* Latest information about our tour
I started a new tour, the New Tsukiji Tour

From May, 2012, all my tours will be New Tsukiji Tours. If you are planning to take our tour, please proceed to the New Tsukiji Tour page. Thank you!

Naoto Nakamura
I started the Ultimate (Tsukiji) Tour in 2004, on which you could have seen various kinds of auctions including the tuna auctions very closely. Ever since, I have been taking reservations every week beside the very busy season in December.
But as the Tsukiji Market got more and more popular as a tourist spot to foreign people, the restrictions got tighter and tighter.
Generally, the Market is a public space and it's free for anyone to walk around. However one time, too many tourists came and flooded to the tuna auctions sites, which brought many complaints to the administration (=the TMG). The middlemen that had stalls close to the tuna sites were also affected by the mess and complained, then the restrictions got tight.
I changed the times of my tour from 4 - 6 am to 3 - 5 am and I also stopped observing the tuna auctions to avoid restrictions and trouble with the guards.

to the details of the New Tsukiji Tour page


The TMG started to restrict tighter than before, the tourists looking around the Market from April 1st, 2008.

Please remind that on my current New Tsukiji Tour, you might not be able to see some of the events and scenes on the images and written on the compliments posted on this website or the linked pages which are from our clients that took our tour before April 1st, 2008.

Thank you.

May 10th, 2008
Naoto Nakamura

"I am still doing the tour"
This photo was taken after the tour on Tuesday April 15th, 2008

I thank all the people that took the tour in the past. They were all nice, intelligent and charming people--And they were mostly rich! They were also crazy enough to get up around 3am in the morning. Their either hard, ordinary, easy, or ridiculous questions all served well to improve our tour.

Thursday August 14th, 2008
Tuesday November 4th, 2008

"Try to look really tough..."
The Tsukiji workers look scary but they are nice when they talk.
Photo by Craig Cooper
Title by Naoto Nakamura

The 2 hour tour of the Tsukiji Central Wholesale Market
--The largest fish dealing market in the world


The Ultimate Tsukiji Tour is closed.
If you plan to tour the Market with us, please proceed to the New Tsukiji Tour page

New Tsukiji Tour page


This course was originally designed for a Canadian Ph.D. for the means of getting a grand picture of the Japanese fish business

Seeing Spots and Events

Events and places

Images (Click to see larger image) and explanations

Fresh fish auction

"One of the Many Auctions"

Photo by the Seltzer/Yamamoto family
Link to the photo site of Alex Seltzer

Fresh fish samples displayed

Photo by Kazuko Funaki

Sea urchin roe auction place

Photo by Eudon Yap
We can't take a close look at the sea urchin anymore

A member of the Sea Urchin Middlemen Union claimed that there was a foreign tourist that was opening a sea urchin package and touching it. As a result, we are not able to make a close look to the sea urchin anymore.

Photo by Lisa Vogt

See more photos by Lisa Vogt

Watching the tuna site prior to auction

Photo by Omar Jadwat
See more photos by Omar Jadwat
Photo by Michael Adams

The shrimp section

Photo by Atsuko Isshi

The live fish section

Photo by Omar Jadwat

See more photos by Omar Jadwat
Photo by Kazuko Funaki

The tuna auction


Photo by Eudon Yap
Link to the site of Eudon Yap

-Photos by TJ Parpan
Link to the site of TJ Parpan
Photo by Kazuko Funaki

Photo by Connie Shin Cohn


Frozen, salted & dried fish section

Photo by Jason Ng
Link to the site of Jason Ng

The middlemen stores

Photo by Craig Cooper
Link to the photo site of Craig Cooper

Tide-waiting Tea Shop

The loading space of out-going goods
for the middlemen

Annexed merchant area

Stores selling fish business-related
goods and restaurants
('Sushi Daiwa' is located here)

Photo by Liz Habermann
People that recommend our tour,
reviews and photos
1. Before the tighter restrictions
2. After the tighter restrictions from April, 2008

After Tours

Sushi Daiwa

Photo by Lisa Vogt
The big question is, "Where should I eat sushi?" The image shown is 'Sushi Daiwa,' an Inner Market sushi restaurant. The stores inside the Market are small, so they gather a long line of tourists on Saturdays.
sushi_sei Then where should you eat sushi?
'Sushi-sei' is a sushi restaurant open from 1889, outside the Market. When I used to work at the Market, I used to go there quite often and Sushi-sei had its doors all open like a buck-wheat noodle stand restaurant. You could eat cheap and fresh sushi such as sardines and horse mackerels topped with ginger and scallion. The fish were just delivered after the auction of the day. Days went by and now, Sushi-sei is a neat restaurant and opens from 8:00 am. You could enjoy the same satisfaction I used to enjoy by ordering the 2,100 yen or 3,150 yen Chef's Recommendation.
The sushi restaurant I recommend is 'Sushi-zanmai' outside the Market. It's new and casual and it's owned by a tuna middleman, Kiyomura. They are open 24 hours.

