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 10 of the best things to do while you’re in Tsukiji!
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 from 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!
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.
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!
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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!
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!