Remembering ye olde Tsukiji

I think that nothing really lets you feel Japanese market atmosphere better than the old Tsukiji Fish Market. New hygiene regulations and chronic lack of space will soon force the market organisers to move on to an all new location. News reports speak of a definite move to the new location in winter of 2017. But for now join me in going back to our last visit there in 2016.

On one of our Tokyo tours, Tom and I headed for the famous Tsukiji Fish Market. Located in the district of Tsukiji, the market today holds 10 wholesale shops and 741 mid-wholesale shops for seafoods that are dealing about 1,930,000,000 Yen per day – an equal to roughly 15 million Euros.

Fish Everywhere

All those little market stalls and shops offer stunning variety of fish and seafood. The majority of which us Europeans probably have never seen before. There are literally thousands of live and dead fish, huge frozen tuna, eels, crabs and other stuff scattered around. Busy Japanese fishmongers and fishermen bustling in-between the stalls, often driving around in funny looking little transport vehicles.

Wanna see Tuna? Get up Early!

The famous tuna auctions at Tsukiji open at 3:30am and usually end at 6:00am. You need to be there well in advance, as the total number of people allowed to the auctions are limited to 60.  The first tour is allowed to watch the auction between 5:25am and 5:45am, the second tour is scheduled for 5:50am and 6:10am. Do arrive earlier than that as you need to reserve your spot. In peak times this might be as early as 1am. Entrance to the auction is free, but you have to ask yourself, if it will be worth the night’s sleep you’ll have to offer. After all it’s the grandest tuna auction on the globe, but on the other hand it’s just a fish auction.

Seeing Tsukiji at a more Reasonable Time

For normal sleepers, just as Tom and myself, a visit to Tsukiji after 9am is a viable option. Print out a site plan, otherwise you tend to easily get lost. Tsukiji offers some themed guided tours that we highly recommend. Contact the Tour Information Center at Tsukiji Tour Desk (2F, Tsukiji KY Building, on the left at the top of the escalator)

Tel: +81-3-3541-6521

Getting There

Easiest way to reach Tsukiji probably of by subway:

  • Tokyo Metro Hibiya Line / Tsukiji station(H10) / Exit 2
  • Toei Oedo Line / Tsukiji Shijo station(E18)
  • Toei Asakusa Line / Higashi Ginza station(A11)
  • Tokyo Metro Yurakucho Line / Shintomicho station(Y20)

If coming by taxi ask to be dropped off at the Tsukiji 4 chome crossing
(The intersection of Harumi Street and Shin-Ohashi Street).


One other useful tip for you would be the surrounding streets of Tsukiji Market. These boast plenty of very traditional Japanese stores, restaurants and eateries. And you’ll be well advised to go there on an empty stomach. Just dive in the hundreds of delicious bites and temptations the area offers. Like this shop with all the yellow-hat ladies, which offers Onigiri (rice balls filled with different fillings).

Useful Links

Hope you’ll enjoy your visit at Tsukiji Fish Market. Tell us of your experiences and don’t forget to like and follow us.



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