The Beauty and Chaos of Tsukiji Market

Known for being the largest wholesale fish market in the world, Tsukiji Market is a constant part of itineraries and tours in Japan and appears religiously in every guidebook sold in bookstores. Someone you know may have already told you not to miss it during your stay in Japan and you’ll probably see it being mentioned many times in the many guided tours you see online. Its free entrance may be the first thing that entices people to visit it and the idea that you can spend hours lingering around the market and visiting each shop but it’s the famous Tuna Auction which is held during the early hours of the morning that intrigues people more and makes them take a deeper look in the said market.

tsukiji market
Source: japantimes.co.jp

Tsukiji Market began its operation in 1935 after a great earthquake devastated the place and was forced to relocate its fish market to its current location next to Ginza. It consists of an inner market and outer market. Inside the inner market, you’ll be welcomed by the many sights of scooters, trucks, sellers, and buyers busy walking, talking, and hurrying around for the famous tuna auction which has been considered a major attraction for tourists. The tuna auction is so popular that it’s been limited to 120 visitors per day to avoid any types of commotion inside the market. Tourists, who want to witness the auction are required to head over to Osakana Fukyu Center or the Fish Information Center at Kachidoki Gate to get themselves registered. The first 60 visitors are scheduled to come inside the auction between 5:50 a.m. to 6:05 a.m. while the remaining 60 visitors are scheduled between 6:05 a.m. to 6:20 a.m. People usually began lining up before 5 a.m. because it’s solely first-come, first-serve basis, successful applicants who got themselves a slot in the auction are to be put inside an auction room to wait for their turn. The auction is not allowed to be seen if you’re not registered and flash photography is strictly prohibited.

tsukiji market
Source: fastjapan.com

As for the outer market, it houses small retails shops where you can purchase goods and items such as knives. You can also buy smaller portions of fresh fruits and vegetables here. Aside from that, you can find restaurants in the outer market where you can eat authentic Japanese dishes and delicious servings of fresh sushi. People who just got out of the auction usually dine in these restaurants to get their seafood cravings and a sushi breakfast is highly recommended. There are also restaurants in the inner market but these are limited due to crowd control during tuna auctions. All restaurants, both in the inner and outer markets are up and running from 5 in the morning until early afternoon. Most shops are already closed by 3 in the afternoon.

tsukiji market
Source: japan-guide.com

Going solo and discovering the beauty of the market is fun but if you like to be guided and to learn more about Tsukiji Market, guided tours are highly recommended and in Tokyo by Food, we have two tours you can easily join: Tokyo Tsukiji Market Fish Market tour and Morning in Tsukiji: Breakfast and Market Tour. Both of these fun and interactive guided tours let you discover and learn all about Tsukiji Market and meet new people along the way.

tsukiji market
Source: tokyocheapo.com

Earlier this year marked the final year where tuna auctions will be held at Tsukiji Market for it will be relocated to its new home in Toyosu sometime this October 2018. Until then, the inner market will still be up and running every morning. It’s your last chance to witness the beauty and chaos of tuna auctions where you will find the biggest and boldest freshly caught tunas, which is definitely worth the long wait and is something you shouldn’t miss when visiting Japan. It’s an experience you’ve never seen before. Aside from that, you’ll also see freshly gathered wholesale fruits and vegetables. So if you’re considering paying a visit to the famous Tsukiji Market, now is the best time to go because the nearer the time for its relocation, the more congested the market becomes because of the flock of locals and tourists visiting the market.

For more information regarding Tsukiji Market and its upcoming relocation, head over to FAQ Japan where it first appeared and you can send your inquiries and questions about it. For those who may not know, FAQ Japan is a great website to visit if you want to know more about Japan. It has useful information ranging from restaurant reviews, movie recommendations, educational videos you can watch on the website or on their YouTube channel, and interesting articles about everything Japan that will surely pique your interest. It’s got you covered too with their shared insider tips from the experts and you can even buy merchandise such as t-shirts, mugs, and accessories. Visit the FAQ Japan and be sure to subscribe to receive the latest information about Japan.

She’s cooking and baking for her family and friends. She finds grocery shopping therapeutic, always takes the longest time in the Asian section and debates with herself whether she needs that extra pack of instant ramen. A lover of sweets, she dreams of owning a patisserie and publishing her book but most of the time, she’s just really thinking of what to eat for breakfast the next day.

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