The Daily Auction at Tsukiji Fish Market

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The city of Tokyo, Japan, is waking up, and the Tsukiji Fish Market — an absolute must-visit tourist attraction — is at the heart of this early morning hustle and bustle. When you visit this iconic Tokyo food spot, you're in for a thrilling adventure, especially if it's your first time navigating the maze of fish stalls, auctions, and sushi restaurants that this place offers. 

The Tsukiji Fish Market, a true symbol of Tokyo's heart, has now transitioned to a new location, the Toyosu Fish Market, carrying on the tradition of trading the freshest produce from Tokyo Bay. And if you want to experience the most iconic possible part of the market, you’ll want to show up for the daily auction. 

So rise and shine, babes — and let’s talk about this not-to-be-missed event!

A Trip Down Memory Lane: The History of Tsukiji Fish Market

In the bustling heart of Tokyo lies the Tsukiji Fish Market, a site rich in history and tradition. The market's origins trace back to the 16th century when Tokugawa Ieyasu, the founder of Edo (modern-day Tokyo), invited fishermen to the city to provide for the castle. This was the birth of a fish market that later turned into the biggest fish market in Asia.

The Tsukiji Fish Market was officially established in 1935, following the Great Kanto earthquake, and it continued to flourish throughout the years. Despite the adversities faced, the market stood as a testament to Japan's enduring traditions. The market was always a sight to behold during the New Year celebrations when gigantic tuna auctions took place, attracting spectators worldwide. 

Dawn Breaks at Tsukiji Fish Market

As dawn breaks, the Tsukiji Fish Market stirs to life. Even in the early morning hours, the market is buzzing, especially around the tuna auction area. Imagine the freshest bluefin tuna, still slick from the ocean, being laid out for inspection. 

A wave of tension surges through the wholesale market as potential bidders inspect their options. It's a theatrical spectacle like no other, offering an insight into a day in the life of this busy fish market. 

The sight of the biggest fish market in Asia springing to life is simply mesmerizing, and it’s worth the early call time, no matter how late you were out the night before rocking out at Tokyo’s karaoke bars.

But where do you start once you roll out of bed, find somewhere to get your morning matcha, and get going? Lucky for you, we’re here to guide you.

Navigating the Tsukiji Market: A Step-by-Step Guide

First things first, let's get you there. Your journey begins at Shijo-mae Station. Hop on the Tokyo Metro or take the scenic Yurikamome line, and you'll be there in no time. 

Once you step into the market, you'll find it's divided into two main parts — the inner market and the Tsukiji outer market. The inner market is the hub of wholesale business where the famous auctions take place, while the outer market caters more to retail shops, offering everything from kitchenware to fresh produce.

Don't forget to take a trip to the upper floor, where the observation deck is located. This vantage point offers an unparalleled view of the bustling activity below. Get your cameras ready because you'll definitely want to capture this unique experience. 

As you weave your way through the market, you'll be drawn to the delightful smells of fresh seafood, the sounds of the bustling crowd, and the friendly vendors calling out their deals — it's truly a feast for the senses.

The Tuna Auction: A Must-See Live Show

If you thought the market was all hustle and bustle, wait till you witness the main event — the Tuna Auction! It's more than just a sale; it's a spectacle. The auction is where you'll find the freshest, most coveted bluefin tuna — live and frozen — sold off to the highest bidders. 

As the clock strikes 5 a.m., the energy in the tuna auction area is electric. It's a sight to behold as the bidders, mostly sushi restaurant owners and wholesalers from all around Tokyo, prepare for the event. 

They inspect the tuna meticulously, assessing the quality with an experienced eye. Every detail matters — from the color of the flesh to the amount of fat. 

The auctioneer kicks off the proceedings with a thundering voice, setting the pace for the next hour or so. The room reverberates with the rhythmic chants and gestures that are part of this traditional Japanese auction system. 

You can feel the tension and excitement in the air. The bidding begins, and it's a fast-paced, intense session that holds everyone’s attention until the last tuna is sold. The first auction sets the tone for the day, and it's a unique experience you won't find anywhere else!

