Best Sushi Comes from TSUKIJI in Tokyo, the Biggest Fish Market




If you are a sushi lover, you might have heard of Tsukiji (築地). Did you know Tsukiji also offers fruits and vegetables? This post gives you an idea what Tsukiji is.



What is the Tsukiji Fish Market?

Have you tried Sushi Train? Do you know who invented it? Find out → Who Invented Sushi Train?


Tsukiji (築地) is the biggest fish market in the world and it’s located in Tokyo. It also sells fruits and vegetables. It’s famous for tuna auction and all sort of fresh fish and seafood.

A lot of sushi chefs go there to get fresh fish everyday.


Tourists can also visit and take a look what they offer. It’s one of the popular destinations among tourists and totally different from regular market place.



History of Tsukiji




During Edo period, Tokugawa Ieyasu established the first fish market in Tokyo. It was located in Nihonbashi and sellers built good relationships with buyers.


The number of buyers had increased and government was trying to expand the fish market.

Unfortunately, due to Great Kanto Earthquake in 1923, this Nihonbashi fish market was burned down to the ground and they had to open in a new location.


In 1923, fish market was moved to Tsukiji and since then Tsukiji has been developing its business. To expand business space, Tsukiji fish market was supposed to move to Toyosu area in Tokyo in November 2016.

However, the plan has postponed and it is most likely to move the end of 2017.



What is Happening in Tsukiji





Wondering how the market works? Here is a typical routine in the Tsukiji Fish Market.


Fishers catch and bring their fish and seafood to the Tsukiji market after 5p.m. Sellers in Tsukiji market receive fish and seafood and prepare to sell them. This continues until midnight.


After 3a.m. people start to come to Tsukiji to check items they want to buy. They check items and consider price before the auction starts.


Around 5 a.m. auction starts. Whoever bids the highest amount can purchase the products. They bid to sell the products to other customers.


Around 7a.m. the buyers bring back the products to their stores in Tsukiji and prepare to sell those to customers who visit Tsukiji Fish Market.


People who work in fish market or restaurant would visit Tsukiji after 8a.m. to get fresh products.

Between 8a.m. and 10a.m. is the busiest time of the day as business owners and tourists come to Tsukiji.


Stores at Tsukiji would prepare to close after 11a.m. They clean and prepare for next day. After 1p.m. all store are closed and Tsukiji becomes very quiet. All the floors will be cleaned and waiting for next fresh fish.



Mottos at Tsukiji

Wholesale Market Sanitation Inspectors work hard everyday to sustain high level of freshness.

Their mottos are: Not to accept any harmful food: Not to manufacture any harmful food in the market: and Not to distribute any harmful food outside the market.


The inspectors check early in the morning as well as after auction. Their goal is to distribute safe and great products to consumers.



What to Do in Tsukiji

Why do tourists go to Tsukiji Fish Market? Most of them go there to eat fresh sushi and seafood and observe auction and various stores.


Do you know how big the tuna you eat is? You will be surprised by the size of tune and other fish in Tsukiji.

It’s also interesting to see and hear how bidding is done. Foreigners probably don’t understand what sellers say during bidding because I don’t understand!

They use “sort of” terminology so even Japanese don’t quite understand what they say. Some Japanese know because they have experience in bidding or they have learned by themselves.


There is Outer Market, which is open to public and Inner Market, which is partially restricted to visitors. You can eat and purchase fish and seafood in Outer Market, while you can purchase products in Inner Market.


How to Go to Tsukiji

Tsukiji is located in Chuo ward, Tokyo. Take Toei Oedo Line and get off at Tsukiji Shijo Station.

If you take Hibiya Line, it takes about 5 minutes from Tsukiji Station.

If you take JR Line, get off at Shinbashi Station and walk about 15 minutes from there.



Hours of Tsukiji Market

Outer market is usually open between 5a.m. and 2p.m. (this is where you can actually eat sushi and seafood at restaurants)


Wholesale Area is open between 9a.m. and around 1p.m.


The unique Tuna Auction is open between 5:25a.m. and 6:15a.m. The space is limited and only 120 people can watch the auction per day.




Tsukiji is definitely one of the adventurous destinations in Tokyo.

You can feel its energy and atmosphere and enjoy fresh fish and seafood.


I hope you will spend a great time in this super fast-paced environment.




Here is another popular post on Sushi → Japanese Debunks 6 Common Myths about SUSHI



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