Tokyo Travel: Is it still worth going to Tsukiji Fish Market?

11 Mar 2020

The Tsukiji fish market was known for 2 things: being probably the largest wholesale fish market in the world, and its world-famous tuna auction - a glimpse of which we can see in the 2011 documentari Jiro Dreams of Sushi.

Is Tsukiji market still open?

The wholesale market - known as the inner market - where the tuna auction was held every morning, has been closed since October 6 2018 and relocated to Toyosu market. However the outer market is still open. It spans several streets of restaurants, fresh food stalls, wholesale professional and retail consumer goods stores (including some of the best knives shops) and produce. If you love food and cooking, it's a must!

Bluefin tuna is an endangered species

What is Tsukiji Market like in 2020?

The outer market is nowhere near as crowded as the inner market used to be. It is an enjoyable market to stroll about, especially in the morning, when fresh fish is delivered from Toyosu market and can be enjoyed in many stalls. Thanks to the variety of the food on offer, it's a great place to try different Japanese street foods - with many food tours offering a guided experience. It's also a great little area to potter about in the kitchenware shops.

Prices are not cheap (for street food or kitchenware!). Skip altogether if you're vegan.

Shop keeper bags produce up at Tsukiji Fish Market

Bagged produce shop at Tsukiji Fish Market

What to do in Tsukiji market?

Get there early for a wander and breakfast, or book a food tour with a culinary expert (we recommend Context Travel's tours, led by professionals in their fields). Or skip food altogether and head to the many kitchenware shops to get professional-grade tools: some long-established knife shops can be found at Tsukiji. Check out Tsukiji Masamoto, Aritsugu Tokyo or Azuma monamoto no Masahisa. Do a bit of research online on the best type of knife for you, since English is not widely spoken.

The best times to go are between 9AM - 2PM, but bear in mind many shops close on Wednesdays and Sundays. Bringing cash is a must, since Japan is still largely a cash society.

Couple stare at a market stall at Japan's tsukiji fish market


If you love sushi and seafood it's worth knowing bluefin tuna is an endangered species. You can also check out this guide by Tokyo Cheapo to sustainable sushi choices. However, if we dig deep, all seafood consumption in Japan is really unsustainable - there is no way the fish industry can keep up with seafood demand at current rates without overfishing, depleting some fish species and causing high pollution levels in the water.

Delivery man at Tsukiji fish market packing a bike

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