October 11th, 2018, brought massive changes to the Tokyo fish market scene. After over 80 years, the famous Tsukiji fish market closed, and a new market in Toyosu took its place. Now, the Toyosu market holds the title for the world’s biggest fish market, taking over the crown from Tsukiji. But what exactly has moved to Toyosu? And is there anything still worth visiting at the old Tsukiji location? We’ve got all you need to know about these major changes to Tokyo’s fish markets right here. Oh, and make sure to stay until the end, as we’ve included a special surprise at the end of the article. But first, here’s your guide to Tokyo’s new Toyosu fish market.
TOYOSU FISH MARKET
Where is Toyosu Fish Market located? What are its opening hours?
Toyosu Fish Market’s address is 6 Chome-5-1 Toyosu, Kōtō-ku, Tōkyō-to 135-0061, Japan. It’s located right by the Shijo-Mae Station on Tokyo’s driver-less Yurikamome subway line. In fact, the market and Shijo-Mae station are directly connected, so once you’re at the station, you’re practically at the market.
The Toyosu Market floor hours are 4:30 AM-5 PM. Admission is completely free! Just don’t try to visit on Sundays or national holidays---Toyosu Market is closed then.
Does Toyosu host the famous tuna auction now?
If you’re interested in seeing the tuna auction, you’re in luck. It has moved to Toyosu now, with the rest of the wholesale fish market. You’ll find the auction at Toyosu’s fisheries wholesale building (block 7), and it starts at 4:30 AM. The Japanese treat tuna like premium beef, so the best tuna at this auction can fetch millions of yen!
Source: Japan Times
The Toyosu auction experience is definitely different from the old Tsukiji auction feel. It’s more modern, and you can’t look at the tuna up close. But you won’t have to get a reservation ticket to visit the Toyosu auction. Now, you just have to show up early and secure the best view.
Source: Japan Times
On the second floor (upper observation deck) of the fisheries wholesale building, you’ll find several observation windows to look through and watch the auction unfold. You’ll also find displays that explain the auction process, and a model of the largest bluefin tuna ever sold at Tsukiji. This setup is much safer and cleaner than it was at Tsukiji, and there’s room for more people, but you won’t be able to hear the auction or feel like you’re a part of the action.
But, a closer, more interactive experience is coming soon! After January 15, 2019 (estimated), you’ll be able to access the lower auction observation area on the first floor. There, you can listen to the hustle and bustle as the fish get sold, and even smell the tuna! Plus, you’ll feel the cold auction floor temperatures (so you’ll want to bring a coat). The only thing standing between you and the auction hall will be a giant piece of glass.
Whichever viewing spot you choose, you’ll notice the green floors where rows and rows of tuna are lined up, waiting to be sold. Why green? It’s easier for buyers to pick out the best fish, because the red meat pops on the green background!
What else is there to see at Toyosu?
Besides the tuna auction, you can also watch other seafood, as well as produce, get auctioned off. The seafood and produce auctions each have their own auction floors (separate from the tuna auction). Like the tuna auction, you can view these auctions from their own observation decks. You’ll find the seafood auction in the fisheries wholesale building, and the produce auction in the fruit and vegetable market building.
Unfortunately, you can’t visit the main Toyosu wholesale market at all---they don’t even open it to the public after a certain time. Although you can view the market from observation areas, the awnings make most of the action hard to see, as illustrated in the photo below.
Source: Japan Wonder Travel
There is a small market that visitors can peruse, though. It’s called the Uogashi Yokocho market, and it’s on the fourth floor of the fish intermediate wholesale building (different from the main fisheries wholesale building). You’ll find non-perishable foods, tea, sake, knives, ceramics, souvenirs, and many other goods.
Also, on the fifth floor of the fish intermediate wholesale building, there's a rooftop promenade and garden with amazing views of Tokyo. Look for Tokyo Tower and Rainbow Bridge---and rumor has it, you might even see Mt. Fuji on a clear day.
And of course, there are the scrumptious restaurants, many of which moved from Tsukiji. We’ll cover the restaurants next.
What are the best restaurants at Toyosu? What do they serve?
Sushi restaurants, where you can eat the freshest fish, are the best and most popular restaurants at Toyosu. One major problem--- it usually takes 3 to 4 whole hours to grab a bite at Sushi Dai or Daiwa Sushi, the two most famous sushi restaurants. Yes, there are plenty of other sushi restaurants around, all with super-fresh fish. Only go if the lines are short, though...unfortunately, nearly every sushi restaurant draws long lines!
Source: Japan Wonder Travel
You’ll also find seafood restaurants with kaisendon (raw fish over rice, pictured below) and unagi (the Japanese delicacy of eel). In the mood for something other than seafood? Your options include pork cutlets, beef, curry, ramen, and more.
