Tokyo’s Tsukiji Market is one of Japan’s most iconic places to visit, and a must for food and market lovers.

Because of how often travelers ask us about it — especially now that the wholesale market has moved to Toyosu — we’ve put together this guide to visiting Tsukiji Market.

While the “inner” wholesale section of Tsukiji has sadly closed, the good news for culinary travelers is that Tsukiji’s lively and colorful outer market remains an incredible place to immerse yourself in Japanese cuisine.

Fish on display at Tokyo's Tsukiji Market

Many years ago, when Tsukiji originally began to attract travelers, its highlights were both the outer public portion of the market (jogai in Japanese), as well as the inner wholesale section (jonai).

Then, in the handful of years leading up to the market’s move in 2018, Japan experienced an astonishing tourism boom, while culinary travel simultaneously became a global phenomenon.

Tsukiji’s Inner Wholesale Market (Jonai)

As a result, overcrowding became an issue at Tsukiji, particularly in the inner wholesale market where the increase in tourism began to interfere with professionals (seafood vendors and chefs) going about their daily business.

For a feel of what Tsukiji’s inner market used to be like, watch the film Jiro Dreams of Sushi, or check out the Asahi Shimbun’s Tsukiji: Kitchen of the Times.

Thus, to preserve the integrity of the market’s operations, increasingly stringent regulations were put into place to prevent tourists from entering the inner market until later and later. At the time of the move in October 2018, the permitted entry time was 11:00 am, by which point activity in the inner market had dwindled significantly.

So while the inner market used to be a key part of its appeal, Tsukiji’s outer market ultimately became the highlight for most food-loving travelers in the years preceding the move.

Seafood vendor slicing fish at Tsukiji Market in Tokyo, Japan

Tsukiji’s Outer Market (Jogai)

In Tsukiji’s lively outer market you will find historic lanes and alleys packed with a colorful array of shops and small restaurants – not to mention atmosphere and charm to spare.

Highlights of Tsukiji Market

Whether you want to eat, or shop for culinary supplies, Tsukiji has you covered. While you won’t be surprised to find seafood on offer, there are also plenty of other options as well.

If you love to cook, Tsukiji is a fantastic place to stock up on Japanese ingredients for your pantry, not to mention buy a top-quality Japanese knife!

As you wander about Tsukiji you’ll come across:

  • Tiny sushi counters
  • Casual ramen stalls
  • Vendors selling everything from fresh seafood, to fruits and vegetables
  • Purveyors of Japanese staples such as tea, kombu, katsuobushi, and nori
  • Japanese knives
  • And much more

Make sure to bring cash, as even today many shops don’t accept credit or debit cards (read more about cash, ATMs, and credit cards in Japan).

There are countless places to eat at Tsukiji, though you will find that some shops have long lines from early in the morning. While it can be fun to eat at the market, Tsukiji is probably not the best place to enjoy Tokyo’s highest-quality sushi.

Tsukiji worker taking a cigarette break, at Tsukiji Market in Tokyo, Japan

Tips on Visiting Tsukiji Market

1. Check Tsukiji’s Calendar Before You Visit

Tsukiji Market is typically closed on Sundays, holidays, and most Wednesdays — so make sure to check the calendar before you visit.

Here is a link to Tsukiji’s official calendar. Despite being in Japanese, it’s fairly straightforward. Simply avoid the days marked in red!

2. Pack and Dress Appropriately

  • A small bag, backpack or purse may be fine, but definitely avoid bringing large backpacks, suitcases, or other unwieldy items (leave these at your hotel or in a station locker).
  • Make sure to wear closed-toe shoes – such as sneakers or boots – that can get wet.
  • Avoid perfume or cologne as this can interfere with vendors’ and shoppers’ sense of smell (and taste).

If you can’t move nimbly through Tsukiji, you’ll be in the way – and won’t have as much fun!

3. Access: How to Get to Tsukiji Market

Tsukiji Market is located in the heart of central Tokyo, near the upscale Ginza neighborhood, the lovely Hamarikyu Garden, and lively Shimbashi.

Transport Options to Tsukiji Market

  • If you’re traveling by public transit, the closest station is the Toei Oedo line’s Tsukiji Shijo Station.
  • Also nearby, the second closest station is the Tokyo Metro Hibiya line’s Tsukiji Station.
  • Naturally, you can also walk or take a taxi, depending on your point of origin.

You can use Tokyo Metro to get to Tsukiji

Visiting the New Toyosu Market

Now that the wholesale operations have moved from historic Tsukiji to modern Toyosu, many travelers wonder whether they should visit Tsukiji, Toyosu, or both.

It’s not a simple answer, but we recommend focusing on Tsukiji, especially if you only want (or have time) to visit one. Apart from the fact that its location is a little bit out of the way, the modern Toyosu Market lacks the old-fashioned charm and atmosphere of Tsukiji.

The new Toyosu market complex will hold some appeal to market lovers (and also boasts many eateries), however please note that it is not possible to enter the active market itself, and market activities can be viewed from observation decks enclosed by glass.

Tako (octopus) on sale in Tokyo, Japan

We hope you enjoy your visit to Tokyo’s one-of-a-kind Tsukiji Market!

Guide to visiting Tokyo's Tsukiji Market
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About Andres Zuleta

Andres is the founder of Boutique Japan. Unlike a lot of travel companies, we don’t work from a cubicle!

In 2005, I first moved from New York City to Tokyo to study Japanese, and living in Tokyo changed my life, leading me to want to dedicate my life to helping others really experience Japan, the way I have been able to do so!

4 thoughts on “Guide to Visiting Tokyo’s Tsukiji Market

  1. Andres, thank you for this article. I love photography and I will be visiting Tokyo next week, and Tsukiji is on top of my list for places to visit in the city. I want to see the auction, so I plan to arrive there around 3:00am to register (saw someone suggested to another person on another website to arrive by 3:30am so that he/she could be guaranteed a slot in the 120 limit). My questions are:

    1) Between registering and the start of auction time, what are your suggestions for things to do to kill time? Is the outer market open during that time (between 3-5am)?

    2) Is it OK to wander around the outer market after securing a number for the auction, or I will lose my spot if I do so? Is passport required for the registration?

    3) After the auction is done, can visitors linger around the area to photograph the rows of tunas?

    4) Is it considered rude to the chef if I photograph my food order before I eat?

    5) Do you know how much is the taxi fare from Kayabacho subway station to Tsukiji at that early hours?

    Sorry for the tons of questions, but I wish to be fully prepared to maximize my photography opportunity, as I have very limited time in Tokyo. Thank you for your patience and understanding!

  2. I have the same questions as MagentaSwallow. Arriving in Tokyo afternoon April 10, hope to visit Tsukiji April 11.

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