When in Tokyo, you cannot miss a visit of Tsukiji Market, a huge wholesale market best known as one of the world’s largest fish markets, handling over 2,000 tons of marine products per day! It is definitely a popular tourist attraction and the market is always very busy.
Tsukiji Market consists of an inner market area where most of the wholesale business and the famous tuna auctions take place, and an outer market whose retail shops and restaurants cater to the public.
If you want to visit the famous tuna auction, keep in mind that the number of visitors to the auction is limited to 120 per day. You need to apply at the Osakana Fukyu Center (the Fish Information Center) at the Kachidoki Gate, from 5AM on a first-come, first-serve basis. If your application is successful, you will be able to experience the auction for about 25 minutes from a designated visitor area. Remember that the place is very popular, so keep that in mind and get there early! We did not do this, as we had 2 small children with us and it would have been too much for them.
Also, in order to prevent interference with business, tourists are not allowed into the wholesale area before 9AM. That’s when we went and the visit was still very interesting.
The variety of seafood is remarkable.
I was surprised to see so much shellfish I had never seen before!
Besides, they were HUGE.
I had never seen some of the marine species on offer.
We saw some big octopus.
Some tiny squid.
And even a puffer fish (fugu)!
We even had a “Frozen moment” when we spotted someone saw blocks of ice by hand!
Be careful of the motorised trolleys… they move really fast and they do not stop!
Tsukiji’s outer market is also very interesting. It consists of a few blocks of little shops and restaurants along narrow lanes.
When visiting Tsukiji Market you MUST try the sushi from the local restaurants. It is easily the freshest and some of the best in the world!
Beware of the overwhelming queues. We chose a restaurant that had a somewhat “shorter” queue, but still had to wait over 1 hour before we could get in! Our restaurant was called Yamazaki and the sushi was AMAZING.
We sat at the counter and we also got to see the experienced sushi chefs work their magic.
We tried a tuna roll, salmon nigiri, flounder nigari, medium fatty tuna.
And fatty tuna.
We also tried some nama-shirasu (baby sardines) sashimi. The girls were not willing to eat that… but I can attest to the fact that it was quite good.
It all came with tea and miso soup. It was so so so good. Especially the tuna nigiri. It was however a little bit pricy and I think you pay more because of the tourist location.
When we visited Kanazawa, we had just as great sushi at Omicho Market… for about half the price. So, if you visit Kanazawa, stop by the market for some delicious sushi!
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HOW TO GET THERE
Tsukiji Market is just above Tsukiji Shijo Station on the Oedo Subway Line. It can also be reached in a five minute walk from Tsukiji Station on the Hibiya Subway Line. The closest JR station is Shimbashi, from where you can walk to the market in about 15 minutes.