How to Visit the World-famous Tokyo Tsukiji Fish Market

Visiting the world-famous Tsukiji Fish Market used to be on everyone’s top to do list for Tokyo, in fact in Japan. Unfortunately the market no longer holds tuna auctions. You can still visit the old ramshackle market and shop in the area. It’s still fascinating and well worth a visit. However, if you’re interested in the tuna auctions then you’ll need to make your reservation to attend the auction at the Toyosu Fish Market.

Two sushi chefs present breakfast at the Tsukiji Market.
This is what we are shooting for…a delicious breakfast at Tsukiji Fish Market in Tokyo! How did we get here? How do you see the world famous tuna auction?

It’s a fascinating glimpse into the workings of a real fish auction as the night’s catch are delivered early in the morning to the market, auctioned off to middlemen, then sold in the outer market to either fish shops or restaurants for hundreds of thousands of dollars. The fresh fish sometimes only makes its way across the square to become the best breakfast in Tsukiji Fish Market.

If it’s on your list, you will want to know all the ins and outs of how to visit Tsukiji Fish Market in Tokyo, including seeing the tuna auction. But you better hurry, this Tokyo landmark will be closing in October 2018 and moving to a new location.

Pin to start planning your visit to the Tokyo Tsukiji Fish Market

Japan always delivers the best activities, and watching the world-famous tuna auction at the Tsukiji Fish Market is a must!
Ready for the most unusual breakfast of your life? It's waiting for you at the Tsukiji Fish Market in Tokyo.

Is Tsukiji the Most Famous Fish Market in the World?

It’s simple. Once the inner market moved operations to Toyosu, Tsukiji Fish Market was no longer the biggest market. Tuna auctions selling off tunas ranging upwards of 400 pounds have sold for over $600,000. Mind boggling! Today, you’ll need to visit the Toyosu market to watch the tuna auctions, but you can still spend half a day walking and exploring around Tsukiji market.

The Tsukiji Fish Market tuna auction begins with the ringing of the auctioneers bell.
It’s all business as the auctioneer rings his bell to sell the next lot.

How to Visit the Tsukiji Fish Market

Tsukiji Fish Market has been a must-see tourist attraction for many, many years, and it still is. However, in 2018, the inner market that sells over 2,000 tons of fish per day moved to its  new home in Toyusu. Concerns about aging infrastructure started the call to move the fish market, and the move had been planned for some time, but preparations for the Tokyo Olympics sealed the deal and the larger part of the market moved.

There's more to fish at the Outer Market of Tsukiju fish market. Here are pickled vegetables.
Pickled vegetables on sale in the Outer Market of Tsukiji.

The Best Part – Breakfast at Tsukiji Fish Market

Standing there back outside the market, we wondered, “Now what?”

A temple just outside of the fish market area beckoned to us. Poorly lit, but obviously well-cared for and containing some important tributes to the deities, people were there clapping and praying, most assuredly thanking the gods for their bounty, and hoping the next day offered the same. After we left the temple, we walked down the street and found an open sushi restaurant, called Yamazaki Sushi. This was the prize at the end–fresh sushi, the freshest.

The best sushi at Tsukiji Fish Market...a special breakfast sold each morning.

We entered the brightly lit establishment with promises of a “breakfast special” for only 2790 yen that held many of the market’s treats. We ordered it, but we also had to add a few extras. I’d heard that the Uni (sea urchin roe) was best fresh when off the boat. I’d never had an urge to eat sea urchin eggs before, but this was definitely the time to do it. It was a sweet taste of salt water and the ocean and, along with the other sushi we had that morning, the perfect end to our trip to the famous fish market of Tokyo.

Some of the Best Sushi Restaurants in Tsukiji

There is no shortage of places to try the freshest sushi you’ll ever have. As I mentioned we were drawn in by the special advertised so early in the morning at Yamazaki, and it was an experience both watching the men prepare our morning feast, but also the different types of sushi that we hadn’t tried before. It was delicious!

Yamazaki
〒104-0045 Tokyo, Chūō, Tsukiji, 5 Chome−2−1

The other sushi restaurants near Tsukiji fish market will not be much different. Fresh fish. Yum! But these are some other favorites:

Shuutoku 2
〒104-0045 Tokyo, Chūō, 築地6丁目26− 6

Sushi Dai
5 Chome-2-1 Tsukiji, Chūō, Tokyo 104-0045, Japan

Power Tip: When it comes to eating out in Japan, be adventurous! Check out our incredible food of Japan article for more tips and suggestions!

Sushi restaurant selling all the freshest fish. That's what you eat at the Tsukiji Fish Market.
Sushi Breakfast

Practical Information for Visiting the Tsukiji Fish Market and Tuna Auction

Check out the Tsukiji Fish Market website for more details.

Days to Visit Tsukiji

Open Mondays through Saturdays with the exception of Wednesdays and national holidays. Check the calendar before you make the commitment to getting up early.

