Going to the Tsukiji fish market, the largest in the world, makes for a fun morning adventure in downtown Tokyo. It is a working market, with vendors cleaning and processing a large variety of seafood and packaging it for shipment. There is everything from giant fish to barrels of squirmy eels. It is probably best for older kids and adults as there were hazards galore – vats of slimy sea-life and knives within reach as well as speeding carts – which made me fearful for my 3-year-old. No strollers are allowed. Expect your shoes to get a bit grimy. When you enter the market the first section of stalls house vegetables and dry goods for sale. Cross the parking lot and enter the seafood market. The place is huge and wandering the stalls is a lot of fun. You do see some Japanese making dinner purchases. A small number of passes are available to watch the auction each morning at 5:15am and 5:50am. To just see the market the gates open at 9am and the market stays open until 1pm. Closed on holidays.
Note: Tuna auction registration is on a first-come, first-served basis up to a maximum of 120 people. It was reported that the registration for visitors was between 2:15 am-3:00 am on October 22nd 2016. I found an article mentioning that visitors need to be there by 2:00 am to secure their spots. Tuna auction registration starts at 5 am according to the website; however, registration could start earlier if they have enough people lined up. If you have any information, please let us know! ( Photo by Bryson Spangler, October 2016)
DIRECTIONS: From the New Sanno take the Hibiya line to Tsukiji. Follow the crowds downhill toward the market. Entrance is free and you will be given a small map to guide you. After visiting the market, I suggest you walk up Showa-Dori street to see a Kabuki theater (tickets are available for single act shows), and then another few blocks to Ginza for upscale shopping and great people watching. – Amanda Martin, June 2013, second photo by Erin Allen, May 2014.