Head to the Toyosu Market and Tsukiji outside market, hubs of Japan’s food culture
Safely watch impassioned trades take place right before your eyes
The Toyosu Market is the distribution hub for fresh food to and from every part of Japan. This function was served by the Tsukiji Market for 83 years before aging facilities and other factors caused it to be moved here and reopened in this new public facility in 2018. The new location is also designed to give regular tourists the opportunity to experience the trading up close.
The Toyosu Market is made up of four separate buildings. One is the Fisheries Wholesale Market Building, a popular spot to watch the tuna auctions; one is the Fisheries Intermediate Wholesale Market Building, where local fish retailers and sushi shops get their seafood; one is the Fruit and Vegetables Building for trading produce, and one is the Management Facilities Building. Visitors can travel freely between them via a series of walkways, and observation corridors are set up on the second floor of each one. From there, you can watch the trading take place below.
The crowning jewel of the market is getting to see the tuna auctions. Seeing the traders evaluate the rows and rows of fish with stern looks on their faces and then launch into action as soon as the bell sounds in a quick, dynamic, no-nonsense battle for the best price is truly a memorable experience. The electricity in the air is palpable. You are free to watch the tuna auctions from the second-floor corridor, but you can also enter the lottery ahead of time for reservations for the first-floor deck of the Fisheries Wholesale Market Building for an even closer vantagepoint. Tickets are available for ten-minute timeslots between 5:45 AM and 6:15 AM, and can be applied for online.
Both the Fruit and Vegetables Building and the Fisheries Intermediate Wholesale Market Building have second-floor observation corridors where you can watch the trading as well. Because these are professional specialty arenas not designed for tourists, visitors are not allowed to enter the first-floor transaction areas.
Don’t miss Toyosu’s fascinating professional wholesaler tool shops and market cuisine
In addition to facilities for industry professionals, the Toyosu Market is also set up with shops and sales aimed at everyday visitors. The Uogashi Yokocho area on the fourth floor of the Fisheries Intermediate Wholesale Market Building has nearly seventy specialty shops where food professionals who frequent the market shop. You’ll find everything from food stores specializing in seasonings, dried fish flakes, pickles, and Japanese omelets to knife and cooking utensil stores, pharmacies, and more. Seeing this extensive lineup of everything professionals might want makes for a fascinating experience for visitors as well. There are also countless eateries where you can enjoy delicious cuisine made with only the freshest market ingredients. In addition to the 22 restaurants on the third floor of the Fisheries Intermediate Wholesale Market Building, there are an additional twelve in the Management Facilities Building and three in the Fruit and Vegetables Building. Get your fill of sushi, eel, Chinese food, Western cuisine, and much more. The traders also frequent these restaurants when they’re finished working, so it can get extremely crowded around lunchtime. Hours vary at each establishment, but many are open early in the morning—making it the perfect place to grab breakfast or an early lunch. Note that the market is closed on Sundays and public holidays, so plan your visit around it. There are other market closure days occasionally as well, so be sure to visit the website and take note of them before you go.
The “outside” scene at Tsukiji is still going strong
The move to Toyosu signaled the end of 83 years of history for the Tsukiji Market. But Tsukiji was originally divided up into “inside” and “outside” market areas, and it’s actually only the inside area that has relocated. Some five hundred shops continue to operate in the outside market—from specialty grocers offering seafood, meat, seaweed, dried foods, and more to shops selling knives and other cooking utensils. The heyday of Tsukiji Market lives on in this bustling shopping district.
Once the inside market was moved to Toyosu, a new hotspot was born: Tsukiji Uogashi. It consists of two structures, the Odawara-bashi Building and the Kaiko-bashi Building. Each has about sixty shops on their respective first floors that serve as intermediate wholesalers. They sell to commercial professionals between 5 AM and 9 AM in the morning, and to the general public after that—so you can head in and enjoy some shopping yourself.
You’re not allowed to walk around while you’re eating on the first floor at Tsukiji Uogashi for safety reasons, but there’s an event space and rest area set up on the third floor where you can relax and enjoy your food and drinks. There’s also a food court offering filling favorites for the professionals who frequent Tsukiji—including hearty seafood rice bowls, set meals, fresh sashimi, fried foods, and more. It’s the perfect place to enjoy the delicious flavors that made Tsukiji a favorite destination for generations.
Visit Toyosu’s hot new market space, and head to Tsukiji for a taste of Japan’s constantly-evolving traditions. Both are central hubs of Tokyo’s food culture, offering a plethora of ingredients and memorable encounters with the professionals who buy and sell them every day.
Related:Dig into donburi rice in Tokyo
Toyosu Market information
The closest station to the Toyosu Market is Shijo-mae Station on the Yurikamome Line, and there is a passageway that takes you directly to the market from the station. Note, however, that the trains aren’t running yet when the market opens at 5 AM, so you’ll have to take a taxi if you want to arrive that early.
Toyosu Market Visitor’s Course
Lottery reservations to watch the tuna auction
For questions about making reservations, contact:firstname.lastname@example.org
Tsukiji outside market information
Tsukiji outside market