You simply cannot miss Tsukiji Fish Market when visiting Tokyo. Even though the famed tuna auction is no longer held here, the culinary experience the outer market offers is unparalleled and I recommend stopping by to explore it.
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The Tsukiji Fish Market in Tokyo
Tsujiki Fish Market has, until recently, been divided into two markets: the inner market and the outer market.
Tsukiji Inner Market
The inner market was considered the wholesale fish market where fishermen sold their freshly caught fish to vendors. It had been located Tsukiji after, in 1923, a strong earthquake destroyed the former fish market. After almost 100 years, in October 2018, the famed fish market closed its doors to the public and relocated to the Toyosu waterfront, where it open shortly after. Accordingly, the new fish market in Tokyo is called Toyosu Market. It’s where you can see the iconic tuna auction.
Fun fact: The most expensive tuna ever was sold for $3 million!
Tsukiji Outer Market
Though the wholesale market has moved, the outer market remains in Tsukiji. You can find it adjacent to the former Tsukiji wholesale market. Across several blocks, you can explore a mixture of over 500 local retail shops, smaller wholesale markets, and restaurants that display the extensive range of Japan’s traditional cuisine. The Tsukiji outer market is where culinary trends are created and the delicacies there go far beyond fresh fish. Besides seafood, you’ll discover fresh produce, desserts, and plenty of kitchen-related items. The seafood, by the way, is delivered daily from the new fish market location in Toyosu.
The market’s streets are quite narrow and oftentimes crowded. The earlier arrive, the better! Arriving early also goes hand in hand with a classic experience at the Outer Market: sushi breakfast! Personally, I could never have sushi for breakfast (I’m a real sweet-tooth), so we’ve decided to have a sushi lunch instead. It was the freshest sushi I have ever tasted. The sushi is prepared right in front of your eyes.
Have some cash on you. Most vendors don’t take credit cards!
Guided food tour through Tsukiji Market
Should you have more time, I dearly recommend taking a guided food tour to teach you more about the famous market’s history. The best part, however, is that you’ll get many free samples and therefore can try out many different delicacies along the way. The 3.5-hour-long tour costs $90 per person, but basically includes a full meal! You’re guaranteed to finish the tour feeling full, meaning you won’t have to worry about breakfast or lunch that day.
What’s included in the Tsukiji Market tour?
The exact stops you make can depend on the local guide, however, you can expect to be indulging on goodies like:
- fish cake
- fresh tuna
- dashi soup
When and where does the tour start?
As the fish market is only open from early morning through 2 pm, this food tour is a morning tour that starts at 8 am and finishes at around 11:30 am. You’ll be meeting your guide at Shin-ohashi-dori Avenue from where you’ll head into the market to explore the many narrow streets. Be sure to wear comfortable shoes as you’ll be covering quite some ground!
Where is Tsukiji Fish Market?
Tsukiji Fish Market is located at 5 Chome-2-1 Tsukiji in Chuo City, just a 5-minute walk from the nearest subway station, Tsukiji. The Hibiya Line will take you there.
What time does Tsukiji Fish Market open?
The opening hours of the Tsukiji inner market vary from shop to shop. Generally speaking, it’s open from 9 am to 2 pm. On Sundays and national holidays, the shops stay shut.
Where can I see the famous tuna auction in Tokyo?
The most famous tuna auction in Tokyo takes place at Toyosu Market. You can attend it for free, however, you’ll need to collect a visitor pass.
Where is the Toyosu Market?
Toyosu Fish Market is located at 6 Chome-6-２ Toyosu, about 2.5 miles from Tsukiji Market.