Keep in mind that the restaurants are split between three locations. Most restaurants are on the third floor of the fish intermediate wholesale building or the third floor of the fisheries wholesale market (Management Facilities). But, you’ll find Daiwa Sushi, and a few other restaurants, on the fruit and vegetable building’s first floor.
Pro Tip: Follow the market workers, and eat where they eat. They have limited time, so they always pick scrumptious but super-quick bites! Often, one of the several cafes will be your best bet.
Why not take a cooking class and learn how to make fresh sushi? That way, you won’t have to worry about the lines---instead, you’ll get an inside look at the sushi process from the professionals!
What’s the best time to visit Toyosu, and what’s the best way to get there?
Source: Fast Japan
I hope you’re a morning person! For your best Toyosu experience, get to the market before sunrise, when it’s most active. This means that you’ll need a place to stay in Toyosu (or Odaiba).
From Toyosu Station, the Toyosu Fish Market is a 3-minute ride away on the Yurikamome line. And from Odaiba-Kaihinkoen Station, the market is a 15-minute ride away on the same line. However, the first train from Toyosu Station to Shijo-Mae Station only leaves at 5:15 AM and arrives at 5:18 AM. And the first train out of Odaiba-Kaihinkoen leaves later than that. So, if you want to catch the tuna auction when it begins at 4:30 AM, and secure the best viewing spot, you’ll need to catch a super-early taxi instead. The market is only a 10-minute taxi ride from Odaiba, and less than an 8-minute ride from central Toyosu.
What else is there to do near Toyosu Fish Market?
Besides Shijo-Mae Station, there’s not much located near the Toyosu Fish Market right now. (There are plans to add a hotel, spa, shops and other attractions next to the Toyosu Fish Market in the years to come. But these projects won’t be finished until 2023.)
One option is to hop back on the Yurikamome line and ride it to Odaiba. You can cover Toyosu and have plenty of time to visit Odaiba on the same day.
But is Tsukiji also still a viable option to visit, even though Tsukiji’s famous fish market is closed? Read on to find out.
TSUKIJI FISH MARKET
Source: Aimaimyi (CC BY-SA 3.0)
Did everything at Tsukiji Market move to Toyosu?
Not everything at Tsukiji was moved to Toyosu. The inner markets with fish, vegetables and fruits, as well as some of the restaurants, moved. However, the outer market is still at Tsukiji, with food vendors and tourist-oriented shops. And even though some of the outer Tsukiji shops have closed, new ones are moving in! Tsukiji still retains its historic charm, cultural significance, and culinary influence, even with the inner market gone.
Source: Aw1805 (CC BY-SA 3.0)
Where is Tsukiji Market located, and what subway stations are closest? What are the market's hours?
You’ll find Tsukiji Outer Market at 4 Chome-16-2 Tsukiji, Chūō-ku, Tōkyō-to 104-0045, Japan. If you’re going to ride the subway, you’ll need to get off at Tsukiji Shijo Station (Oedo Subway Line) or Tsukiji Station (Hibiya Subway Line). The market is a short walk away from both stations.
Tsukiji Outer Market is open most days. However, it is closed on Sundays and holidays, with most stalls closed Wednesdays as well. Each shop, restaurant, and street food vendor has its own hours, but most are open 5 AM-2 PM.
Does Tsukiji still have its street food stalls?
There’s plenty of authentic Japanese food still at Tsukiji to satisfy every taste---especially if you’re a seafood fan! Love street food? Tsukiji still has plenty of street food shops at this outer market, serving up Tokyo favorites. Just be prepared to wait a while for the most popular street eats. And make sure to seek out the coveted free samples!
Some of the best Tsukiji street foods are:
Tuna: After hearing about how prized tuna is in Japan, and after watching the tuna auction at Toyosu, you’ll want to pick up tuna for yourself. On the Tsukiji streets, it’s at its best served raw in bowls, or grilled on skewers. And if you’re lucky, you’ll find some melt-in-your-mouth tuna belly!
Source: Tokyo Zebra
Giant Oysters: When we say they’re giant, we mean it! These oysters are as big as, or bigger than, your hand. But you’ll have to be brave, as they’re usually served raw.
Source: Mark Wiens/Youtube
Tamagoyaki: Tamagoyaki are Japanese skewered sweet omelets. At one stall, you’ll only have to pay 100 yen for the iconic eggy goodness. These “rolled” omelets are the perfect way to start your day… bright and early, before the lines get long!
Eel Skewers: Usually, eel (unagi) is expensive because it’s so highly regarded in Japan. But if you want to try a little eel for a reasonable price (and still have plenty of room for other street eats), one stall called Nishin Tasuke serves tender little skewers of eel.
