Tokyo's new wholesale Toyosu Fish Market started trading on October 11th 2018, 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, which opened on Jan 15th 2019. 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
- Observation Platform:
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
Take an elevator up to the fifth floor to reach this Roof Promenade, leading to the Roof Garden and views of Mt Fuji (if you're lucky).
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. Here's what you need to know:
- Location: Fish Wholesale Market Building
Walk from Shijōmae Station→First Information Area (Fish Market Info Posters in EN/JP) → Go across shop areas → Pass another information room with the largest bluefin tuna model → Final destination (Tuna Auction Area)
Access to the market: Trains do not operate in the early morning, so taking a taxi or staying at a nearby hotel is recommended. When taking a taxi, get off at Shijomae station and walk to the market as dropping off at the front gate is not allowed.
- Time: Auction takes place at 5:30am to 6:30am daily.
The gallery opens to visitors from 5 a.m.
- Reservation: No reservation is needed to watch from the upper-floor observation windows. Access to the lower-floor observation deck requires an application. Applications open up each month on the first week for spots the following month. To sign up for the spot (available in English and Japanese): https://toyosu.jcdlotterysite.jp/?lng=2
Submitting an application does not guarantee a spot on the lower-floor observation deck. The selection process is carried out through a lottery system, and the results are announced about a week after the submission period has ended. If you are selected, you will be given a 10-minute time slot between 5:55 a.m. and 6:15 a.m. to observe the auction with other participants. To gain access to the deck, it is necessary to bring an ID. For language support, look for "Language Co-talk Volunteers" in the deck. They will explain the tuna auction in English.
- Rules for observation: New observation rules are implemented due to the ongoing pandemic. Please note the following information below:
- The viewing deck can only accommodate a maximum of 27 people each morning.
- The viewing time is between 5:55 a.m. and 6:25 a.m.
- You must make an online or phone reservation in advance to secure a spot.
- Applications for the following month open during the first week of the current month. For example, if you want to attend the auction in July, you must apply during the first week of June.
- In case the number of applicants exceeds the available spots, selections will be made by lottery.
- If you are unable to secure a spot on the lower viewing deck, you can still watch the auction from the second-floor (upper deck) observation windows without an application.
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.