Tasting Japan: Food Tour at the Tsukiji Fish Market

And after all that excitement, who wouldn't work up an appetite? At Tsukiji Fish Market, you're at the right place to treat your taste buds. 

The market is home to an array of sushi restaurants where you can sample the freshest seafood in town. The sushi restaurants here offer the unique chance to taste the fruit of the sea, fresh from the auction.

It's not just about sushi, though. The street food at the Tsukiji Fish Market is an explosion of flavors that would make any food lover's heart flutter with joy. From sizzling skewers to the freshest seafood on offer, the food stalls at the market are a gastronomic paradise. 

Of course, a trip to the Tsukiji Fish Market wouldn't be complete without trying some fresh tuna. You haven't really experienced Tsukiji until you've tasted a piece of tuna that just a few hours ago was still swimming in the waters of Tokyo Bay. 

Indulge your senses, and immerse yourself in the food culture of Tokyo. A visit to the Tsukiji Fish Market is as much a feast for your palate as it is for your eyes and ears. 

Enjoy the buzz, the flavors, and the colors. You're not just visiting a market — you're experiencing a slice of Tokyo life right here in the heart of the city.

Beyond Tsukiji: The New Toyosu Fish Market

While we all love a good dose of nostalgia, the new Toyosu Fish Market brings a wave of modernity that can't be overlooked. The new market building is a magnificent structure located in the Toyosu area, where the hustle of the market continues, albeit in a more spacious and contemporary setting.

Don't be fooled by the shiny new façade, though. The heart of the market remains the same. The iconic tuna auction, the buzz of the bidders, the delectable food — it's all there, just wrapped in a sleeker package. 

An absolute must-visit is the observation windows at the new market. These are strategically placed to provide an uninterrupted view of the market proceedings. They also offer an exceptional look at the live tuna auction, which still remains the main attraction.

Visiting the Toyosu Fish Market is like watching the best of Tsukiji get a futuristic facelift. There's plenty to see, plenty to eat, and even more to explore. And all of this without losing the spirit of the original Tsukiji Fish Market. 

The Vegetable Market at Tsukiji if Fish Isn’t on the Menu

While Tsukiji might be globally renowned for its seafood, one can't overlook the fresh vegetable market that paints a vivid palette of colors at Tsukiji, and it’s the perfect place to explore if you or a travel buddy live a vegetarian lifestyle. The vegetable market is as lively as the fish market, offering a variety of Japanese produce from Kyoto, Osaka, and other regions.

The freshest seasonal fruits and vegetables find their way here, ensuring you get nothing but the best. The vendors — always ready with a smile — expertly arrange their wares in a way that is as aesthetically pleasing as it is inviting. 

The crunch of a fresh apple, the sweetness of a juicy peach, or the unique flavors of Japanese vegetables are all here for you to experience. Just like the fish market, the vegetable market is also a fascinating place to explore, a place that offers a peek into the everyday life of Tokyo.

If Tsukiji Isn’t Enough…

There are other markets to visit while you’re in Japan to get the most out of your culinary, cultural immersion! While you're gallivanting around Japan, why not add the Osaka and Kyoto fish markets to your itinerary?

These markets offer a distinctive experience that is just as vibrant, colorful, and exciting as Tsukiji and Toyosu. After all, each market, each city in Japan, has its own unique charm and flavor to explore.

It’s Shrimply the Best

Better than all the rest…Whether you're a sushi connoisseur, a street food aficionado, or simply a curious traveler, the Tsukiji Fish Market and its new avatar, the Toyosu Fish Market, are a sensory delight that you can't miss when in Tokyo. 

As we bid adieu, the anticipation of a new day, a new year at the market bubbles up. The fish market and its iconic tuna auction are more than just a foodie adventure. It’s a way to participate in Tokyo’s tradition of fresh food and experience something you’ll never see anywhere else.


Tokugawa Ieyasu | Britannica

Tokyo Metro Home | Tokyo Metro

The World Biggest Fish Market Tsukiji Moved to Toyosu. How Is The New Market Doing? | Forbes

Kuroman Ichiba Market | Osaka Station

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