Head south of Tokyo Station and the chic Ginza district towards Tokyo Bay and you will arrive in a small area called Tsukiji. This neighbourhood, easily accessible from either Tsukiji Station or Tsukijishijo Station on the metro, is most famous as the home of Tsukiji Market, the world’s largest fish market. With its proximity to the sea, the fish makes its way straight to the market in the early hours of the morning ready to be sold to restaurant owners and fish lovers who travel to the market from all over Tokyo.
With the fish market dominating the neighbourhood, there are, of course, plenty of fishy activities going on in the area. Whether you’re a fish-lover or not, visiting Tsukiji is an unmissable opportunity for the market and all the other activities you can get involved in. Here are 30 of the best things to do while you’re in Tsukiji!
Explore the Tsukiji Fish Market with an English-speaking professional tour guide and discover all that the market has to offer! Learn about the area’s background and history and view the ukiyo-e woodblock print art that celebrates the culture. You can even try beautifully fresh sushi at a restaurant recommended by the experienced guide.
Booking details: Private Tokyo Tsukiji Market Tour
A market purely dedicated to fish doesn’t get this big overnight. So, what’s Tsukiji Market’s story? Visit the market with the help of a local English-speaking tour guide and you can learn all about the history of the market while exploring the seemingly neverending stalls of fish, fruit, and veg.
The 3.5-hour tour starts at 7 am and includes a fresh sushi breakfast and a full tour of both the inner and outer markets. If you’re enthusiastic to see the famous Tuna Auction, you can add this on to your tour. It will involve getting up super early but the bustling atmosphere is sure to wake you up in no time!
Booking details: Private Tokyo Tsukiji Market Tour
Eating raw fish in Japan is, of course, a must. But get your hands on fish from Tsukiji Market and you’re guaranteed some of the freshest fish around. After touring the impressive fish market and picking out some of the tastiest looking fish, you can head over to one of the market’s local stores to try your hand at sushi-making.
Master the art of slicing up the tender raw fish for the perfect bite-sized sushi and sashimi. This tour and sushi class is available on Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Saturdays from 10 am.
Booking details: Explore Tsukiji Fish Market and Make Sushi and Sashimi
Although Tsukiji doesn’t offer many other sights than the fish market, there are still some less stinky activities to keep you occupied in the area. Japanese calligraphy, known as shodō (書道) in Japanese, has been a popular pastime for centuries and who can blame them when the Japanese script is so beautiful?
Have a go at creating your own artistic fonts in a lesson that will teach you a more modern style of calligraphy now commonly used in Japan. Whether you have written in Japanese before or not, you will be helped to create your own name in kanji (Japanese characters) before learning how to write it out beautifully on paper. For an extra charge, you can even get it printed out on a mug or t-shirt. Now, there’s a great memorabilia to take home with you!
Booking details: Experience contemporary calligraphy with a real designer
As is expected when in the home of the world’s largest fish market, there are many food-related activities in the area. Tsukiji is also home to Tsukiji Cooking who offer Japanese cooking lessons for foodies wanting to try their hand at some mouthwatering Japanese recipes.
Hosted in a cozy kitchen studio, you will be using some of the fresh ingredients on offer at the Tsukiji Market to cook up some homestyle Japanese dishes which, of course, you can snack on later. The ingredients used can be tailored to suit anyone with allergies or dietary requirements.
Booking details: Experience Japanese homestyle cooking lesson in Tokyo
Tsukiji Hongan-ji (sometimes spelled “Hongwan-ji”) Temple is a Jodo Shinshu Buddhist temple that has a long history. The original was built in Asakusa in 1657 and relocated to Tsukiji where it was then leveled by the Great Kanto earthquake of 1923. The current temple was completed in 1934 and has a unique design inspired by temples in South Asia.
It is definitely Tsukiji’s prettiest temple and is well worth a visit for those interested in Japanese architecture, history, and Buddhism.
Business auctions are free to watch and it’s thrilling seeing businessmen and restaurant owners auction for the freshest fish. Be sure to get there early (3:00am or before is recommended), respect the rules such as no eating and no flash photography, and have the experience of a lifetime.
If you visited Tsukiji for the famous fish market and find yourself free early in the morning, why not head to one of the local places to eat fresh seafood for breakfast? Maguroya Kurogin Tsukiji Honten serves fresh tuna purchased from the nearby market and serve meals at excellent value. Enjoy some of the freshest sashimi you will ever taste on a cold early morning after enjoying the market.
The restaurant is open from 6:00am to 3:00pm and is perfect for breakfast or lunch.
Many sources recommended arriving at Tsukiji in the middle of the night to catch the early sights and see the auction. however, it can get boring and cold if you’re standing outside for hours after getting the last train. Com Com Manga Cafe has comic books, internet, and comfortable reclining chairs where you can surf the net or sleep between buses, trains, and your Tsukiji plans.
