerware to serve their seafood dishes. The Ryoshinokaisen-don (Fishermen’s Seafood Rice Bowl), a member of the Noto-don classification, is their signature dish. At the cost of 2,000 yen, you can get a bowl of vinegared rice topped with voluminous fresh and scrumptious seafood chosen from the catch of the day obtained directly from Wajima Port. You will never know what you might get until you ask. Seafood-lovers would be mesmerised with the generous portions, the thickness of each cut of sashimi.
Nuritaro – Have a hand in Wajima lacquering at this nushiya!
Wajima lacquering is a highly-esteemed traditional Japanese craft of applying lacquer onto various wares. It is long-lasting and is adorned with exquisite designs. With such high quality, naturally comes a hefty price tag. Nushitaro offers an hour and a half workshop session for any visitor who wishes to have a shot at makie, a type of ornamental design of Japanese lacquer by sprinkling coloured metal powders. According to the master of this house, 10 grams of metal powder costs about 2,500yen while pure gold is twenty times as expensive as the coloured ones. The master is amicable and makes amusing conversations while giving thorough guidance. He is no stranger to foreign patrons and even celebrities secretly patronise the shop. Patrons can select from a range of lacquerware starting from 1,300 yen (inclusive of workshop participation fee) for chopsticks and up to 15,000 yen for other products such as plates, spoons, hairpiece, tea cups, bowls and wine glasses. While the standard designs for makie depict the beauties of nature, the guests are encouraged to draw to their own liking.
For further information, please refer to the following websites.
Wajima Morning Market Association Official Website (Japanese only)
The Urushi Amusement Nuritaro in WAJIMA (Japanese only)