Eating in Japan: Tsukiji Market and Toyosu Fish Market

Tsukiji Market Outer market

The food scene in Tokyo is vibrant and varied. A place to taste some of the best dishes and freshest ingredients is the Tsukiji Market ( (築地市場, Tsukiji Shijō) in Tokyo.

In this market, I found terrific eats at very reasonable prices. I visited this place in April 2018, see a little update at the end of this post is needed since some modifications occurred since my visit last year.

From mobile food stands to small shops, some hidden in tiny alleys that twist and turn, it’s a place to calmly wander around and spend time taking in the smells and sights.

Some of the eateries in and around the market exclusively serve one single type of dish that is done to perfection, while others offer a variety of dishes. The single dish restaurant is ubiquitous in Japan.

Fresh tuna Tsukiji Market
Fresh tuna Tsukiji Market

Tsukiji Market was famous for being one of the world’s largest fish and seafood markets, handling just over 2,000 tons of marine products per day. The inner market is where the wholesale auction for fresh tuna took place. It starts very early and lately it’s by invitation or application in advance.

The bustling outer market is where the bijou shops and small eateries are located. It’s always buzzing with sellers, buyers, locals, scooters, bikes, trucks and crammed with lots of stalls selling fruits, vegetables, fish, sweet shops, street food and cute places to eat, as well as specialised Japanese knives and homewares for sale.

making knifes in Tsukiji Market
Tsukiji Market
Tsukiji Market

The must eat food around the market for their unbeatable freshness is sashimi, sushi, any dishes with fresh fish and seafood to include Donburi – Japanese plain rice bowls topped with different ingredients.

One of the best place to eat gyudon (rice topped with stewed beef), Harumondon (triple) is Kitsuneya, 4-9-12 Tsukiji, Chuo-ku in the outskirts of Tsukiji Market. Just look out for the longest queue in the main road.

Fresh tuna Donburu in Tsukiji Market
Gyudon in Tsukiji Market
sushi and sashimi in Tokyo

Sashimi is served on a bed of daikon with shiso garnishes. A small amount of soy sauce is poured into small dishes for seasoning. The most elegant way to eat it is to dab a small portion of wasabi or ginger directly onto the pieces of sashimi.

Traditional Sushi consists of vinegared rice bound with a variety of ingredients, such as raw fish or seafood, tamago (Japanese omelette) and vegetables. In Japan it is served at room temperature, this showcases the flavours and freshness of the ingredients.

The fish side should be dipped into the soy sauce and shouldn’t touch the rice. A good place for Sushi is Midori no Sushi at 107-6302 Tokyo, Shibuya, Dogenzaka and Sukiyabashi Jiro (concierge appointment only, humoured to retire after the Olympics in 2020) at 4 Chome-2-15 Ginza, Chūō, Tokyo 104-0061.

tamagoyaki in
making tamagoyaki
tamagoyaki in Tsukiji Market

For breakfast or a simple snack nothing better than a tamagoyaki (Japanese omelette) at Shouro, they sell it on a stick with a choice of sweet or savoury. This tiny stall on the side road opposite the ex-inner market is the one with the longest queue!

How to find and what to expect from New Toyosu Fish Market

The inner Tsukiji Market, where the tuna auction used to take place, moved to a new location from October 2018 to the nearby Toyosu waterfront. “The new market space, located on a man-made island in Tokyo Bay, is nearly double the size and yet is completely different in atmosphere – modern, bright, spacious (and, according to some critics, “antiseptic”)”

Some shops have moved to the new location while others closed down for good, ending decades of traditional family trade. But some eateries still can be found at The Tsukiji Market, most of the fish served and sold at Tsukiji Outer Market is delivered directly from Toyosu Market.

The closest underground to the new market is Shijo-mae Station, located on the Yurikamome Line with direct access to the market.

Have a look at this video showing the new Market Toyosu Fish Market ( the relocated wholesale part of the Tsukiji Market) : Video by Paolo from Tokyo

For more info:

Disclosure: I visited Japan on a personal holiday.