It cots 1000 yen for three hours if you arrive after 5:00pm and before 6:00am, and just 1500 yen for seven hours. It’s a much cheaper option than taking a taxi from your hotel and easier than trying to stay awake all night.
Close to Tsukiji Market is Namiyoke Inari Shrine, a Shinto shrine that was founded in 1659 and further developed in 1937. The gigantic male and female lion’s heads weigh 2200 pounds and 1500 pounds, respectively, and the shrine itself plays an important part in the triennial local festival, the Tsukiji Shishi Matsuri.
Tsukiji Shishi Matsuri at the Namiyoke Inari Shrine⛩
築地 波除神社のつきじ獅子祭🏮金魚すくい、キャラクターの袋に入ったわたあめ、スーパーボール…懐かしいものが揃ってました🍭✨ pic.twitter.com/gJuIvcjF1i
— Maya (@maya_tokyo) June 10, 2017
This local festival takes place in June once every three years (2018, 2021, 2014) and is the festival of Namiyoke Inari Shrine. if you’re lucky enough to be in Tokyo during one of the years the festival is held fully, be sure not to miss it! Mikoshi (portable shrines) are paraded around the shrine territory. Lovers of Japanese “matsuri” (festivals) won’t want to miss this special event.
The crowds at Tsukiji Market can get a little intense, so head over to Tsukijigawa Park for a quick rest. This small park is a pleasant wide space with plenty of places to sit, including a roof. There are also a fair few cherry blossom trees here.
Two competitive sushi restaurants, Sushi Dai and Sushi Daiwa, stand side-by-side at Tsukiji Fish Market. Both sell excellent and fresh sushi and both are extremely popular, meaning it’s likely you will have to line up for as long as an hour or so even before they open at around 5:00 in the morning.
For some unforgettable and fresh sushi, try one of these two restaurants if you’re in Tsukiji in the early morning. For a couple of thousand yen, you can eat some of the best seafood in the country.
Sui Shrine, literally meaning “water shrine,” is another place where you can spot lion heads. This charming little area has its own small torii gate and a peaceful slice of culture hidden in this otherwise busy area.
— yucca☆.:＊・゜ (@yucca_galaxy) June 26, 2016
Just seven minutes on foot from Tsukiji Station is the Time Dome Akashi museum, which is perfect for cold or rainy days. The featured exhibits feature themes on local culture and history as well as a great astronomy show in the planetarium. Entry is 100 yen to the exhibition room and 300 yen to the planetarium for adults. Preschool students, primary school students of Chuo City, and junior high school students’ entry is free.
If you’re in need of some tableware items or souvenirs for your loved ones at home, head to Urikiriya! It’s a goldmine for finding some fantastic items such as ceramics, tea sets, and other household ornaments. It was established in 1902 and has enjoyed over a hundred years of business. Check out this store for some pretty tableware and cute Japanese gifts.
The bridge on Sumida River, just a few minutes’ walk from Tsukiji Fish Market, offers beautiful skyline views of Tokyo. It’s perfect to check out the morning view after you’ve eaten sushi or watched an auction, or to see the sunset after a day of exploring!
Kabuki is traditional Japanese style of performing that you can still witness in Japan. Less than ten minutes by foot from Tsukiji Station is Kabukiza Theater, where you can watch one of these breathtaking shows, an experience that shouldn’t be missed for those interested in Japanese culture.
Perhaps sitting in a manga cafe isn’t your thing, or you’re too excited to sleep! Another great way to arrive in time for the night auction and see the market in the early morning before the trains start is by staying at all-night karaoke. Within walking distance of Tsukiji Fish Market is Karaoke Waiwai and Karaoke Fukuro. Sing the night away and come out pumped up for the morning’s adventure in Tsukiji!
If you want to visit a sky scraper that dominates the Tsukiji skyline, look no further than Saint Luke’s Tower. This double skyscraper has been towering over the area since 1994 and is 221 meters tall. Inside the buildings you can enjoy food at one of its restaurants, visit the observation decks situated at the top of both towers, or visit the pretty gardens on the 47th floors.
— MATCHA (@MATCHA_global) September 30, 2015
If you are looking for a reasonably priced but classy place to spend the night in Tsukiji, particularly if you want to get up early for the fish auction, this could be perfect for you. This nice hotel offers a range of very nicely-decorated and designed capsules to stay in. You can choose from first class, business class, and standard cabins, and enjoy unique hospitality and elegance!
— 一不二（ICHIFUJI) (@IchifujiNo1) November 5, 2017
Ichifuji is a popular and established store in Tsukiji where you can find many great souvenirs and unique gifts. Whether you are looking for cute chopsticks, beautiful handmade home wares, or traditional tableware, you can find many great items here. It is located within the premises of Tsukiji Fish Market and has helpful multilingual staff to assist you.
