TSUKIJI FISH MARKET TOUR

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

From May, 2012, all my tours will be the 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 to them got tighter and tighter.
Generally speaking, the Market is a public space and it's free for anyone to walk around. However restrictions started by the complaints of the people working at the Market, mostly at areas close to the three tuna auction sites. Too many tourists came and flooded into the middlemen store area behind after the auctions sites, which brought many complaints to the administration (=the TMG) and the restrictions got tight.
Besides restricting only those areas, the TMG decided to restrict the entire auction sites and the middlemen store area, which I understand is too much and ridiculous.
Tourists would be asked at the restricted areas nicely by security guards, "Would you kindly leave here because it's restricted to tourists?" But if you are at the middlemen store area, which they tell you not to enter before 9AM, you could have a very ample and convincing argument with them that you are the general shopping public. You could tell them that you had an intention for shopping, so you don't want to leave.

In my case as being a tour guide, the situation is a little more complicated. There is a certain private security company named Zenkoku-keibi, of which the security guards are very hostile to me. They are in charge of controlling the TMG tuna auction observation and they also patrol the middlemen store area. The fixed time for them to come to work is from 5AM. That is the reason why I changed the time of my old tours, 4 - 6AM to my new time, 3 - 5AM. I wanted to avoid the needless trouble with the security guards.

to the details of the New Tsukiji Tour page

IMPORTANT NOTICE ABOUT THE FOLLOWING INFORMATION ON THIS PAGE

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

Please remind that 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

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

THE BEST GUIDANCE AROUND IN ENGLISH AND IN JAPANESE

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

HOWEVER, IT'S NOT MOSTLY FOR THE TUNA AUCTIONS

A lot of tourists from foreign countries that visit the Tsukiji Market are mostly concentrated very much in watching the tuna auctions. However, the tuna auctions these days are almost impossible to watch unlesss you take the following FROZE BLUE-FIN TUNA AUCTION OBSERVATION by the TMG.

THIS IS BESIDES
OUR TOUR

FROZE BLUE-FIN TUNA AUCTION OBSERVATIONS by the TMG
The TMG started from May 10, 2010, a new rule to observe the froze blue-fin tuna auction. You have to stand in line at a reception place starting from 4AM to get a yellow or green jacket as shown above in the picture to get into the auction site. This new rule started after:
the temporary measure to tourists from April 8, 2010 to May 8, 2010 by TokyoWorks
You could se the details of the OBSERVATION at the following TMG site.
http://www.shijou.metro.tokyo.jp/english/market/tsukiji.html
pdf file of what you could see at the TMG tuna observation by TokyoWorks
THE FRESH TUNA AUCTION IS ALMOST IMPOSSIBLE TO WATCH NOW In the early days of my tour, the restrictions at the market were looser. We could take close-ups at the fresh tuna auctions. But now, it is almost impossible to watch. I put a link to a video on YouTube. You can't get close like this anymore. The person that took this video was very lucky because the shipment of tuna of was so large that tuna were spilling out from the site, which the shutter was regularly tightly shut.
auctions of tuna in the Tsukiji fish market

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

Fresh fish samples displayed

Photo by Kazuko Funaki
Sitazuke

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
TunaLumberjack
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
live
Photo by Kazuko Funaki
biddig

The tuna auction


("Bidding")

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

Fish cakes section

-

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)
SushiDaiwa

Photo by Liz Habermann

Tour Program Time Table

Odd months--January, March, May, July, September, November

Even months--February, April, June, August, October

4am Meet at Tsukiji 4-chome (Image and map is after-shown) 4am Meet at Tsukiji 4-chome (Image and map is after-shown)
4:15 Namiyoke Shrine 4:20 Fresh fish auction
4:20 Preparation stage of tuna auction 4:30 Preparation stage of tuna auction
4:30 Stroll around the middlemen store area 4:50 Stroll around the middleman store area
4:40 Fresh fish auction
5:10 Sea urchin auction 5:10 Sea urchin auction
5:20 Live fish auction 5:20 Live fish auction
5:30 Tuna auction 5:30 Tuna auction
5:50 Tuna curving at middleman's store 5:50 Tuna curving at middleman's store
6:05 Disband at annexed merchants area 6:05 Disband at annexed merchants area

The difference between the odd months and even months comes from the difference of the starting time of the fresh fish auction

*Please remind that time table schedules may change due to shipment of fish and other conditions.
*Participants of this tour should be asked to act as a group. Please do not be late to 4am since the tour will start on time
*Taxis are almost the only transportation at the time of our tour. The subways are not in operation.

Tour Schedules

The Tsukiji Market (and all other Japanese Central Wholesale Markets)
are CLOSED on Sundays, National Holidays and temporary holidays for
the Markets, mostly on Wednesdays

Tsukiji Tours are on the bold blue dates
RED DATES: Market holidays
LINED OUT dates: No space availble

I don't have tours in December because it's the busiest month of the year.
I suggest you NOT TO visit the Market on your own, especially after the 15th.

