Tsukiji Fish Market is the world’s most famous fish market, and is always a must visit for both first time visitors and returning visitors who love the market atmosphere. This popular wholesale market is where you will experience the real-life seafood auction with some of the biggest and freshest fish you have ever seen in your life. Not only will you find fresh fish and seafood, but also cooked foods, snack foods, knives, kitchenware etc.
Wholesale Fish Market
If you are willing to wake up early enough to take an expensive taxi ride over, go for the tuna auction which start around 5.30am. However, the total number of visitors a day is restricted to only 120 (two groups of 60). I would advise that you get there by 4am in order to secure yourself a ticket.
I have never managed to get up early enough to view the tuna auction unfortunately. But when they do let the public in to the market after 9.30am you can still see people carting their large prized tuna, boxes of fresh and frozen seafood back to their restaurants or businesses. It is quite interesting to see all the different species of fish that you do not find back home.
The next best time to visit is probably 9am because the wholesale market inside Tsukiji is off-limits to visitors until after 9.30 am.
If you do not mind skipping the auction, Tsukiji Outer Market stays open until the early hours of the afternoon, though the real action does not exactly happen beyond 8am.
Below are a few places where we snacked on
Ramen – there is only one ramen store at Tsukiji Market which usually has along queue. This places serves tokyo style ramen (shoyu) in bowls of 8 as you can see below.
Good simple bowl of noodles with a nice deep flavoured broth of chicken and pork. there are no seats and it is very alfresco with standing tables at the front of the store.
Kariage Chicken – selection of various sizes from chicken bits to quarter of a chicken to a whole chicken. Very tasty and succulent.
Tempura soba on the same street at the ramen but on the other end. Sometimes there is a queue, and sometimes there is no queue. Simple soba or udon with tempura. The menu is in Japanese, but do not let it stop you from pointing at what you want.
There are a few seats at the counter, otherwise you can stand against a table in front of the shop
Tamogoyaki – there are a handful of stalls specalising in egg, they generally offer a generous serving for you to sample before buying and churn them out one after the other.
To be honest, they seem to taste pretty similar to me. sweet, fluffy, light and made fresh.
Grilled Giant Scallop – The eye catching thig with this is the size of the scallop which is grilled over hot rocks. My first impressions was that it was fairly expensive for a scallop, but my mum insisted that we buy one. It is served with fish, mussles, sea urchin and crab meat – even though it is relatively expensive, it is worth it as you get a range of seafood.
Fish cakes – there are a number of shops that sell the deep fried fish cakes. To me they are kind of off putting as you can see how oily they are with the oil shimmering back at you. you can get variously fillings and styles.
Sea Urchin steam buns – I have never had sea urchin a steam bun before. It comes in two varieties.
White steam bun with whole sea urchin or a black (squid in bun) filled with sea urchin paste. The later is significantly cheaper than the white steam bun. A regular Uni-man has a puffy fish cake mixed with sea urchin paste, fish and yam inside. The upgraded version is called Uni-man Kiwami ( “the ultimate” in Japanese) with a Japanese style white sauce made with steamed sea urchin, sea urchin paste, soy milk and rice powder.
Beautifully decorated pieces of raw sea urchin will stimulate your appetite. You can enjoy the full sea urchin flavor inside and out.
Sushi/Sashimi/Chirashi Sushi there are many stalls selling sushi and sashimi. Its just a matter of picking which one you want to go to.. there are a couple of more famous stalls Sushi Dai and Daiwa Sushi and Sushi Zanmai. Thes shops mentioned generally have a long queue where the wait times are excess of 40 minutes. If you really want to go to one of these places without having to wait in line, then I suggest you get there early and have it as your breakfast.
Dried Squid – salt cured and air dried squid that have been pulled apart – similar to beef jerky. Nice snack for those who can bare the taste. the dried squid is fairly hard giving your jaw a good workout.
There are talks that the fish market will move to another location. It is just a matter of when. The new location will be at Toyosu near the 2020 Olympic village.
Location: 5-2-1 Tsukiji, Chūō, Tokyo 104-0045, Japan