Tsukiji Fish Market is one of the most popular fish markets in the world. I was honoured to visit the fish market on my very first trip to Tokyo, Japan back in 2011 when the main warehouse was still open for the general public to walk around with a guided tour.
It was one of the highlights from my first trip to Tokyo and I remember the market very fondly, which is one of the main reasons why I wanted to return to the market again.
I took a guided tour around Tsukiji Fish Market on a recent trip to Tokyo and wanted to update you on the recent move and changes of the market and help to explain how you can visit yourself.
Here you can read all about Tsukiji Fish Market in this helpful guide I’ve put together.
Has Tsukiji Fish Market closed down for visitors?
I wanted to bring this question up at the start of this blog post to help address the situation.
Most of the vendors of Tsukiji Fish Market have indeed moved 2 km east of the old location close to Shijomae Station on the Yurikamome Line.
The new name of the fish market is called Toyosu Fish Market.
The move was mostly made for a number of reasons, such as land value and improved facilities for the wholesalers.
Some vendors have decided to stay and are now located in a newly built smaller version of the Tsukiji Fish Market close to the old location. The traditional surrounding shops that used to supply the old market have also remained. So, Tsukiji Fish Market is still very much alive and kicking.
After visiting both locations, I would say that Tsukiji Fish Market is more visitor friendly and ideal for tourists as you still get a feel of the fish market with top quality products, and the area hasn’t lost its appeal.
Yes, you can see the old market from a distance as it slowly gets taken away and that is heartbreaking to see, but don’t let this put you off from visiting Tsukiji Fish Market.
The old fish market will slowly turn into a carpark ready in time for the Tokyo Olympic Games in 2020, and then the location will be turned into a development project. But until then, the new Tsukiji Fish Market building and outer market streets will remain in operation.
I would recommend Tsukiji Fish Market over Toyosu Fish Market which is less inviting for visitors as it has a trade/wholesale feel and focus and because it’s so new that it lacks character at the moment.
That’s my 2 cents on the situation and I hope that clears it all up.
I booked with Arigato Japan Food Tours
I booked my tour of the Tsukiji Fish Market with Arigato Japan Food Tours. I’ve used them a couple of times in Tokyo, Japan and been happy with the quality of the tour.
Especially when it comes to Tsukiji Fish Market, you want to try as many of the fresh local flavours as you can, and if you were to go alone, you could end up spending a fortune as the high quality of fish comes in at a premium.
My local guide knew all the local vendors and best spots to sample the local fish and we ended up having quite the feast.
If I had gone to the fish market alone, it might have been a challenge to purchase small samples of everything, so this is the added bonus of joining a tour. I also got loads of awesome information about the local products and vendors.
Many locations around the market often do not allow photos due to price competition, but my guide knew all the spots that didn’t mind photos being taken, which was rather helpful.
I love to take tours as a solo traveller as it’s a great way to make new friends and experience new cultures.
The specific tour that I booked is called: Classic Tsukiji Insider’s Tour of Local Market Town with Breakfast
Remember that the tours leave on time so it’s best to arrive early, especially as this tour starts in the morning and the metro can be crowded with commuters.
The tour starts at Turret Coffee Shop
A good way to start your day off is with a local barista made coffee at Turret Coffee Shop which also happens to be the meeting point of your tour.
The coffee was really good and woke me up nicely, so I was ready for Tsukiji Fish Market tour. At the entrance of Turret Coffee Shop, you can even find a recycled Tsukiji turret truck (used as a seat) which is an iconic mode of transport used around the fish market by the vendors to transport crates.
Take Exit #2 from Tsukiji Station.
Turret Coffee Shop
2 Chome-12-6 Tsukiji, Chuo-ku, Tokyo 104-0045
Tour Schedule is everyday Mon-Sat (except National Holidays).
Meeting time is 8:45 am.
Tour starts at 9:00 am.
Your tour will end around 12:00 pm.
Enjoy a seafood breakfast to start the day
I’m a big fan of starting the day with a healthy and hearty breakfast, and I often enjoy having seafood at this time of the day.
