An Encounter with the Most Delicious Fish in Itoigawa



An Encounter with the Most Delicious Fish in Itoigawa



I fancied some tasty, fresh fish. I was looking for a place with a fish market too, and if that fish market had an auction, all the better. So I headed for the city of Itoigawa in Niigata Prefecture, which, thanks to the opening of the Hokuriku Shinkansen bullet train line, is now only a couple of hours away from Tokyo.
As well as the fish market, Itoigawa is famous for its jade, a semitransparent gemstone with a mysterious color and sparkle; its spectacular topography including the Fossa Magna rift zone (a large trench created when the Japanese archipelago was formed); and the wonders of nature. As I was strolling through the city, I suddenly came across a really nostalgic retro shopping arcade.


Hakubasanroku Prefectural Natural Park (Legend has it that Takanami Pond, in the center of the photo, is inhabited by a giant fish.)

Shopping Arcade on Former Kaga Kaido Reminiscent of Edo Period

Leaving Itoigawa Station on the Sea of Japan side and walking toward the coast, after a couple of blocks I came to a genuinely Japanese-style shopping arcade built with timber. The shops in the arcade, called Gangi Street, have long hanging eaves typical of snowy regions; hence the name gangi, which means “covered alley.” Even after a heavy snowfall, people are able to walk to and fro under the eaves and do their shopping. The timber adds a feeling of warmth to the arcade.

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