Nishiki Market's most famous son, the celebrated artist Ito Jakuchu, is probably best known for his elaborate set of scrolls called "Colorful Realm of Living Beings," painted during the Edo Period (1603-1867), when Japan was not open for tourism.

While most of the "beings" on display in Nishiki are no longer living, they certainly have presence. Ito would undoubtedly be at home among the wonderful array of colors: luminescent yellows and oranges, deep browns, tie-dye pinks — and that's just one display of tsukemono, or pickled vegetables.

This centuries-old covered market in the heart of Kyoto has two types of shops, and two types of shoppers. The first category caters to locals: homemakers, chefs and cooks. Those who know the market as "Kyoto's kitchen" know it inside out, patronize their regular shops and treat the market as if were their pantry.