Amazake Yokocho is situated just a short walk from the Tsukiji area and is just outside Ningyocho Station. If you want to shop for bargains and want to stay around the Tsukiji area, this alley of shops and sellers is just what you are looking for! This alley is famous for selling sweet sake drinks, but also has stores selling souvenirs and snacks!
If you are in the mood for Italian food, then make time to sample the fresh seafood on offer at Trattoria Tsukiji Paradiso. This beautiful restaurant is located a short walk from Tsukiji Fish Market and therefore serves up wonderfully fresh seafood. It has dishes including seafood linguine, its signature dish, and a selection of pizzas. It is open for lunch and dinner, although dinner is very busy so you should make a reservtion in advance.
A normal tour of a new city tends to involve seeing the sights and learning a bit about the city and the customs. Although one of the obvious benefits of a tour guide is their ability to translate for you, how about combining your tour with a language lesson that means you can do some of the communicating yourself?
Be sure to learn a couple of simple phrases before you turn up and you can set it all in place with half a day’s tour with bilingual local Kiyotaka. Practice your Japanese around the famous Tsukiji fish market and try to get yourself some bargains before making your way over to Asakusa to see the more spiritual, traditional side of Tokyo.
Booking details: Tour Tokyo while practicing your Japanese or English skills!
While most people will tell you Tsukiji Market must be visited at 4 am, it’s still worth a visit in the afternoon for the delicious sushi shops that are scattered all over the area. Work up an appetite for a sushi lunch on a tour of Tokyo that will assure you some of the best sights around town including Asakusa and its huge red Sensoji Temple, a cruise along the Sumida River all topped off by a visit to Tsukiji Market, Tsukiji’s unique Buddhist temple Honganji and the nearby Hamarikyu Gardens.
Booking details: Customize and Enjoy a Private One Day Tour in East Tokyo!
While the Japanese have most certainly mastered raw fish as you’ll find at the Tsukiji Market, they have also perfected the art of deep frying. Tempura refers to something that has been deep-fried, whether it’s fish or vegetables. While the word deep-fried conjures up images of heavy, sickly food, a fresh batch of tempura veggies and prawns dipped in sauce has a light taste that makes the perfect accompaniment to noodles.
If you’re not an early riser, this tour is for you – Starting at 11:50, you’ll be shown around the stalls of the fish market. Although there is less going on at this time you can still get a good feel for the atmosphere without the crowds. Then you will make your way over to Japan’s largest cooking school to fry up some scrumptious tempura dishes! Vegetarian options available.
Booking details: 3-Hour Tsukiji Gourmet Walking & Tempura Frying Experience
Whether you’re a keen cyclist or would just rather avoid the crowded trains, visiting Tokyo on two wheels is one of the most efficient and fun ways to get around. The many wonders of Tokyo can be easily visited by bike, all made easier with the help of a tour guide that will keep you safe and on the right track.
If you want your cycling tour of Tokyo to include Tsukiji and its unmissable market choose the Asakusa and Nihonbashi Course where you will also get the chance to visit a number of other attractions including the Kabukiza Theater in Ginza, the sumo town of Ryogoku, Ueno Zoo and Sensoji Temple in Asakusa.
Booking details: Enjoy a full-day cycling sightseeing tour of Tokyo!
As Tsukiji Market is an activity best saved for the morning, the early rise will leave you with the rest of the day to explore Tokyo. For an unforgettable action-packed day, why not visit some of Tokyo’s best attractions all in one go?
This tour, starting from Tsukiji Market in the morning will also take you to the impressive Meiji Jingu Shrine, the modern streets and shops of Omotesando and Harajuku and later on to discover the old, traditional east side of Tokyo in Asakusa and Kappabashi. All run by a certified local, bilingual tour guide, your day out is sure to leave you feeling that you’ve seen some of the best that Japan’s capital has to offer.
Booking details: Visit many highlights of Tokyo in 1 day
There are those that enjoy travelling in a relaxed manner and those that prefer adventure and action at every turn. If the latter best describes you, a run around Tokyo is most probably right up your street. So, why not join a running tour of the Tsukiji area of Tokyo?
Not for the faint-hearted, you will run 12 to 13km around Tsukiji, Ginza and Nippon Bridge. At just $3.50 this is the perfect to see the sights while making friends, getting fit and giving yourself the best excuse to sample all the best Japanese snacks along the way!
Booking details: Let’s Go Running in the Center of Tokyo, Ginza & Tsukiji!
With its easy access from Tokyo Station, Tsukiji is in a good location for getting around Tokyo and has a Haneda airport transfer shuttle service for those wanting to get across town without the hassle of trains. It is also included in a fun 5-day tour all around Tokyo as well as a 7-day trip all around Japan. Fantastic fresh fish, a lively atmosphere and all within reach of the Sumida River and sea makes Tsukiji an ideal place to spend the morning so get it added to your itinerary!