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Tsukiji fish market: Tour, hours and tuna auction

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Find not-to-miss food tours and activities to Tsukiji Fish Market Find not-to-miss food tours and activities to Tsukiji Fish Market from 24€ choose your experience

The Tsukiji fish market is the most famous food market in Tokyo and Japan. This site and the exciting tuna auction that takes place in there, have marked the city's recent history and continues to do so even after the original Tsukiji fish market has moved to Toyosu market in autumn 2018.

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From early morning, thousands of tourists, every day, flock to the doors of the Tsukiji fish market (today known also as Toyosu Market) to attend the famous tuna auction and to admire the hectic activity of traders and buyers. Not just fish and seafood! At the Tsukiji fish market you can get basically everything. There are also numerous stalls where to taste freshly-made sushi and many other delicacies at a reasonable price.

The Tsukiji Fish Market between history and renovation

Today the Tsukiji fish market is also called Toyosu Market. It is located in a neighborhood entirely made from the waters of Tokyo Bay.

Tokyo Tsukiji Fish MarketTsukiji has become the largest and most visited fish market in the world in less than a century. The first activities date back to 1935, and many of the first shops still run today. But it is only since the 1980s, with Japan's economic boom, that the market and the special tuna auction has become an attraction of international interest. Tsukiji is the "Food Town" of Japan for everyone. And it's easy to see why.

In between the well-stocked shops and narrow streets of the covered Toyosu market you can find any kind of fish and traditional Japanese food, as well as many restaurants and retail stores.

In October 2018, activities moved about three kilometers from the historic location. Actually, many things have changed. The new location - known as Toyosu market) is far more hygienic and safe, but has lost that authentic and ancient charm that characterized the first 83 years of the market. The Tsukiji fish market is still the Tsukiji market (although technically it is located in Toyosu) and continues to represent the heart of the fish trade (and not only fish) of Tokyo and Japan.

How to visit Tsukiji Fish Market

The new home of Tsukiji fish market, is generally open every day from 5am to 5pm, except Sundays, national holidays and some Wednesdays.

  • Actually, the best time for the visit of Toyosu Market is from 9am to 2pm, unless you want to arrive at dawn to watch the characteristic tuna auction and then follow the various wholesale activities. Just, try not to get in the way of the traders.

Tokyo fish market exhibitionphoto by Dennis Amith via FlickrIn the new location of Toyosu market it is not possible to buy fish directly from the stalls, but you can eat fresh fish in the various restaurants open to the public. Not all stores accept cards, so it is good to bring a good amount of cash with you. The Tsukiji fish market is strictly no smoking area.

How to reach Tokyo fish market in Toyosu: take note of the following useful addresses. To reach the old fish market, the closest stop is Tsukiji, Oedo line. To reach the actual location, the new Toyosu market, instead, the stop is Shijo-mae, Yurikamome line.

First, we recommend you to visit the old Tsukiji market location. Although emptied of its centuries-old commercial activity, the area still retains a certain charm and many of the small shops and restaurants outside the old market are still there.

What to do, see and eat at Tsukiji Fish Market

Here are some not-to-miss things to do at the Tsukiji fish market:

Experience the tuna auction

For tourists, the tuna auction is a special event to attend in Toyosu market. For the traders and patrons this is a ritual that moves every day tons of fresh fish and millions of yen (in 2013, a bluefin tuna weighing 222 kilos was purchased at the monster figure of 1.3 million euros).

Tokyo fish market tuna auctionphoto of Norwegian Seafood Council via FlickrThe tuna auction takes place in Toyosu Market at dawn between 5 and 5:30 a.m. and is much more than just a sale. Once upon a time to attend the tuna auction you had to show up by 4.30 am, register and hope to be among the 120 lucky ones admitted. Today, with the opening of the new venue in Toyosu, it is possible to see everything from an overhead stained-glass window. So you  won't need to stand in long lines at the entrance with all those  typical noise and sounds of the tuna auction.

Having sushi for breakfast

Fish for breakfast is delicious!

Tokyo fish market restaurantphoto of lazy fri13th via FlickrAt Tsukiji fish market, then, the best fish of the city is served, at very affordable prices. There are several restaurants and street food places among the various market stands. Where to eat in Tsukiji? We advice Sushi Zanmai or Daiwa Sushi or Sushi Dai, relying on our experience and the one of the visitors who have passed through these parts. Sushi is the least common denominator. Starting the day with good sashimi is an unforgettable experience, though the hours in a queue, impossible to avoid.

Quality fish in all its forms at Tsukiji fish market

Pallets at Tsukiji fish market include between 400 and 500 varieties of different fish species. The fish is the absolute protagonist, available in every way: fresh, dried, frozen or in the traditional Himono version. There is no lack of shellfish, crustaceans, seafood and scallops, which are available all year round. The tuna, available in many quality versions, steals the scene even among the pallets.

  • For Japanese people, this fish is a bit like pork: you don't throw anything away, and there's no wonder, then, if some shops are specialized in the selling of medames, the eyeballs of tuna!

Taste the best traditional Japanese food at Toyosu Market

Not only sushi and sashimi. If you're crazy about raw fish, you'll definitely appreciate the "donburi", which in Japanese means "a taste". Basically, it is a mix of fish served in a rice bowl at a very reasonable price. A visit to the Tsukiji fish market or Toyosu Market is also an opportunity to taste the best Japanese fish dishes including ramen, soba, tempura and unagi, the typical grilled eels. There are also snacks and sweets of all kinds such as coloured wagashi, a perfect match with a cup of green tea.

Tuna auction, fruit, vegetables and... knives

Tsukiji's is not just a fish market and tuna auction, but a real food hub.

cutting fish at Tokyo fish marketIn Toyosu Market you can find also meats, fruits, vegetables, legumes and cereals from all over Japan, but also more specialties that can hardly be found elsewhere in the world. We recommend the tsukemono, an ideal side dish consisting of pickled vegetables (cucumbers, aubergines, turnips and daikon), the tamagoyaki, a kind of omelette, and the karasumi, a sought-after delicacy made from fish eggs.

  • The Tsukiji fish market is also the ideal place to buy the best kitchen knives. They are available in endless sizes and sharpenings.

The Tsukiji Fish Market is located in the Toyosu area, not far from Ginza district. If you've decided to visit the capital of Japan then this guide to Tokyo neighborhoods may be of help!

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