Tsukiji Fish Market is the largest fish and produce market in the entire world. While I am no stranger to visiting fish markets, Tsukiji is by far the most enormous that I have ever seen!
Unlike many of the foreigners who visit the fish market in the wee hours of the morning hoping to get a highly coveted spot at the Tsukiji Fish Market Tuna Auction, I opted to visit during the daytime on a sushi tour.
After meeting my guide Yasuko and the other individuals on the tour, we headed to the Tsukiji tourist information center to pick up maps and check out the souvenirs that the shop had to offer.
When we left the tourist information center, Yasuko led us through the outer market of Tsukiji. She informed us that the inner market was only open to non-professionals after 9:00 am, and that we would have to wait a little while before we were able to enter.
Once the inner market opened, we walked through the outer part of the inner market, which contained fresh fruits and vegetables. We stopped briefly to purchase fresh wasabi and succulent strawberries. After making our purchases, we proceeded to make our way deeper into the inner market, where all of the action happens.
We stopped briefly to purchase fresh wasabi and succulent strawberries. After making our purchases, we proceeded to make our way deeper into the inner market, where all of the action happens.
Tsukiji is an extremely busy market, where you always have to be on guard so that you do not to get hit by moving vehicles, trampled by the men moving quickly throughout the market, or get wet from water being thrown on the ground by workers.
Watching the marketeers at work is quite an amazing experience as you get to witness how much care is put into preparing the fish that they sell. Skilled wholesalers carefully slice small fish and exert a large amount of energy sawing away at huge fish.
There was every kind of fish that you could imagine at the market ranging from tiny little shrimp to large octopi, to the infamous fugu (pufferfish).
The tour concluded after we purchased different pieces of tuna, which were each individually weighed on a scale and then labeled. It was interesting to watch how precise each measurement must be when weighing the tuna, as it is quite an expensive fish.
Overall, I would highly recommend visiting Tsukiji at least once during your visit to Tokyo (unless of course, you do not like fish).
It is a unique experience that cannot be had anywhere else in the world on this scale. The tour I was on lasted about one hour inside of the fish market, and even then we barely dented the surface of seeing the entire market – one could literally spend hours in the market just looking at and buying fish.
Know Before You Go: Practical Tips for Visiting Tsukiji Fish Market
Hours of Operation
- Tuna Auction: 5:25 am – 6:15 am
- Outer Market: 5:00 am – 2:00 pm
- Inner Market: 9:00 am
- CLOSED on Sundays, holidays, and some Wednesdays
- Note: The market is scheduled to move by the 2020 Olympics according to Guardian. Stay tuned for updates!
- Physical Address: Tsukiji Market (築地市場), 5 Chome-2-1 Tsukiji, Chuo
- Tsukiji Shijo Station [E18] -Toei Ōedo subway line
- Tsukiji Station [H10] – Hibiya Subway Line
*Please Note: Tsukiji will be relocating in 2016
What To Wear
Closed toe shoes and a light jacket
Visiting Tsukiji on a tour is not necessary. I personally took a tour as part of a sushi making class that I took with the company Eat With. Another great company that offers tours of Tsukiji is Context Travel.
Tsukiji Fish Market Tuna Auction: Worth it to wake up at 3:45am? (Texan in Tokyo)