Exploring Tokyo’s Tsukiji Fish Market

Tsukiji Fish Market

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.

Yasuko Tsukiji Market Tokyo

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.

Tsukiji Outer Market

Tsukiji Outer Market

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 Market Cultural Xplorer

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.

Tsukiji Fish Market

Tsukiji Fish Market

Tsukiji Fish Market

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).

Shrimp Tsukiji

Octopi Tsukiji

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.

Buying tuna Tsukiji Market

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!

Location

  • Physical Address: Tsukiji Market (築地市場), 5 Chome-2-1 Tsukiji, Chuo 
  • Metro:
    • 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

Tour Options

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.

Further Reading

Tsukiji Fish Market Tuna Auction: Worth it to wake up at 3:45am? (Texan in Tokyo)

10 Things You Should Know Before Visiting the Tsukiji Fish Market Tuna Auction (Tokyo Cheapo)

 

Have you ever visited Tsukiji Market before?

By | 2017-07-31T09:29:29+00:00 April 17th, 2015|Culinary Tourism, Tokyo|19 Comments

19 Comments

  1. Ryan Biddulph Apr 18, 2015 at 1:07 am - Reply

    Hi Chanel,

    Neat! I recall seeing loads of pufferfish on the beach here in Bali. Delicious – from what I hear – but uber dangerous dish as you noted. You better know how to prepare it or you’ll wind up in the same place as the fish, in the netherworlds lol.

    Tweeting from Bali.

    Ryan

    • Chanel | Cultural Xplorer Apr 18, 2015 at 1:19 am - Reply

      Hi Ryan! I have never seen the fish alive, but would love to one day 🙂 It is so interesting that because the fish is so poisonous and must be prepared a certain way, that there are only a limited number of chefs in the world that can make it! Thanks for reading 🙂

  2. Mindi @ 2foodtrippers Apr 18, 2015 at 10:13 am - Reply

    This brings back memories of our self-guided tour of the market exactly two years ago. The best part of our “tour” was eating the world’s freshest sushi breakfast. The sushi was so delicious that we has to return to the market for another breakfast.

    • Chanel | Cultural Xplorer Apr 18, 2015 at 2:09 pm - Reply

      Unfortunately with timing I did not eat breakfast there, only had small snacks and bought fish to make my own sushi, but some of the places sure did look delicious! 😀

  3. Andrew G Apr 19, 2015 at 11:45 am - Reply

    That featured pic, wow. This sound exciting , moving cars ,really? Glad you had fun

    • Chanel | Cultural Xplorer Apr 19, 2015 at 12:30 pm - Reply

      Thanks Andrew 😀 It was very exciting! Did you make it to Tsukiji when you were in Tokyo?

      • Andrew G Apr 27, 2015 at 11:28 pm - Reply

        Unfortunately I didnt, something to look forward to the next trip

  4. Nadeen Apr 20, 2015 at 2:25 pm - Reply

    Looks pretty cool! But what did it smell like? Lol. Will definitely keep it in mind when I visit Tokyo!

    • Chanel | Cultural Xplorer Apr 21, 2015 at 11:39 am - Reply

      It smelled like fish, but actually I barely noticed it, but it affected one person on the tour pretty strongly 🙂

  5. Kay's Ways Apr 20, 2015 at 6:13 pm - Reply

    Looks like a great experience visiting Tsukiji Market! I could only imagine all the action that happens there, it sounds like the place to be for us seafood lovers.

    • Chanel | Cultural Xplorer Apr 21, 2015 at 11:41 am - Reply

      Yes, it was a pretty cool experience 😀 There was so much action occurring from watching the men drive around, to watching the sellers hard at work, to watch the (live) fish swim about!

  6. Tyra Apr 20, 2015 at 11:33 pm - Reply

    Those pictures are amazing! It is a little yucky with all the fish but it would be so interesting to see the market and the local life in that sense. Very interesting!

  7. Christine St.Vil Apr 21, 2015 at 11:19 am - Reply

    This sounds like quite an experience! I don’t eat a lot of diff types of fish, and I prefer fish without the bones lol Looks like you had a great time and I would def love to experience Tokyo. Thanks for sharing!

  8. Roni clark Apr 21, 2015 at 10:53 pm - Reply

    You had me when you said octopi and not octopuses! Love this post and your pics. I love fish although not seeing how they are gutted but what an experience! I would definitely visit this place.

  9. Yasmine Apr 29, 2015 at 10:14 pm - Reply

    Looks great. I’m in Tokyo at the moment, adding this to my itinerary right now!

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