Lifestyle | Kateigaho International Japan Edition

Tokyo revealed: Bustling alleys, tempting aromas and treats galore

Tsukiji Outer Market

During the 83 years since it opened in 1935, Tsukiji Market, the largest seafood and produce market in Japan, supplied sustenance to Tokyo and the entire surrounding Kanto region. Its wholesale fish market traded the highest volume of marine products in the world, and its dynamic tuna auctions thrilled tourists from every part of the globe.

Of loaves and fishes: Made with wheat-flour batter, these 'fish' waffles from Tsukiji Sanokiya (Tsukiji 4-11-9) are filled with sweet red-bean paste or custard. Best eaten hot off the grill.
Of loaves and fishes: Made with wheat-flour batter, these ‘fish’ waffles from Tsukiji Sanokiya (Tsukiji 4-11-9) are filled with sweet red-bean paste or custard. Best eaten hot off the grill.

Many mourned Tsukiji’s closure when it ceased operations late 2018, and Toyosu Market, a new site 2.3 kilometers away, prepared to take over from its predecessor. But the Tsukiji Outer Market, a shopping area adjacent to the old wholesale market, is still going strong at the same location and under the same name.

Skewered: Scrumptious tamagoyaki omelettes are made with fresh eggs laid earlier the same day and a traditional dried-bonito soup stock. Pictured are kushitama tamagoyaki blocks on skewers from Tsukiji Yamacho (Tsukiji 4-10-10) for easy snacking.
Skewered: Scrumptious tamagoyaki omelettes are made with fresh eggs laid earlier the same day and a traditional dried-bonito soup stock. Pictured are kushitama tamagoyaki blocks on skewers from Tsukiji Yamacho (Tsukiji 4-10-10) for easy snacking.

Its bustling alleys are lined with row upon row of shops — around 400 altogether, including over 30 sushi restaurants and retailers selling a potpourri of products from fresh seafood to groceries and tea. Tourists can also snack on an array of easy-to-eat treats like onigiri rice balls and skewers of tamagoyaki omelette and wagyu beef.

As fresh as it gets: Former fisherman Tamenori Ishimura grills fresh seafood while you wait. He highly recommends the scallops he gets delivered straight from the beach (Maguro no Miyako; Tsukiji 4-13-13).
As fresh as it gets: Former fisherman Tamenori Ishimura grills fresh seafood while you wait. He highly recommends the scallops he gets delivered straight from the beach (Maguro no Miyako; Tsukiji 4-13-13).

With tempting aromas wafting from all directions and shop clerks vying for your attention, you will have a hard time deciding what to try next: best to arrive on an empty stomach. It’s also advisable to show up after 9 a.m., since restaurateurs and other professionals come to stock up on supplies earlier in the morning and tend to get preferential treatment over sightseers.

Sushi bowl: Tsukiji Aozora Sandaime Honten's (Tsukiji 4-13-8) popular dish, the Edomabushi Chopped Tuna Special Sashimi Rice Bowl, is served with about 20 different sushi toppings, including top-grade negitoro, piled on a bed of rice in a wooden tub.
Sushi bowl: Tsukiji Aozora Sandaime Honten’s (Tsukiji 4-13-8) popular dish, the Edomabushi Chopped Tuna Special Sashimi Rice Bowl, is served with about 20 different sushi toppings, including top-grade negitoro, piled on a bed of rice in a wooden tub.

Plat Tsukiji General Information Center: Tsukiji Outer Market, Senjagaku Bldg. 1F, Tsukiji 4-16-2, Chuo-ku 104-0045; 8 a.m.-2 p.m., from 10 a.m. on Sundays, national holidays and Toyosu Market closing days; closed during year-end and new year holidays; www.tsukiji.or.jp

Many activities have been canceled or postponed through the end of March due to concerns over COVID-19. Be sure to check with any official websites or with the venue itself before heading out.

Take a closer look: Boxes of colorful sushi candies catch the eye at the front of Tsukiji Kaneyoshi (Tsukiji 4-12-2), which specializes in seafood rice crackers. Despite their dainty size, all the toppings look surprisingly real.
Take a closer look: Boxes of colorful sushi candies catch the eye at the front of Tsukiji Kaneyoshi (Tsukiji 4-12-2), which specializes in seafood rice crackers. Despite their dainty size, all the toppings look surprisingly real.

Chikako Shimizu contributed the text for this article. All store information and pricing is correct as of Feb. 15, 2019.

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