Back in the Days till Now, Pacific Mercantile Japanese Market in Denver Has Not Changed, and That is Good Thing

I don’t know if it is odd, but some of my best memories as a kid was going to the Japanese market every Sunday after going to the temple (next door).

The market is called Pacific Mercantile or what I just call “Pacific” (not to be confused with Pacific Ocean Market, POM).

The produce area is one of the first things you will see when you walk in. Maybe it’s a sign for you to eat more veggies, Japanese veggies.

“This is the only dedicated Japanese market in Colorado”

There was another store named Granada? on the other end of the block but unfortunately that place is long gone. Luckily Pacific is still here, and I would say that’s very impressive because the area around Sakura Square has changed dramatically. The adult bookstore that I never went to (well that’s what I say) just right across the street is now a multi-million dollar brothel inspired bar/restaurant called Ophelia’s.

It seems as though nothing has changed in 30-40+ years, good (I love that).

Although amongst all the change surrounding Pacific, there is one thing that has not changed which is Pacific, and that’s good. I love that, and I don’t know how similar it was to when George Inai first opened the store in 1944, but it sure seems like it’s been the same way it has been in the last thirty or so years I have been going.

This has got to be the only Japanese market in all of Colorado, so if you’re looking for anything Japanese, start here…and end here.

Also it’s good to hear that this is still a family owned business, and I just hope that they’re around for decades and generations more. This is definitely a landmark of the Japanese American community in Colorado (the Tri-State Denver Buddhist temple is also next door). 

I love laulau and back’n the days, I could only have it when we took a family trip to Hawaii.

Be sure to stop on by because this is the spot for not only Japanese, but all sorts of Asian/Hawaiian goods. My favorite of them all is the laulau which is most commonly either chicken or pork (I only buy pork) with an optional chunk of butterfish or sweet potato wrapped in a taro leaf with ti leaves slow cooked together…. that sounds so good right now, I’m getting hungry.

Nori for daaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaayz

So you’re probably wondering “what difference does it make if I go to Pacific over Pacific Ocean Market (POM) in Aurora.” Well, for starters POM is Chinese/Vietnamese market, so their products and focus of products, along with the brands they carry will vary greatly from Pacific. One such example is with “nori” or seaweed for sushi, so if you’re going to prepare sushi, I’d recommend starting here because you do not want to try shopping at a German market if you want to prepare a pasta carbonara.

Nothing says adulting like cooking with a cute looking donabe.

Tired of Stove top stuffing or microwavable meals, well go buy a donabe (pot), so that you can prepare nabe/nabemono which is extremely easy to prepare because you toss everything into one pot that keeps everything warm because the pot is made of clay. Not to mention look at how eff’n cute they are because you can’t find a Le Creuset like these.

During the holidays, or I think on weekends, I have seen vendors doing special taste testings of their products from salsa’s (Karami salsa out of Boulder, CO) to Yakult (they’re always here, but their best sales came from being seen on a Netflix show).

Savory types of Japanese soy sauces for a number of uses.

There are a lot of varieties of soy sauce between Japanese and other Asian soy sauces, but even within Japan, there are a lot of different kinds of soy sauce types from dark, lite, to white soy sauces. Beyond that, there are regional varities to soy sauce based sauces for people on the go looking for a noodle base to a dipping sauce.

Image Gallery

Random images from throughout the store.

Yamaimo (mountain potato).
Sampuru aka plastic food displays
Sakura Square is where Pacific Mercantile has been located for several decades
Something only my dad loves and very few others like it.
Wow, they are very well stocked umeboshi to shoga. This is why I love this place
A great place to find a gift.
Japanese dinnerware
The counter where they typically have fresh fish
This is seriously the best and only place in Colorado for Japanese goods: from food items, cookware, to all things Japanese (even people).
Oooodles of noodles: maifun, saifun, soba, ramen, udon, somen, and mo’ and mo’.
Fresh fish counter
Hey it’s June Kurobane, aka Ms. Taiko
The checkout not yet operated by robots
looking for a kitchen or sushi knife?

Pacific Mercantile

1925 Lawrence St
Denver, CO 80202

(303) 295-0293
Website Facebook | Yelp


Monday 9AM–6PM
Tuesday 9AM–6PM
Wednesday 9AM–6PM
Thursday 9AM–6PM
Friday 9AM–6PM
Saturday 9AM–6PM
Sunday 9AM–2PM

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