Seafood is commonly served at breakfast time along with miso soup, rice and pickles. This makes Tsukiji Fish Market a popular location to be at the start of the day. You can also often find shop fronts serving breakfast dishes in the early hours of the morning.
Included in the tour is a seafood breakfast bowl called a Kaisen-Domburi which we had topped with mackerel.
Fresh cod, salmon and crab meat can also be enjoyed in sushi or sashimi dishes.
The most popular dish at this location is the miso soup that is served with clams which add a wonderful flavour to the broth.
This breakfast location was such good value for the quality that I actually returned to this spot for lunch at the end of the tour.
Hands down the best quality fish you can find in all of Tokyo due to its close location to the vendors.
It feels almost like a catch to plate experience and the sushi chefs know what they’re doing, and the locals know this too.
I remember from my visit in 2011 also having an incredible sushi lunch, you just can’t beat the quality that can be found here.
It was good to start the tour by having breakfast as I wanted to try the local seafood as quickly as possible to fulfil my cravings. But don’t worry, there’s more food to come.
Walk around the new market building
You can see the old fish market from a distance as it’s slowly being dismantled but a new market building has been set up recently to house over 65 fish market vendors that were elected to remain in Tsukiji market.
The vendors were carefully selected by a committee from those that applied to stay. This way the vendors can offer a wide range of variety and selection to the customers that are still visiting the area for shopping and local restaurants.
The morning tuna auction has moved to the new location, but you can still find a selection of big tuna on display at some of the vendors.
I enjoyed walking around the newly opened market building and soaking in the atmosphere and discovering all the fresh and interesting fish products that were on display.
You can see that this area is still popular amongst local shoppers looking for the catch of the day.
Regarding photos, it’s best to ask your guide as some of the vendors don’t wish to share competitive prices on the day so look out for signs and ask permission.
On the top floor of the market building, you can find a public outdoor decking and dining area, so you can purchase your food on the first level and enjoy it on the 2nd. You can also find a kitchen workshop area here which is open for cooking classes.
As part of the tour, you will meet some of the vendors and pick up a selection of tasty seafood along the way to enjoy at the end of the market building visit.
Namiyoke Inari Jinja
Namiyoke Inari Shrine is an unofficial guardian shrine for the marketplace and its seafood vendors. You can find various memorial plaques and seafood-themed carvings located around the courtyard. It’s a peaceful break away from the busy market and worth checking out on your visit.
Remember to say the Japanese word itadakimasu which is a type of blessing you can say before you start eating your food in Japan.
Shop around Tsukiji Outer Market
Tsukiji Outer Market can be a great location to pick up affordable local Japanese souvenirs to take back home with you. Around the back streets, you can find chopstick shops, pottery shops and all kinds of shops selling kitchen supplies.
The market was often used by restaurant owners to pick up supplies they needed after visiting the fish market. It’s now transformed into a popular street for visitors to purchase local Japanese products, such as tea, coffee and snacks. You can even find a few restaurants there as well.
My favourite one was the swordsmith shop that now sells high-quality Japanese kitchen knives. I picked up a pocket knife from this spot and use it at home almost every day. Wonderful high-quality crafted products with long traditions can be found here.
Be sure to also stop off and try the Maguro-yaki (fish-shaped cake) which is a cooked pancake-like batter shell with a red bean paste filling. It’s simply delicious to try, and do add the apricot to give it that lovely sweet taste. This spot is a friendly local shop that has been in the family for many years, worth stopping off for sure.
Tsukiji Outer Market is part of the tour, and you will have a few important shops highlighted in the tour to give you a taster and more information about the area. Feel free to come back here after the tour to wander the streets on your own and spend some more time shopping.
Lastly, before you head off from the tour you will end your time at a relaxing tea ceremony to enjoy a tasty cup of matcha green tea. Perfect.
Thank you for reading about Tsukiji Fish Market
I hope you’ve found this blog post useful to plan your own visit to Tsukiji Fish Market in Tokyo, Japan. I thoroughly enjoyed going along with Arigato Japan Food Tours and I can highly recommend that you join the tour as well.
If you have any questions about the tour or Tsukiji Fish Market, feel free to send me an email and I will be more than happy to help answer your questions. Have a great trip to Japan and thank you for reading.