Tsukiji Market, Tokyo
If you are jetlagging or wake up at 4 in the morning with your eyes wide open, this is a place you should go. It is the biggest fish market in the world and it is quite entertaining to see the variety of seafoods on sales at the market. After your visit, don't forget to have breakfast at one of the numerous sushi restaurants nearby. The sushi in Tsukuji obviously is the freshest in Tokyo.
Getting up for the 5.30am auctions in the worlds largest fish market has to be one of the unique sites in Tokyo. This place is buzzing and although the auction rooms are for authorised personel only, foreigners are tolerated provided we stay out of harms way.
The auctions for different seafood are split into different rooms, but the giant tuna seem to get the most attention. These are either fresh or frozen and come from as far away as New Zealand and Tahiti. The biggest we saw was 238kgs !
Watching the pre auction inspections, the actual auctions and then grabbing an early morning sushi breakfast is one great way to start your day in Tokyo.
If you are prepared to get up before breakfast and take a ride to the Tokyo Fish market (Tsukiji) you will be rewarded with a unique experience.
Firstly it is really busy so be careful not to get in the way! You are bombarded from all directions by men on special trucks which go everywhere in the market. They have a job to do and tourists can hinder.
The second thing you will notice is that there is no offensive smell, unusual in certain other such places I have visited. This is due to the very high standards of cleanliness observed by the traders, and throughout Japan for that matter.
Be sure to take a camera but avoid flash where it could be a nuisance.
Make sure you see all the stalls where you will see more fish than you can possibly imagine and visit to the auction room where huge frozen tuna are examined.
After this you will be ready for a delicious sushi breakfast and sample some of the fish at one of the many restaurants nearby. Do try everything on offer, some of the food will be to your taste, others will not. What I learned in Japan about food is nothing always tastes as it looks! Enjoy!
You have to arrive around 5:00, maximum 5:30, if you are staying in Ginza you can easily walk to the market (just 15 min from Ginza Tobu, where I stayed). Once you get to the market, just cross the first rows of general sale, then the fish market itself and reach the auction halls. There you can enjoy both frozen and fresh tuna auction. Reach the bay shore and head back to the proper fish market, where you can walk and walk among the strangest fish you have ever seen.
If you dare, you can have a real Japanese breakfast in any of the various "bars" at the market.
Have fun and don't miss it if you are in Tokyo.
Get ready for a seafood galore and to smell a little fishy :-)
At Tsukiji Market, you need to get there really early (like 6am!) and see all the different types of fish being brought in here from the deep blue sea. It's a beehive of activity in here and it's amazing to see what's being caught and what will become of it.
Watch the men zooming around in electric carts carrying crates of fish, they believe they are F1 drivers!
Get a map of the market from the station or the men working at the market to see all the different sections of the market (we were lucky to be given 1 without asking - we must have looked like typical tourists with our cameras).
We had the best sushi at unbelievable prices here. Please see restaurant tip and pictures in travelogue.
Ok, the first thing to know about this place is that it's not a tourist attraction it's a live market where fish is sold, but being that's it's the largest in the world it does make it a tourist attraction. Now the merchant are accepting of tourist, but make sure you stay out of there way. It's there place of work... photo's are highly discouraged, but you can sneak in photo's before someone tells you to "go, go". As for the time. You have to get here at 5:00 am to see the place in action... get there at 10:00 am and you won't see much as the place is clearing up. As for the world famous giant tuna auctions, it's almost impossible to get close, the market have placed guards who's job is to keep the tourist out and away from the auctions. The Guards have placards in English telling you to move. And they are good at telling you "go, Go, Go". A must do experience... also make sure you bring a pair of shoes that you don't mind getting dirty, just about all the stalls have hoses running so water and fish blood are everywhere... my biggest surprise is that the place doesn't smell !!!! Fresh fish doesn't so it was a great time. We got there about 5:00 am and left about 8:00 and saw plenty. A MUST DO !!!!!!
Tsukiji Market operates as early as 5am where the day is still dark. Fishermen will bring in their catch of the day for auctioning. You will have to set your alarm or make sure you get an early morning call in order to make it to the market before all the action are gone.
We could not find the auctioning area. But we saw the tuna fish were being cut and axe into smaller parts for sale at the market. Tuna sashimi were also being sold and you can taste the freshness right at the market.
If you prefer to take a seat and have your fresh sashimi and sushi, there are some restaurant and eateries where you can have your “breakfast”.
We had the best sashimi don over at a small eatery near the Tsukiji Fish Market.
Make your way to Tsukijishijo Station on the Subway Oedo Line OR Tsukiji Station on the Subway Hibiya Line and begin your day with the best sushi/sashimi breakfast at one of the several restaurants located in Tsukiji Fish Market at very reasonable prices.. Here you may find many rare fishes here. You'll have fun just to watch them sell/bid for the fishes..
The best time to arrive is before 8 a.m. (most of them open around 5 a.m.). The market is closed on Sundays, holidays and certain other days. For more info, go to http://www.japan-guide.com/e/e3021.html ...