Opening Hours for the Tsukiji Fish Market

The vendors in and around the fish market have different operating hours, but generally speaking, visiting between 09:00 and 14:00 is best.

Cost: Free

Address: 5-2-1 Tsukiji, Chuo, Tokyo 104-0045, Japan

Spam and other products are also sold at the Tsukiji.
If fish isn’t your thing, no need to worry. There’s plenty of other products, food, kitchen supplies, you name it at the Tsukiji.

What to Wear to the Tsukiji Fish Market

The market is mostly outdoors, so dress accordingly. Be ready for sudden showers, in fall and winter. Of course, wear comfortable walking shoes.

Tokyo Hotels Near Tsukiji Fish Market

The trick to getting a good hotel in Tokyo is simple. Look for decent review ratings that mention comfort and then check location. You don’t want to be too far from a metro station. Here are some Tokyo hotels in the Ginza district that fit the bill and are good value.

Mercure Hotel Ginza TOKYO
7 Chome-14-15 Ginza, Chūō, Tokyo 104-0061

Viainn Higashi Ginza
2 Chome-15-13 Tsukiji, Chūō, Tokyo 104-0045

Mitsui Garden Hotel Ginza Premier
8 Chome-13-1 Ginza, Chūō, Tokyo 104-0061

More Reading: Take a look at our Top Tokyo Attractions article for more tips and advice on visiting this energizing city!

How would you like to eat sushi for breakfast at the Tsukiji Fish Market in Tokyo?

Tuna lined up for auction at Tsukiji Fish Market Tokyo Japan.

25 thoughts on “How to Visit the World-famous Tokyo Tsukiji Fish Market”

  1. If it’s the biggest and freshest market… I’m sold! It is my dream to go to Tokyo and this market would be on of the first places on my list! Thank you for including some hotels that are nearby.

  2. Tsukiji is high on our list when we make it to Japan. Interestingly, the owner of one of our go-to spots in our neighborhood used to work at Tsukiji back in the day. Being able to eat all of that fresh fish would be a dream! Didn’t realize it was moving locations – wonder how the new spot will be.

  3. Such an amazing local experience this is! Different and so educative! While most of the times I have read about where to find the best sushi in Japan, your blog post gave me an insight about the market! I never knew about the Tsukiji fish market and the revenues! So good to know there is a fish information centre as well! Pity it is moving and tourists won’t have the same experience!

  4. I’m going to Japan in September. I’m very excited – it has never really been on my bucket list and then all of a sudden I decided to go. After reading this, I think I’ll be eating really good – yet ‘exotic’ – and very healthy for three weeks – another thing to look forward to.

  5. This post devoted to the Fish Market was so interesting! The auction must have been the highlight of the day. I can imagine al the buzz and the excitement. Breakfast sounds delicious too.

  6. Carolina Colborn

    What a chance to see the Tsukiji Fish Market, the biggest and freshest market and the one that brings in the most revenue a day in the world, through your post! Those tuna are huge!

  7. I’ve seen shows about this fish market, but somehow I missed that it was the largest in the world. It would be quite an experience to see the market and the auction, and the hubs would love the sushi shops. Not sure if we will make it there before it moves to a new location as Japan is high on our list, but not in the cards for this year. Thanks for all the handy tips!

    1. Lara, It is a spectacle, and it’s well worth the trip. I’m sure it will be just as interesting when it moves. It might even have more high tech integration which would be fascinating.

  8. This is so cool. I hadn’t heard that it was moving – I would like to see it before it goes but I doubt I’ll be able to. I’m afraid when they move to the new more tech process it won’t be the same. The sushi looks amazing though!

  9. Hi Corrine,

    I enjoyed reading your experience at Tsukiji very much! I stumbled upon your blog while I was researching about the fish market. I am a photography hobbyist and I will be making a trip to Tokyo next week. During my limited time in Tokyo, I plan to watch the tuna auction.

    In order to maximize my photography opportunity at the tuna auction, I would like to know how far (approximately) were you standing from the auction area, and should I use my 18-200mm lens or my telephoto 70-300mm lens. I am choosing between the two because I don’t want to bring too many lenses, as I will be bringing another glass lens (24-70mm) as well, which is very heavy. Also, while the auction is underway, is it okay to photograph the entire process?

    Your valuable time and input in answering my questions are greatly appreciated. Thank you!

    1. Shirley, No problem. I took my 18-200 which was perfect, because you have to stay on a path and sometimes it is closer than others. Plus that way, even close I could get some detail shots. You are allowed to photography the entire process. I’m pretty sure even flash was ok. It isn’t the best light, of course. The hardest part was trying to figure out where the shots were and jostling around the other people on the tour. Make sure you get to Tsukiji even earlier than they suggest so you are closer to the front of the line. Good luck. Let me know how it goes!

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