Nearly all visitors to Japan have heard of Tokyo’s famed Tsukiji Market, but the oft-visited spot has become increasingly stricter over the years regarding who may have access to the bustling area. However, just a short distance away, the Ota Market (Ota Ichiba in Japanese) boasts a site that’s even larger than Tsukiji and happily welcomes visitors to its fish, food and flower auctions.
Ota Market first opened its doors in 1989. Today, the facility moves an incredible amount of items through its warehouses daily, including around 3,600 tons of produce and nearly 33 tons of seafood products. The on-site flower market is one of the largest in Japan.
Visitors to the market must inform their arrival to the guard at the office, and are given an English-language brochure with a detailed map of the tour course. Be sure not to miss the rooftop section, where Mt Fuji is visible on clear days. The route also brings visitors to special raised catwalks where the individual auctions can be clearly observed.
Ota Market is open from 5:00am to 3:00pm every day but Sundays and holidays, though be sure to check the market calendar for special closings.
Auctions take place at the following times:
- Fish from 5:40am
- Vegetables from 6:50am
- Fruits from 7:00am
- Flowers from 7:00am
Ota Market can be reached via bus to “大田市場” (Ota-Shijo) from either the East Exit of JR Omori Station (a 20-minute ride) or from JR Shinagawa Station (a 30-minute ride).