Business as usual at Tsukiji Outer Market

Sea urchin for sale into my belly

Tokyo's Tsukiji Market used to be made up of two sections: the inner market and the outer market. Then, in early October, the inner market closed and moved to Toyosu. The outer market, on the other hand, still remains at its old location and open for business as usual. Both Sam and Schauwecker visited the new Toyosu Market on separate occasions: on the first day it opened to the public and on the first day the auctions opened to the public. Meanwhile, the entrance gates to Tsukiji's inner market have been boarded up, and the dismantling of the market has started. The site will serve as a parking space during the 2020 Summer Olympics, but concrete plans for its redevelopment after 2020 have not been decided yet.

Entrance to the inner market is now closed
Looking down at the inner market from above, it is that big quarter in the middle
Both old and new markets can be seen here
Future Olympic Village in the middle foreground with the cranes and the Toyosu Market across the water with its roof garden

Today, I visited Tsukiji Outer Market to see what has changed in the meantime, and I am happy to say that it is business as usual in Tsukiji. Visitors to the market have plenty of options for food, wares and produce. The outer market retains its old school charms of stalls that open into the street, where turret trucks pass through to deliver goods, and where market holders move between places by bicycle and motorcycle.

Tsukiji Market in a nutshell
Start the day with some onigiri
Wander through the market and look down alleys
Pick up some groceries like a local
Buy a knife to prepare the stuff you got
Some of the knives are finished in Tsukiji
Walk through more alleys
Time for some eggy snacks
Perhaps see a vegetable you've eaten before but never knew how it looked like. This is the wasabi plant
Craft beer and standing sake bars have also popped up in the market
Mosh with the crowd

The Tsukiji Uogashi is a market consisting of two buildings towards the back of the outer market that offer a sanitised market experience. Fresh seafood and produce are sold here straight from Toyosu, and many, if not all of the stall holders offer ready-to-eat, small bites on the go. Visitors can access the first and third floors of Tsukiji Uogashi, but note that the first floor is open to the public only after 9am. Restaurants and terrace outdoor seats can be found on the third floor as well as a bridge connecting the buildings.

Fishmonger showing his bounty and the knife used to cut the tuna
Inside Tsukiji Uogashi
Restaurants on the third floor
Market action
Sushi rice bowls available here and to eat on the third floor
Fresh oysters in season now
Can't get prices like these anywhere else
All that is pink are the Tsukiji Uogashi buildings and its roof top terrace seats
Looking at the outer market from the bridge

The best time to visit the outer market is from 9:00 in the morning to start feasting on the "street food" early and to avoid the crowds. Note that walking and eating is not recommended due to the large numbers of people. Stores offering small bites typically have an area for patrons to stand and eat, and it is advisable to use that space instead. Alternatively, the terrace seats on the roof of Tsukiji Uogashi is also a good place to enjoy the buffet spread purchased from the shops.

The Tsukiji Nippon Fish Port Market is a collection of five stores offering seafood and cooked food
Inside the fish port market
Before the crowds arrive
Did someone say grilled tuna?
Try before you buy is a big thing here
Restaurants and produce stalls side by side
Food samples for everyone
Shopping, eating, working
Grilled scallops with sea urchin topping
Eat all the seafood
Buy all the raw fish
Chicken of the land options for those who can't take too much seafood