Visiting a local market is one of the best ways of soaking up the culture and getting better insight into the culinary scene. Since fish is such an integral part of Japanese cuisine no trip to Tokyo should go without a visit to Tsukiji Fish Market, especially if you are a seafood lover. Being one of the oldest and biggest wholesale fish markets in the world a visit to Tsukiji will definitely activate your senses. The market is sprawling, organized yet chaotic, bustling and crowded with fishmongers, chefs and ever so curious tourists; you smell fish, you see fish and you eat fish at every corner. While you can be spontaneous and just randomly hit the place, there is so much to see I’d highly recommend you do a little schoolwork before you go so that you are better prepared. Here is a little guide that I prepared of what to do and see in Tsukiji Fish Market.
Check Tsukiji calendar
The market is closed on Sundays, on public holidays and certain Wednesdays. Therefore, it is always important to check the calendar before you plan your visit. Please mind that the inner market opens to general public at 9 a.m. and usually starts winding down around 11 a.m. Tsukiji consists of an outer market filled with retail shops, food stalls and restaurants catering to the public; and an inner market where most of the wholesale business and the famous tuna auctions are taking place and a popular row of sushi restaurants is located.
It is an ideal place to discover the local charm of old sushi and sashimi restaurants and indulge in a sushi-filled breakfast. Where can you eat good sushi around here? I’d say anywhere, since there is such an abundance of small or big counters serving up the fresh morsels of catch of that day. As a general tip, I highly recommend you arrive to the
market at 7 a.m. and line up for sushi first. By 9 a.m. you should be done with your meal and will be able to head straight into the market across the street.
If you are not willing to wait in line at all or have a sitdown meal, then I recommend to browse the alleys of the outer market where you can sample a lot of snacks on the go, anything from grilled fish and meat on the skewers and delicious tamago to fresh oysters and uni straight from the shells!
Hundreds of tourists are attracted to the market by a tuna auction which is happening on a daily basis. If you think this is something that might fascinate you, there are a few aspects to consider.
Most importantly, you have to be at the market by 3:30 a.m. to have a solid chance to attend, even though you will not be admitted to the auction until 5:25 a.m. and you are
only given 25 minutes to be inside.