By the way...

These days, Hollywood stars
come to the Tsukiji Market, too.
If you watch carefully, this is
Jean Reno.
This is Tom Hanks.
Everybody's taking out there cell
phones to take pictures!
Hey, you good Tsukiji workers,
WORK! Get the auction start!

I saw this movie the other day...

The title is,
"Tsukiji Uogashi San-daime
(The Tsukiji Fish Market
Third-generation Middleman)."
I was expecting a dull story, but this one wasn't! You can see a lot of the
real Tsukiji Market because the movie was actually filmed there. Some real
Tsukiji Market people appear as extras. It's a very wet, human kindness story,
which is the usual gig of the film company, Shochiku, but this one is good!
I confess, I almost sobbed a couple of times.


Tsukiji Tour Japanese page

To the page of TokyoWorks


From a personal point of view

The Tokyo Metropolitan Government is trying to
move the Tsukiji Market, which is a really bad idea...

see more

Update of the Tsukiji
Market relocation issue

Talking about the relocation of the Tsukiji Market, the chances are high at this point of time that the plan is going to come to a deadlock.

1) We can't deny the reality that the Tsukiji Market is getting old and needs redevelopment. That kind of talk has been taking place for more than 20 years. All this time, there was a controversy between the relocation to a new site and the redevelopment at the existing site. But the talk never seemed to settle.
In September 1999, The Tokyo Metropolitan Government governor, Shintaro Ishihara, who is thought to be a right-wing nationalist, took office. He visited the Tsukiji Market right away. In the occasion, he described his famous line for the Market, "Old, dirty and dangerous."
Steam whistled by Governor Ishihara's comment, the Tsukiji Market issue shifted strongly from redevelopment to relocation.

Governor Ishihara is taking an indefinite attitude, but in my way of thinking, he is not going to run for office in March 2011.
Besides the estimation of his policy, there is no doubt that Ishihara is a statesman with a very strong leadership.
We still don't know who is going to be the next governor, but it's very hard to imagine any candidates that have stronger leaderships than Ishihara.

No matter if the goal is relocation, redevelopment or another alternative, the plans all require very strong political leaderships.
So, since there is no possibility for anybody that has a stronger political leadership than Ishihara to become governor, the Tsukiji Market issue is most likely to come to a deadlock.

2) Two lawsuits concerning the Tsukiji Market relocation to Toyosu are brought on the TMG and on Governor Ishihara and both are on trial now. The possibilities are that Governor Ishihara is going to lose both.

One is the '2009 action for injunction of the disposal of the Toyosu soil core samples.'

The other one is the '2010 action to refund the misused official fund of the appropriation to purchase the contaminated Toyosu site.'
The 2009 action was brought on for the core samples of the mud that was dug out by the research done by the TMG after serious contamination at the Toyosu site was found out in 2008.
The TMG announced that they were going to throw away the samples of the mud in the spring of 2009. The Japanese Communist Party protested strongly about this at the TMG Assembly but they were ignored. So, the people working at the Tsukiji Market as plaintiffs brought the action for injunction on the TMG.

The 1st trial of the 2010 action took place on September 28th 2010. Governor Ishihara and five other TMG officials are accused to refund 15.9-billion yen of the expense they already used to purchase a part of the Toyosu site at a price that the plaintiffs claim that the citizens of Tokyo didn't have to pay.

3) The public advertisement to seek for ideas to redevelop the existing Tsukiji Market site.
In July 2009, a very similar situation to the boom of President Obama in USA happened in Japan. The liberals called strongly for change and they overwhelmed the conservatives at the TMG Assembly election.
The liberals were against the relocation.
Governor Ishihara asked for alternative plans if the relocation was to be refused, so the liberal party decided to invite plans for redevelopment from the public.
45 designs and ideas were applied. Now, the designs and ideas are in course of examination at the TMG Assembly.

In conclusion, I have to say that what may happen about the Tsukiji Market relocation is very unpredictable, now. The liberals here in Japan are losing power very similar again to the Obama boom. That is the big reason that makes the situation so uncertain.

(February 27th 2011 updated)