Sushi and Tuna Auction? Basic Manners at TSUKIJI Fish Market




You probably have a general idea what the Tsukiji Fish Market is after reading Best Sushi Comes from Tsukiji.

Tsukiji is so fun and exciting place to visit. But there are certain rules and manners that visitors should know.

I’m going to discuss some of the important manners and rules in Tsukiji Fish Market.




Check the Calendar Before Going

Before even heading, you have something to do. Check the calendar!

Tsukiji Fish Market doesn’t open everyday and they close irregularly.

Take a look at this calendar → Tsukiji Calendar


Avoid any days with red or yellow coloured. If you see December 2016, for instance, they will be closed Sundays EXCEPT Christmas! They open on Christmas. Moreover, they will be closed on the 7th, 23rd and 31st of December.


It’s always a good idea to check the calendar because you don’t want to go there when they close!



Manners at Fish Market



As mentioned in Biggest Fish Market TSUKIJI, Tsukiji Fish Market has been distributing fish, fruits and vegetables over 80 years.

It is a large wholesale market and not made to attract tourists. It was solely used for sellers and purchasers to obtain fresh products.


The number of tourists, however, has been increasing every year. Foreign tourists are keen to see how Tuna Auction is done and what is offered in this largest fish market.


In order to carry out business and deals without interruption, there are certain rules tourists need to know. It’s not something special but rather a reminder.


Don’t Touch Anything

When you see huge fish right in front of you, you might feel like touching and feeling it. Don’t do that!

All fish and seafood is for sale and they are not displayed for you to touch.

Also don’t touch equipment such as knives and cutting board. Basically don’t touch anything but just enjoy watching.



Don’t Enter Restricted Areas

Tsukiji Fish Market has some areas that are restricted to authorized personnel.

For instance, any visitors can spend time in an Outer Market before 10a.m. but they are NOT allowed to enter an Inner Market before 10a.m.

This is due to the fact that the wholesale market is extremely busy until 10a.m.



Don’t Bring Big Luggage

I understand tourists have things to carry while traveling but don’t bring any big bags or luggage into the Tsukiji Market. Leave it in your hotel.


It will block traffic and interfere business. An Inner Market is especially busy with professional buyers and sellers so be respectful and alert.

Watch out what is happening around you and try to avoid any accidents or interference with the business.


How Buyers Bid



When you enter into an Inner Market, you would hear buyers are budding fresh fish. Here is comparison between old-time-bidding and present-time-bidding.



Buyers used to use a small blackboard. This small rectangular board was used to communicate with sellers.

The buyers would write down their bidding price and sellers would read it. If no one writes the larger amount, the buyer would get the products with the bidding price.




Buyers now use their hands to show how much they want to bid. Just using one hand, they have to quickly show the price.

Because they are professional and have been bidding and buying fish for a long time, the deal is done within a few seconds. Very quick and impressive.


I’m also impressed wholesalers catch the bidding price so quickly and keep dealing with different buyers.

I guess they are used to do it and their eyes must be very good at judging the bidding price instantly.



What is Tuna Auction?



One of the popular events in Tsukiji Fish Market is Tuna Auction.

Tsukiji sells huge tuna that are from within Japan as well as outside Japan and buyers come to get it everyday. Tuna is popular and it will be gone quickly.

Only 120 visitors can see the live Tuna Auction on the First-Come, First-Served basis.

The registration usually starts at 5a.m. However, it might change due to high volume of visitors.

The visitors will be divided into two groups. The first group watch the Tuna Auction between 5:25a.m. and 5:50a.m.

The second group watch the Auction between 5:50a.m. and 6:15a.m.


Between December 1st and January 15th, 2017, visitors are NOT allowed to access Tuna Auction because it’s the busiest time of the year.



How to Buy Products?

In an Outer Market, visitors can enjoy fresh breakfast or lunch. The Outer Market typically opens between 5a.m. and 12p.m. or 1 p.m.

Because they cannot enter into an Inner Market before 10a.m. I recommend to eat and shop in an Outer Market until 10a.m.


After 10a.m. they can go into the Inner Market to shop and eat as well.

Just like supermarket, items are displayed in front of stores with price tags. Find your favorite items and compare the price. Don’t press or unnecessarily touch the products.



Tsukiji Fish Market attracts not only domestic tourists but also international tourists. As the number of tourists increase, wholesalers are more likely to be disturbed and their business is interfered.

Please keep in mind to respect them so that they won’t feel annoyed by tourists.



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 - Sushi

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