In order to see the fish auction in action, our hostel staff told us that we had to reach the market before 6.30am. We reached the market at 11am instead so we just went there just for lunch. There are many sushi stalls here and I think the price is quite cheap and reasonable. My plate of fresh sushi only cost 890 yen which I think you will not be able to get in other parts of Tokyo. It was a great meal!
Tsukiji Fish Market is one of those things that a tourist MUST visit. It is well worth the early morning wake-up. It consists of the inner market & outer market. The inner market opens very early - i believe 2am to 3am.
However, the fun stuff starts shortly after 5am ---- the fish AUCTION. This is followed by fish cutting. You must follow one of the carts, after the auction has concluded, of HUGE tuna fishes, to the place where they cut up the fish. It takes 3 grown man to slice up a fish into 4 pieces.
Everything starts to wind down at 6am, and that is when you should wander out to the outer market place, and hop into one of the sushi bars for EXTRA FRESH sushi. So fresh, that it does not taste like fish at all!
After that, wonder around the outer market stalls, and buy anything and everything. We bought a set of green tea cups, a set of of sushi bottle & cups, as well as some bento boxes.
Shinto tample just out side of entrence to the Fish Market.
Two men I met are workers of one of the large fresh fish exporter working on a daily basis at the fish market.
They were both firendly and spoke very good english, and gave me a good tip about where I should be eating me Shushi for breakfast.
please see Restuarents pages
I actually struggled with whether to write this as a Thing to Do, Shopping, or Restaurant tip because you can, and probably should, do all three when you visit the world's largest fish/seafood market. As a nation of at least 3,000 islands, there is obviously a lot of water around and a lot of seafood in that water. Over 60,000 people work for more than 1,600 vendors in processing and selling over 2,000 tons of more than 500 varieties of fish and other seafood each day through the Tsukiji (pron SKEE-jee) Market.
The giant blue fin tuna is the king of the Market and also causes the most fanfare, both positive and negative. Sometimes the giant blue fin auction generates so much interest that tourists, who are normally welcome in public areas of the market, are totally banned for a day, a few days, or even weeks. One giant blue fin tuna will often sell for more than US$10,000. More than one-third of the tuna harvested in the entire world is consumed by the people of Japan.
Come for the tuna auctions, stay for the sushi breakfast. Consider staying in the Chuo area, as public transport only begins from 5am. Wear covered shoes, unless you want your exposed toes to be tickled and perfumed with fish guts, and go easy on the sake the night before. You will pass a number of signs warning against tipsy tourists, and you will also need your wits about you to dodge the transit vehicles on site.
Lines are unavoidable at Daiwa Sushi, Tsukiji’s famed sushi bar (also open from 5am). The sushi sets are a good bet if you’re not comfortable ordering in Japanese.
Lonely Planet rates the Tsukiji Fish Market as the #1 Thing to Do out of 683 which they list for Tokyo. I am not certain that I would list it quite that high but it would be in my Top 10.
This is not just any fish market!
The Tsukiji market consists of the fish market and the outer market where they have lots of dry stuff too.
In the outer market, you can find lots of interesting stuff like wakame, dry scallops, famous Japanese seaweed, fish knives, snacks, etc. You can't find this kind of market in any other part of the world!! They sell very Japanese stuff.
We arrived there about 645am and have already missed the auction, however, we still got to see a lot of the fish market workers doing their stuff. In fact, we felt like a nuisance to them as we seemed to be getting in their way
Be really careful not to get in their way. The fish market workers drive these flat vehicles which can go rather fast. I have never seen these unique vehicles before. The fish market workers don't sit, they stand in these vehicles.
In the wet fish market, just take a look around, they have absolutely interesting seafood. Some of the clams/oysters/scallops (I'm not sure which) are even bigger than my hand/palm!
This Tsukiji market is very interesting indeed. Don't think..."What? Go to a fish market?" This is not your ordinary local fish market. It's a place that every tourist would love to see.
The fish market is an amazing hustle and bustle of activity. From frozen tuna carcasses to crates of live octopi, it's all there. Be sure to go into the wholesale area of the warehouse behind the docks -- it may look like visitors wouldn't be allowed but that's not the case. Try to get there as early as possible, no later than 8:00 and preferably closer to 6:30. Also, check on the schedule before you go (the tourist info line at JNTO should have this info). You don't want to get up that early and get there to find it closed!
By the way, if you are a sushi lover and are in the mood for it in the AM, you probably won't find better quality and value than that in the nearby shops. If not, you can also dine (eat, rather) for cheap at the various vendors catering to the workmen. Standard fare such as curry rice, soba/udon, ramen and gyuu-don can be found. The area includes many vendors. Most are fishy in nature (dried squid anyone?) but there are a few souvenir shops as well.
As of July 2010, the market has imposed a restriction to the number of visitors who could view the auctions. It has been limited to 140 only and they have to enlist right at the market itself (around 4:30 am or earlier). Those lucky enough to be included will be given yellow vests (like what construction or traffic workers put on) to wear to identify you from other would-be visitors.
If you fail to come early enough, tough luck. Pleading with them won't help, they'll just tell you to 'take a hike'. Better try again the next day...