Source: Japan Info
Matsuzaka Beef: The locals have a secret: tender, juicy Matsuzaka beef is just as good as wagyu. So, go find yourself some street Matsuzaka! You might find a “Menchi Katsu,” or Matsuzaka meatball covered in breadcrumbs.
Fish Cakes/Crab Cakes: You’ll find several stalls with fish cakes and crab cakes, but the most popular are coated in sweet corn.
Source: Zhihui Lim/Burpple
Uni: Uni is sea urchin, a Japanese delicacy with elaborate salty, bitter and fishy flavors, harvested out of its threatening spiny shell. Try it on its own (straight out of the shell), or seek out one of the best street food bites at the market---the black steamed buns filled with warm uni cream!
Source: No Shame Adventures
What other food is still at Tsukiji Outer Market?
Several restaurants have stayed open at Tsukiji. Are you a sushi enthusiast? It’s much easier to grab sushi at Tsukiji than at Toyosu. Even though some Tsukiji restaurants also have wait times of several hours, any sushi you find will be fresh and authentic. In fact, any restaurant seafood you sample will be high-quality, especially since much of it comes right from the Toyosu auctions. Enjoy---and definitely don’t limit yourself to just the sushi!
There are still some market stalls open, too, serving produce, delicacies like dried squid, and more for all of your culinary needs. And yes, you can still look at tuna, shrimp, crab, clams, and other fresh, raw seafood at Tsukiji, and buy it directly from fish vendors! (Plus, some of it’s ready to sample right away!)
You can even book cooking classes with tours of Tsukiji Outer Market, so you can cook authentic Japanese dishes with local fish right after you’ve perused the high-quality local seafood! You’ll see how professional chefs choose the best fish and other ingredients---and pick up tips to use in your own cooking.
Is there an inside market still in Tsukiji? What is it called, and how can I find it?
Tsukiji Uogashi (“Tsukiji Fish Bank”) is a new, smaller inside market complex meant to help fill in the gaps caused by the move to Toyosu. Several of the fresh fish, fruit, and vegetable vendors who moved to Toyosu opened up branch locations at Tsukiji Uogashi, to maintain their presence in Tsukiji. Plus, you’ll find even more sushi and seafood restaurants at Tsukiji Uogashi for your fresh fish fix!
The public can access Tsukiji Uogashi from 9 AM to 3 PM, so it’s the perfect place to visit after strolling around Tsukiji Outer Market. Like the other fish markets, it’s closed on Sundays and holidays. It’s also closed every Wednesday.
Tsukiji Uogashi is located at 6 Chome-27-1 Tsukiji, Chūō-ku, Tōkyō-to 104-0045, Japan. It’s only a minute’s walk away from Tsukiji Outer Market!
What else is there to do near Tsukiji Market?
3 options all within a 15-minute walk are Hama Rikyu Gardens, the Ginza shopping district, and the Hongan-ji Buddhist temple.
- The tranquil Hama Rikyu Gardens boasts beautiful flowers and trees, peacefully flowing waters, and the traditional Nakajima Tea House for relaxing traditional drinks.
- If you’re more into high-end shopping, then the famous Ginza retail district is a must-visit for the latest designer fashions.
- The opulent Hongan-ji Buddhist temple is only a minute away from the market. Once its exterior and interior architecture captures your attention, you’ll never want to leave.
Tsukiji or Toyosu - What’s the better choice if I only have time for one?
Between Tsukiji and Toyosu, Tsukiji’s still the better choice for foodies who want to sample a variety of dishes, both in restaurants and on the street. After all, there’s virtually no street food at Toyosu. Tsukiji's also better for looking at and buying fresh fish for cooking, as there's no way to buy fresh fish if you’re just visiting Toyosu. Plus, there’s more to do around Tsukiji. But if your main desire is to see an iconic seafood auction, then go with Toyosu, as Tsukiji no longer hosts auctions.
If you plan your time right, though, you won’t have to choose between Toyosu and Tsukiji. Tsukiji Market is about a 10-minute taxi ride from central Toyosu, so you can easily visit both markets on your Tokyo trip. Both markets are at their best early in the morning, though, so split these visits between two different mornings.
If you want to see the best of both we recommend you to Toyosu & Tsukiji Fish Market Tour with Sake Tasting.
This is it... plus a little bonus!
We hope that this in-depth guide to the markets at Toyosu and Tsukiji helps you make the most of your time in Tokyo! After you’ve enjoyed the freshest fish that Tokyo has to offer, why not take a Tokyo cooking class and learn how to cook Japanese dishes with this high-end seafood?
Here’s a little bonus for reading this far! Use the promo code TOYOSU10 and get a 10% discount on Tokyo cooking classes on www.cookly.me
Written by Jessica Huhn for Cookly.
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