Nishiki Market / Kyoto
Nishiki Market in Kyoto is the perfect place to snag an edible gift for the foodie in your life. One of our favorite local delicacies? Nukazuke—pickles seasoned with chilli, ginger, kombu seaweed or other ingredients—are utterly delicious. Photographed by Shinsuke Matsukawa.
Published on Mar 21, 2016
What is nukazuke? Nukazuke is an important staple of the Japanese diet, and dates back to a time when bitter winters afforded few opportunities to eat vegetables. Families would pickle the produce they grew by fermenting them in rice bran (nuka), so they would have a store to last through the season. Traditionally every Japanese family would have their own “nuka bed” in their home which would include the rice bran and other seasonings such as salt, chili, ginger and dried kombu seaweed. Every recipe would be a little different based on what the family put in their “nuka bed” and how long they left it to pickle. The nukazuke provided much-needed vitamins during the long Japanese winter, but now they are eaten out of an appreciation for the taste rather than neccessity; the rich umami flavor is delicious alone or as a complement to other dishes. Each region has different types of nukazuke, but some of the most famous come from Kyoto.