last update: December 18, 2014
Tsukiji is located in Chuo special ward on the banks of the Sumida River, in front of the artificial island of Tsukishima, and the biggest fish market in the world
is located there.
The site undoubtedly the most famous and beautiful to look at Tsukiji is the Tsukiji Fish Market
. To understand a little the size of this market is enough to say that every day 2000 tons of fish
from this market, and it employs around 60,000 people.
The market is starting to come alive at 3 in the morning and then close around lunch time (1:00pm).
Unfortunately, since May 2010 the interior of the fish market, but also the market of fruit and vegetables (there is also a smaller and less famous dedicated to the sale of fruits and vegetables), remains closed to the public until 9.00am.
Due to the increasing amount of tourists who went early in the morning to the market, hampering what is actually a place of work for many people, they have taken this decision. At 9, the market has already lost part of its "vitality", but a visit is still very interesting, do not go too after 9 because the more time passes, the more the market loses its spectacularity. Walking around you will see fishes and seafood from all over the world.
The market is closed on sundays, holidays, and some occasional weekdays, visit this website
to check the planned closing days.
Inside the market
The tuna auctions are one of the most special things to see in Tsukiji, they take place from 5 to 6.30 in the morning.
According to the new rules started on july 26th, 2011, these auction are limited to 120 visitors per day: a first group of 60 people between 5.25 and 5:50 am, and then a second group of 60 other people until 6.15. If you are interested to see these auctions, when you arrive at Tsukiji you have to apply at the Osakana Fukyu Center
, which opens at 5.00 am.
Tickets can't be bought in advance so as soon as you arrive, the better chance you have to enter. If you arrive at Tsukiji at 5 you should have no problems to enter with the first round, the second round at 5.50 is the most crowded and it may happen that the limit of 60 people is reached.
Outside the Tsukiji Fish Market there is another market, which is open to everybody, where there are all kinds of foods at lower prices than in supermarkets, and other miscellaneous items, here shops usually open at around 5 in the morning and close at 14:00.
There are also a lot of restaurants of sushi and sashimi, where it is customary to have breakfast with fresh fish from the market.
Other attractions in the area are the Tsukiji Hongan-ji
, a Buddhist temple with a very unusual architecture,more typical of Southeast Asia than of Japan, and the St. Luke's Garden Towers
St. Luke's Garden Towers
A complex of two towers, in japanese called Seiroka Towers
. The highest is 221 meters high, and is connected to the other tower via a suspension bridge on the 32nd floor. At the base of the towers there are some shops and restaurants, while the upper floors of the north tower are occupied by some restaurants with views and a small free observation deck on the 47th floor. The top floors of the south tower are occupied by the Ginza Creston Hotel
Sleeping, where to stay near the Tsukiji Fish Market, recommended hotels
It can be very useful to spend a night near the Tsukiji fish market, in order to get handily to the tuna auctions in the early hours of the morning. There are not so many hotels suitable for this purpose: the Tokyu Stay Higashi-Ginza hotel
or the Business hotel Ban
, located opposite one another, are the closest to the market, less than a 5 minute walk.
You can reach the market with a longer walk also from some hotels in the nearby neighborhoods of Ginza
(1 km far), Shimbashi
(1 km far) or Marunouchi/Tokyo station
(2.5 km far).
Another hotel in the area, great not only to visit the market (about 10 minutes walk), but also to enjoy a fantastic panoramic view of the Sumida River from your room, is the previously mentioned Ginza Creston Hotel
on the top floors of the St Luke's Garden Towers. It is one of the cheapest hotels in the city to offer a view from certain heights (from the 30th floor up).
Eating in Tsukiji
In the area of the fish market the culinary specialty is of course fish and seafood and of course, since we are in Japan, sushi and sashimi.
The area is full of restaurants, so you will be spoiled for choice. I was advised Daiwa sushi
, where you can have breakfast in the Japanese style sushi or donburi with sashimi (the restaurant closes around 14). I personally recommend Sushizanmai
restaurant, a chain of sushi restaurants scattered around Tokyo, but they started from their own home place in Tsukiji, and they also have an english menu. The restaurant which is perhaps the most famous of all is instead Sushi Dai
, but eating there can be a really hard mission, because of the long queue you could find in front of it.
Pratical guide, how to get to Tsukiji
The nearest station to the fish market is Tsukijishijo station, served by the Toei Oedo line, and then connected directly to Shinjuku.
800 meters far from the market there is Tsukiji station, served by the Tokyo Metro Hibiya line, directly connected to Roppongi, Akihabara, Ueno, Ginza, changing at Ginza to Tokyo station and changing at Yurakucho to Shibuya.
The first train in the morning of the Oedo line stops at Tsukijishijō Station at 5:19, the first train in the morning of the Hibiya line stops at Tsukiji station at 5.01.
Map of Tsukiji, Tokyo