Breakfast at the Shiogama Seafood Wholesale Market
Miyagi is Well-Known for Food
Miyagi Prefecture is well known for the abundance, variety, and quality of different food available here. From vegetables and produce like strawberries and Sendai Seri and local specialties such as Gyutan and Zunda, this is a foodie’s paradise. Which is another reason we love it in Sendai. And one of our favorites is the seafood. From local stores to the famous Asaichi Market, seafood is fresh and abundant here. And there is no better place for it than the famous Shiogama Seafood Wholesale Market.
The Shiogama Seafood Wholesale Market
Shiogama is a small town on the east coast of Japan, just north of Sendai. It is easily accessible by car and only a short train ride from Sendai Station. We first heard of the fish market from friends we met at the Sakura Festival earlier this year. They highly recommended that we check it out, so a while back on a Saturday morning, we took them up on it. The train ride to Shiogama took about 30 minutes. From the Shin-Shiogama station, it is only a short bus ride to the Shiogama Seafood Wholesale Market.
From the outside, the Shiogama Seafood Wholesale Market is not overly impressive. Housed in a non-descript building a block from the Shiogama waterfront, it looks like many other buildings on the waterfront. Only the busy parking lot indicates this is something a little different.
Home of the Maguro Tuna Fleet
We headed straight for the main entrance and found ourselves in a cavernous building bustling with activity. Shiogama is the home port of the Japanese Maguro Tuna fleet. And it was hard to miss a few specimens being carted around, or sawn and cut into smaller pieces for sale. Goma and Pixel (our two Neko) would have loved it! But the variety of fresh seafood available for purchase attracts more than tuna lovers. The Shiogama Seafood Wholesale Market is primarily used by restaurants and smaller markets. Still, it is open to the general public as well.
When you first enter the building, you might be overwhelmed by the sheer number of stalls and vendors. Take the time to walk around and check out the different options. Some vendors specialize in a particular type of fish or seafood, others offer a wider variety. Because the market is open to the public, many vendors provide packaged fresh seafood. And there is a good reason for that!
The Shiogama Seafood Wholesale Market as a Breakfast Place?
Well, technically, you don’t have to eat your breakfast (or lunch) there. But towards the back of the market is a place where you can bring the seafood you just bought, buy a bowl of rice and a drink, and make your own Chirashi or sushi rice bowl. If you like, you can also grill or steam your purchase out back if raw seafood is not to your liking. Once you are all set, simply grab a seat at one of the long tables and dig in.
We were both hungry, having skipped breakfast, and the seafood options made our mouths water! After we took a walk around to familiarize ourselves with the available options, we started assembling our breakfast. Starting with Uni (sea urchin), we collected enough raw seafood to start a small sushi restaurant.
After adding two bowls of sushi rice, tea for me, and breakfast Sake for Coco, we grabbed a seat and planned our sushi bowls. Some items, like fresh sea urchin, we wanted to eat right away. But we quickly discovered that even with a 70/30 fish to rice ratio, we had more seafood than we could manage for breakfast. Believe me, we tried our best! But there is nothing wrong with take-home, is there?
A Great Place to Buy Seafood
After we had breakfast, we decided to take another look around and buy some more goodies to take home with us. Most of the \vendors were very friendly and more than happy to tell us about their offerings, share family recipes, provide samples, and pack our purchases in ice for the way home.
In addition to fresh seafood, the Shiogama Seafood Wholesale Market also offers other seafood products, such as dried, marinated or salted seafood, spices, and dressings. We even noticed a few dried fish heads, apparently for medicinal purposes. You can also find recipe books, cooking utensils and knives, and a range of other items related to the seafood industry.
We much enjoyed our first trip to the Shiogama Seafood Wholesale Market, and we will definitely be back. Next time we look forward to grilling some fresh seafood and sampling some different seafood as well. While much of the seafood is local, the market also sells seafood from other areas, such as Hokkaido.
A Few Tips Before You Go
This is a wholesale fish market, not a fancy grocery store. Before you visit the Shiogama Seafood Wholesale Market keep these things in mind:
- The market opens at 3 AM and closes at 1 PM. Come early for the best selection.
- The floors are wet and slippery, so wear appropriate shoes.
- If you plan to buy seafood to take home, bring a cooler, especially during the hot summer months.
- There are blood and fish guts. If you are squeamish, look the other way.
Shiogama Seafood Wholesale Market Info:
Address: 1 Chome-20-74 Shinhamacho, Shiogama, Miyagi 985-0001
|Monday||3 AM–1 PM|
|Tuesday||3 AM–1 PM|
|Thursday||3 AM–1 PM|
|Friday||3 AM–1 PM|
|Saturday||3 AM–2 PM|
|Sunday||6 AM–2 PM|
If you would like to join us on one of our food tours or get a personal tour of Sendai, please feel free to contact us for rates and availability.