Toyosu Market Opens to the Public

Toyosu Market opened for business earlier this week and is open to the public as of today. The huge new market complex, which stands on the man-made island of Toyosu in the Bay of Tokyo, has taken over the business of the iconic and aging Tsukiji Fish Market which previously served the city for more than eight decades (although note that Tsukiji's outer market remains open as an exciting area with dozens of seafood restaurants).

The new Toyosu Market is spread over three buildings, two of which are dedicated to fish auctions and fish wholesale respectively whilst the other deals in fruit and vegetables.

The complex is connected by a network of walkways and boasts a variety of attractions including several restaurant areas, a beautiful rooftop garden, and an area with dozens of vendors selling everything from kitchen utensils to pickles. These are all punctuated by numerous observation areas from which visitors can observe the market action including fish auctions and more.

Toyosu Market's network of walkways
The crowds getting lots of attention this morning, shortly before this first day's 10 am opening time

After arriving at Shijo-mae Station, which is surrounded by the market, I made my way to the Fisheries Wholesale Market Building where early risers can watch tuna and other seafood auctions from above and behind glass every day from five in the morning, except on Sundays, national holidays and many Wednesdays. The open observation platform, where viewers will be more exposed to the action, however, remains closed to the public for now, and is set to open on January 15, 2019. Today, the market exceptionally did not open to the public until 10am when all the auctions had already ended.

Indoor corridor towards the tuna auction observation area
Tuna to celebrate the opening of trade here a few days ago
Looking in on the tuna auction area
Visitors gather at the viewing windows
It was great to see the inner workings of the market

My next stop today was at the Fisheries Intermediate Wholesale Market Building, which features the Uogashi Yokocho retail shopping area, a rooftop garden and the largest of several restaurant areas found across the market. With all the hustle and bustle today, lines to be seated at the restaurants stretched around corners in some cases.

The restaurant areas today were, without exception, crowded
Displays of old market machinery

The highlight of this building today, for me, was the Uogashi Yokocho area which constitutes a large block system of shops selling a wide array of goods. Clothes to kitchen knives with a couple of takeaway eateries thrown in for good measure, the atmosphere in this new market is energetic and very enjoyable. On my subsequent visit(s) here I can see myself spending much more time wandering around this area.

Uogashi Yokocho
The grand unveiling
Staff at a knife shop working hard
Beautiful works of art
A small vantage point from which to see the market below

From Uogashi Yokocho I followed the visitor's route up to the serene rooftop garden and admired the views of southern Tokyo's impressive skyline. This extensive, flat area contains lots of grassy space, and makes for the ideal spot for a bit of relaxation away from the crowds below. After sauntering around this green oasis for a while, it was on to number three of the complex's buildings, the Fruit and Vegetables Building.

The serene rooftop garden
A great place to relax
Visitors walk along a rooftop promenade

The Fruit and Vegetables Building offers the most vantage points from which to see the extensive produce market below. Navigating the crowds, I made my way along the corridor that has windows offering almost uninterrupted views of the market action. It was exciting to look down through the glass, observing workers as they moved crates, talked business and set out their products.

The corridor and observation points here, like elsewhere in the complex, are dotted with informational displays that reveal certain aspects of the market including its products and how they are stored, general logistics, and the history of markets in Tokyo. These tidbits of information really are a nice touch, making the experience educational as well as fun.

The produce market stretches out below
A beautiful observation area
More crowds around restaurants