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Tsukiji Market Guide

Being one of the oldest and biggest wholesale fish markets in the world, a visit to Tsukiji is never short of being a truly sensory experience. The market is organized yet chaotic, bustling and crowded with fishermen, merchants, chefs and curious tourists.

The Tsukiji Fish Market is located in Tokyo and is a site that simply cannot be overlooked on a visit to Japan. There is always something incredibly fascinating about the market for everyone, especially seafood-lovers. If you are a traveling foodie or just interested in Japanese culture, make sure to visit Tsukiji Fish Market.

Highlights

  • Tsukiji Market is the world's largest fish market.
  • Some spots do not want you to take photos and there are signs posted; please respect the rules.
  • Come hungry! You can try so many unique things here.
  • Interact with chefs and locals while enjoying a plate of sushi.
  • Plan to spend at least half a day here to get the most out of your visit.

Tsukiji Market in Tokyo

Being the largest of its kind in Japan, the Tsukiji Market is the seafood trading hub in Tokyo. The structure is divided into two main sections: the inner market (jōnai-shijō) designated for licensed wholesale dealers and fish auctions, and the outer market (jōgai-shijō) consisting of smaller wholesale stalls, retail shops and restaurants.

The market and neighborhood around Tsukiji are among tourist’s favorite places in Tokyo. Visiting stalls, tasting the freshest sushi in the world, browsing through terrific kitchen tools, finding the perfect handmade sushi chef knife, eating mochi, drinking green tea– the area has no end of experiences to enjoy.

In fact, Tsukiji is not just one market, but four interdependent markets with different specialties and atmospheres. These markets are: the wholesale fish market, the wholesale produce market, the new mixed market and the outer market.

The whole Tsukiji area is a morning place. Shops open early (very early) and the area slows down and is mostly closed for the day by 2pm (the inner market will bequiet by 12:30-1pm). Whether you are a seafood-enthusiast or just curious about this market, there is always something for you and your loved ones. Keep reading and learn some interesting facts about this market.

Exploring the Tsukiji Outer Market

Exploring this massive wholesale market has become a major tourist attraction for Tokyo, drawing in thousands of people per day to gawk at the wide variety of impeccable fresh products. While it is popular with tourists, this is still very much a working market, and business is brisk.

Stalls around Tsukiji Market

The retail side of Tsukiji, on the outskirts of the market, extends to the block on the other side of Harumi-dori which is also full of restaurants and stores. There you can sample some of the freshest sushi available anywhere in Japan, buy produce in retail quantities, purchase kitchen implements, especially knives, and get souvenirs of the market, too.

However, whether the market is open or not, Tsukiji is always buzzing. The crazy maze of street stalls and restaurants is keen to feed you its finest and freshest. Opening hours are typically from 5am to noon or mid-afternoon.

Food vendors

While the Outer Market has plenty of food options, from stand-up sushi counters to hole-in-the-wall Japanese curry joints, the Inner Market has a few options as well. Near the wholesale market is a small stretch of tiny stores and restaurants that traditionally catered to the fish market workers, but have now become major eating destinations for visitors. Sushi and sashimi are the focus of most eateries.

Sushi making class

Enjoy the perfect sushi-lover’s experience during this 4-5 hour visit to the world-famous Tsukiji Fish Market, by finishing off with a sushi-making class, led by a master instructor, and lunch. At this class you will learn, alongside Tokyo locals, how to make sushi favorites, including maki sushi (rolled sushi), gunkanmaki (sushi rice wrapped with a strip of seaweed and topped with soft ingredients), and nigiri sushi (sushi rice topped with a slice of raw fish).

History and moving of Tsukiji Market

Replacing an earlier market in the Nihonbashi area that was destroyed in the Great Kanto Earthquake of 1923, Tsukiji Fish Market opened for business on the site of the former foreigners’ settlement in 1935. It was named after the neighborhood where it is situated.

Tsukiji covers 56 acres and contains 1,200 fish merchant stalls that sell more than 480 kinds of seafood–including eels, octopus, barracuda, puffer fish, surf clam, conger eel, lobster, squid, shrimp, sea bream, salmon, mackerel and, of course, blue-fin tuna. If you look carefully you can find bright red chunks of whale meat for sale.

Tsukiji Fish Market was scheduled to close in 2016. It was slated to be relocated to a new site in Toyosu (in the Tokyo Bay Area). However, due to issues with pollution in the soil beneath the Toyosu site, the move has been postponed until 11 October 2018, when the new Toyosu fish market will open replacing Tsukiji fish market.

Guided tour of Tsukiji Market

Experience Tokyo’s top sights in one great trip during your stay in Tokyo– only with Asia Highlights. Start your day strolling through the sprawling Tsukiji Market, one of the world’s biggest commercial centers for fish.

Learn about Tsukiji Market and its history from a knowledgeable, English-speaking, professional tour guide with years of experience in the tourism industry. Witness the famous tuna auction at Tsukiji Market, with the whole process–from when brokers check the quality of the fish to when it’s sold at extravagant prices.

Etiquette inside the Market and essential information

Sometimes tourists get in the way of important operations and this can distract some vendors. Because of this, it’s especially important for tourists to be respectful of how the market operates and follow the rules and guidelines.

Always remember that it's a working market. Despite that, it's gotten super busy with crowds of tourists these days. The floor is slimy and wet, so wear rugged shoes and pants that can get dirty. And look out for the electric vehicles. Please check for signs before taking any photos.

Visitors can watch the auction only in the designated area of the tuna auction area, from 5:00 am to 6:15 am. In the auction area, please follow the directions from guards, so as not to disturb the market activity.

Tsukiji Market itself is not open every day. A calendar, showing the days when it’s closed, is available on the Tsukiji Market website, and an English guide-sheet and map are also available at the market's information booth.

Even though Tsukiji market is closed on Sundays, there is still plenty to see and eat there - but without the mad rush and bustle.

Tsukiji Market is located in the heart of central Tokyo, near the upscale Ginza neighborhood, the lovely Hamarikyu Garden and the lively Shimbashi. If you are traveling by public transport, the closest station is the Tsukiji Shijo Station on the Toei Oedo line.

Exploring Tsukiji Market with Asia Highlights

Visiting the world’s biggest fish market is a must-do activity while you are in Tokyo, especially if you are a seafood-lover! While this is very exciting, visiting this market on your own can be confusing and depressing. Asia Highlights will help you to make the most of your trip! Our tours and guides are flexible, so that you can arrange your time freely. Please contact us if you have any questions.

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