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Giant Crab For Crazy Cheap Prices: Inside the Famous Sapporo Central Wholesale Market!

Giant Crab For Crazy Cheap Prices: Inside the Famous Sapporo Central Wholesale Market!

Date published: 24 January 2020

The Sapporo City Central Wholesale Market is affectionately referred to as “Hokkaido’s Kitchen.”

The seas around Hokkaido are fertile fishing grounds providing salmon, herring, mackerel, Atka mackerel, and several other marine products. The market also receives shipments of potatoes and other vegetables, as well as melons and different kinds of fruit, from all parts of Hokkaido.

The general public is not able to enter the Central Wholesale Market—however, anyone can shop in the Outer (or “Curb”) Market! Here products are received directly from the wholesale market supplying around 60 retailers and eating establishments with the freshest produce imaginable.

Access: Take the subway from Sapporo to the Outer Market

You can get to the Outer Market by taking either the JR line to Soen Station or the Tozai subway line to Nijuyon-ken Station. The walk from the latter is shorter.
From the Odori subway station, it is only five stops away on the Tozai Line and takes only 9 minutes to get to Nijuyon-ken Station. Go out the No. 5 exit, and it is only a 7-minute walk to the entrance of the Outer Market. Around the market place, small delivery vehicles called turret trucks rush about delivering products to the various outlets.

A turret truck making a delivery to the Outer Market

The Outer Market Main Street

The Outer Market is divided into ten blocks with shops lined up along both sides of the road. Not only are there shops facing the street, but many more behind them as well, and these are worth exploring. To the right of the entrance is the Kita no Gurume-tei, a shop where you can also eat seafood bowls. Crabs are lined up in front of the shop, and the place is often lively with foreign visitors. If you look up on the left side, you will see the large sign for the Outer Market.

Shops and eating establishments line the pathway

Displays of crab and fish are the main attraction!

Beyond that, there is a continuous line of shops specializing in crab, Atka mackerel, Aramaki salmon, and other seafood products. On the right side of the third block is Fujimoto Seika that handles Hokkaido melons. You can purchase freshly boiled crab and eat it on the spot, and if you have the time, you can also sample live crab fished out of a tank and prepared for you on the spot. Prices in the market are all very reasonable.
On the other side of the intersection, there is a parking area, toilets, coin lockers, and more places serving food.

Live hairy crab and king crab are sold by the gram. The price for one hairy crab starts at around 13,000 yen and that for a king crab around 3,000 yen. Prices vary according to weight.

Go early in the morning – enjoy the fresh catch before shopping!

Shops in the Outer Market usually begin business around 6:00 a.m. and close shop around 3:00 p.m. The place is most lively in the morning, so we recommend that you go early, enjoy a seafood bowl for breakfast, and then stroll around the market afterward.

The sea urchin and fresh fish corner of Kita no Gurume-tei

Hours: 6:00 a.m. ~ 3:00 p.m. though times may vary according to the shop
Closed: varies according to the shop
Access: 7-minute walk from the Nijuyon-ken Station on the Tozai subway line

Kaisen Shokudo Kita no Gurume-tei: Offering a broad selection from seafood bowls to grilled fish!

Kaisen Ichiba Kita no Gurume was the first shop set up in the Outer Market when the Wholesale Market opened in 1959. In addition to selling seafood products it also operates a diner where you can experience seafood bowls made with the freshest ingredients.

A view of the inside of the diner. Both the first and second floors are spacious.

The most popular item on the menu is the Kaisen-don that has an ample serving of button shrimp, sea urchin, and salmon roe. Other popular bowls are the sea urchin and salmon roe bowl, the shrimp and crab bowl, and the salmon bowl priced at 1,680 yen. In addition to bowl dishes, grilled fish is also on the menu. Another popular feature is the free delivery service from the north exit of Sapporo Station to hotels in Chuo-ku and Kita-ku. (Reservations are required. You may either telephone directly or ask at the Front Desk in the lobby of your hotel to call on your behalf.)

The Kaisen-don heaped with seafood delicacies, 3,210 yen
The exquisite sea urchin and salmon roe bowl, 3,480 yen
Fish being grilled inside the shop
  • Kaisen Syokudou Kita no Gurume-tei
    海鮮食堂 北のグルメ亭
    • Address 〒060-0011 北海道札幌市中央区北11条西22丁目4−1/4-1 Kita 11 Jyou Nishi 22 Chome, Chuo-ku Sapporo-shi, Hokkaido 060-0011
    • Phone Number:011-621-3545
          Free 0120-004-070
      Hours: 7:00 a.m. ~ 3:00 p.m. (last order 2:30 p.m.)
      Closed: open daily

Ume-do: Delicious crab seafood bowls at a direct wholesale outlet!

The Ume-do diner is located behind the Nemuro Crab Market in the Outer Market. In addition to being a diner, it also operates as a crab wholesaler. The crab and salmon roe bowl costs 2,300 yen and consists of three types of crab leg meat – snow, king (depending on the season), and hanasaki (blue king) – together with a heaping portion of salmon roe. It also comes with teppojiru (crab legs meat in miso soup). The Daily Bowl, which has a different ingredient each day, such as crab, salmon, sea urchin, or salmon roe, is also very popular and costs 2,100 yen.

The orange sign is that of the Nemuro Crab Market
Live crab is sold inside the shop. King crab starts at 8,000 yen per 1 kilogram
Photos of the delicious bowl dishes line the front of the shop
Crab and salmon roe bowl with Teppojiru
  • Ume e dou
    • Address 〒060-0011 北海道札幌市中央区北11条西22丁目1-26根室かに市場内/Nemuro Kani Ichiba-nai, 1-26 Kita 11 Jyou Nishi 22 Chome, Chuo-ku, Sapporo-shi, Hokkaido 060-0011
    • Phone Number 011-640-2333

Fujimoto Seika: A fruit shop offering melon year-round

Fujimoto Seika has been in business for more than 50 years and is the #1 place in the Outer Market for handling melons. These are displayed in front of the shop and primarily are those from Yubari, though melons from other parts of Hokkaido and Japan are also handled. The shop also sells sweet melon slices, which can be enjoyed while strolling through the market. The melon season in Hokkaido is from July to August. The shop also handles vegetables grown in Hokkaido, such as potatoes and corn.

Melons displayed in front of the shop
Affectionately called “the melon guy”, Mr. Fujimoto is a pro when it comes to melons
A slice of melon is the perfect dessert after a seafood bowl. Slices begin at 300 yen
  • Fujimoto Seika
    • Address 〒060-0011 北海道札幌市中央区北11条西21丁目/Kita 11 Jyou Nishi 21 Chome, Chuo-ku, Sapporo-shi, Hokkaido 060-0011
    • Phone Number 011-641-9912
    • Hours: 6:00 a.m. ~ 3:00 p.m.
      Closed: open daily

*This information is from the time of this article's publication.
*Prices and options mentioned are subject to change.
*Unless stated otherwise, all prices include tax.

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