2011

July
7
SUN MON TUE WED THU FRI SAT
- - - - - 1 2
3 4 5 6 7 8 9
10 11 12 13 14 15 16
17 18 19 20 21 22 23
24 25 26 27 28 29 30
31 - - - - - -
August
8
SUN MON TUE WED THU FRI SAT
- 1 2 3 4 5 6
7 8 9 10 11 12 13
14 15 16 17 18 19 20
21 22 23 24 25 26 27
28 29 30 31 - - -
- - - - - - -
September
9
SUN MON TUE WED THU FRI SAT
- - - - 1 2 3
4 5 6 7 8 9 10
11 12 13 14 15 16 17
18 19 20 21 22 23 24
25 26 27 28 29 30 -
- - - - - - -
October
10
SUN MON TUE WED THU FRI SAT
- - - - - - 1
2 3 4 5 6 7 8
9 10 11 12 13 14 15
16 17 18 19 20 21 22
23 24 25 26 27 28 29
30 31 - - - - -
November
11
SUN MON TUE WED THU FRI SAT
- - 1 2 3 4 5
6 7 8 9 10 11 12
13 14 15 16 17 18 19
20 21 22 23 24 25 26
27 28 29 30 - - -
- - - - - - -
December
12
SUN MON TUE WED THU FRI SAT
- - - - 1 2 3
4 5 6 7 8 9 10
11 12 13 14 15 16 17
18 19 20 21 22 23 24
25 26 27 28 29 30 31
No tours in December
*The tour fee is 7,500 yen per person.
*Tour fees should be paid before the tour but will be refunded if you leave at an early stage of the tour.
*We take participants only up to 6-persons on each tour.
*We don't accept credit cards.

I will attend you

Naoto Nakamura
'nick, the MAIDO-man'

Photo by Omar Jadwat

"I have worked for 12 years in the fish business and know it inside out."


How to sign up for the Tsukiji Fish Market Tour

We have tours on Tuesdays and Thursdays, when the Market is open. The dates underlined on our calendar have openings. Choose your date and please email us. We will reply to book you. The lined-out dates on the calender are fully booked, so space to participate isn't available.

Please come to the meeting place on the date you reserved shortly before 4am.
Taxis are almost the only transportation available at that time.
The costs for the tour is 7500 yen per person and have some Japanese yen ready in cash because cash dispensers are not operating at the hours of our tours.

We don't charge any cancel fees. Please inform us as soon as possible in case you cancel.

Please ask us any question.

Here is a map image of the meeting place you could print out and show to the taxi driver.MAP
Please send an email to 'BZQ23303@nifty.ne.jp'-Naoto Nakamura-to book your tour.
Send your email at least 3 days before your tour. We don't take last-moment reservations.
We are filtering email domains such as .com and .net since we are having difficulties with spam mails.

By using the key word, "Tsukiji" in your email title, you could get through the filterings.

If your email is still blocked, please leave a message on our board.
Please get yourself ready for the tour! Keep in mind that you have to walk a lot of wet, slippery, dark and crowded areas where there are a lot of up and downs.
WE DON'T TAKE SMALL CHILDREN ON OUR TOUR

WE DON'T TAKE PETS ON OUR TOUR

MEETING PLACE

There is a bright sign of a 24 hour restaurant "Jonathan's" at the intersection of Tsukiji 4-chome, which is the place to roll up. The following is the picture and the map.
JONATHAN The MEETING PLACE is in front of this building that have:

1F: Bantam "convenience" store LAWSON

2F: Family Restaurant JONATHAN'S
simple_map
A simple map in Japanese that you could print out and show to the taxi driver
Another map:
English map
The center of the map is Tsukiji Yon (4)-chome, the intersection of the meeting place.
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.
zanmai
Sushi-zanmai
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.

FAQ

Q

I heard that the Tsukiji Market is restricted to tourists. Is it true?

A

Yes, in a way. There are some places you can't enter and some things that you can't do like using flashes at particular auctions at particular timings.

Q

I heard that the Tokyo Metropolitan Government office at the Tsukiji Market does not give permission seeing the Market in hours earlier than 8:30 a.m.

A

There is no problem about having no permission. Generally speaking, Tsukiji is a public market for everybody. The TMG has no right to force people out.

Q

Are the early auctions from 4-5am still accessible to the public?

A

Nominally, the auctions are closed to the public. So, if you meet a TMG patrolman, he has to tell you to leave. The best thing is not to meet them--They don't want to meet you, too.

Q

Are there transportation besides taxis available at the time of the tour?

A

No, taxis are almost the only transportation available.

Q

We heard that the fish market has lots of blood and guts on the floor and ruins your shoes.

A

The Tsukiji Market floors is not that much dirty. Sneakers are okay if they are fairly waterproof but probably, your socks would get a little wet. They would get completely wet on rainy days.

By the way...

These days, Hollywood stars
come to the Tsukiji Market, too.
JeanReno
If you watch carefully, this is
Jean Reno.
TomHanks
This is Tom Hanks.
Everybody's taking out there cell
phones to take pictures!
CellPhones
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.


board
Board

Tsukiji Tour Japanese page

To the page of TokyoWorks

How to tour the Market on your own...

I am afraid to say that this doesn't work anymore (updated August 23, 2011)...

Anyway, if you wish to, please read the contents

I have tours only two times a week, so I wanted the people that couldn't get a reservation on our tour or have schedules that don't permit them to take our tour enjoy the Market as well.

And to large groups that don't fit our tour: I strongly wish you to also take a look at this page.

And after the great disaster on March 11, 2011, it seems to be a very good idea to tour the Market on your own, NOT WITH ME, and shop some fish at the Market as a shopper for the sake of the business at the Market!

(The contents of this page was made on behalf and not without the assistance of Barbara Stickler-san, who toured the Tsukiji Market on March 17th, 2009.)

THE PLANS TO MOVE THE TSUKIJI MARKET



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)