Tokyo's new wholesale Toyosu Fish Market started trading on Thursday October 11th, with over 600 merchants making the move 2.3 km from their historical Tsukiji Market home, in operation for 83 years. The much loved tuna auction viewings are now available from a purpose-built observation deck.
The facilities at Toyosu are spacious, cutting-edge and easy to access - stark contrast to the ageing, cramped and limited facilities at Tsukiji. The former site was never designed to handle the swathes of tourists that came en masse in the dead of night hoping to catch a glimpse of its famous tuna auctions - something that caused friction in latter years which Toyosu Fish Market hopes to address.
Guide to Toyosu Fish Market
The new market is clustered around Shijo-mae station - located in Tokyo's Koto ward area just north of Odaiba - and is spread across three main buildings. These are connected via elevated, covered walkways for visitors to easily navigate around the market - in any weather condition.
As well as a fruit and vegetables area to the east, the two buildings on the western side, overlooking Tokyo Bay, are dedicated to fisheries wholesale operations—including tuna auctions.
All market buildings include observation decks to view the market hustle and bustle, without interfering with daily operations.
Official opening hours are 5am–5pm, with some restaurants/shops also open at the earlier hours to capture passing trade.
Fish Wholesale Market Building
Seafood auctions—including the famous tuna auctions—are held in the southern fish market building, which contains an upper-floor observation deck from which tourists can observe the live auction. Although the actual auction space is off-limits compared to Tsukiji, you will be able to get closer to the action via a smaller, open platform area located downstairs. Note that this second area is not scheduled to open to the public until Jan 16th 2019, by which time they expect the market to be fully operational. Displays around the facility help explain how everything works, including information about the hand signals used in auction.
Upper Observation Platform:
For viewing tuna auctions:
Lower Observation Room:
For viewing tuna auctions (opening Jan 16th 2019)
For regular seafood auctions
- Restaurant area
Fish Intermediate Wholesale Market Building
Seafood wholesale operations are fulfilled in the north-westerly building. The second floor here also contains viewing areas, as well as restaurants and the Uogashi Yokocho shopping area, where you can pick up goods and souvenirs-such as sushi knives and apparel. Up above, the Green Roof Plaza provides panoramic views of Tokyo Bay and the surrounding facilities, including Toyosu Gururi Park:
- Restaurant Area
- Wholesale Market Observation Area
- Uogashi Yokocho Market
- Green Roof Plaza Garden
Fruit & Vegetable Market Building
The fruit & vegetables building provides auction areas, wholesale space, and viewing platforms. Restaurants are also available on the way from the station.
Tuna Auctions at Toyosu Fish Market
The auction viewing experience at Toyosu has obviously changed significantly to that which Tsukiji became famous for, where tourists and photographers often found themselves in close proximity to tuna fish, brushing elbows with market vendors, and obstructing the turret forklift trucks whizzing to and fro. Toyosu Fish Market loses that original charm, but provides better access, hygiene and safety. It swaps out chaos for order, and decaying facilities for a state-of-the-art setup. This benefits both visitors and workers.
Many of the original shops and restaurants from Tsukiji's inner market-over 40 of them-have also joined the move. Tsukiji's outer market area actually survives the closure and will continue to operate for the foreseeable future, with no doubt some loss of trade expected.
At opening, this regenerated fish market at Toyosu serves to carry the "Tokyo's kitchen" label synonymous with its former space, but the overall project is far from complete, with further development still planned for the surrounding land in coming years. Over the road, the "Senkyaku Banrai" shopping and entertainment complex is expected to open mid-2023, bringing further vitality to the area, with plans for a hotel and hot spring also progressing swiftly.
Useful Information for Toyosu Market
It is free to enter Toyosu Market. Auctions typically commence around 4:30-5:30am, with live market activity typically wrapping up by 8am. But the facilities here still provide much to see and do outside those hours - including the tour route, and the many shops and restaurants available on site.
The roof garden is by no means exceptional—and could be justifiably skipped—but does offer a change of pace and views of Mount Fuji on a clear day.
One minute from Shijo-mae Station on the Yurikamome line.