Tsukiji Outer Market

A cacophony of history and flavour in the backstreets

By Sleiman Azizi    - 2 min read

Though Tsukiji's wholesale market has moved permanently to nearby Toyosu, the warren of shops and eateries making up the adjacent Jogai Shijo Outer Market remain. A vibrant mix of street-stall style shopping and fresh cuisine, Tsukiji's Outer Market is a haven for those craving the hustle, bustle and intimate feel of a local Tokyo.

As you make your way through the narrow streets, you'll find yourself side stepping boxes and crates of produce. Not just fish and other seafoods but fruits, vegetables and other hands on goods. Staff setting up for the day's trade diligently go about their business and the cacophony of sounds, sights and smells combine to make one of Tokyo's most famous shopping districts a must-see landmark of the city.

Hustling and bustling thoroughfare (Photo: Aimaimyi)
Hustling and bustling thoroughfare (Photo: Aimaimyi)

The maze of options and streets here is a direct result of the Great Kanto Earthquake of 1923. The fishmarket in Nihonbashi was destroyed and operations were then moved to Tsukiji, an area of land reclaimed by the Tokugawa Shogunate in the Edo Period. From 1935 onward, Tsukiji gradually became the place for fresh seafood.

Warren-filled crowds really create an atmosphere here (Photo: Aimaimyi)
Warren-filled crowds really create an atmosphere here (Photo: Aimaimyi)

There are now about five hundred shops and stalls tucked in and around the Byzantine-like streets of the Outer Market. Fans of the area flock for the early morning sushi. With the seafood delivered fresh from the wholesale markets at nearby Toyosu, it's no surprise that business is still booming.

Sushi Okame is just by the entrance to Outer Market (Photo: 江戸村のとくぞう)
Sushi Okame is just by the entrance to Outer Market (Photo: 江戸村のとくぞう)

There is bewildering array of options to choose from to satisfy your belly. One that comes in highly recommended is Sushi Okame, a tiny standing sushi bar at the entrance to the Outer Market. Pure blue-collar street food, the fare is simply delicious and extremely well-priced.

Tsukiji's Outer Market is a place of definite historical and gastronomical interest and well worth the visit.

Getting there

Take the Hibiya Line to Tsukiji Station and head out Exit 1. The entrance to the Outer Market is a 1-minute walk.

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Sleiman Azizi

Sleiman Azizi @sleiman.azizi

A Japanese Permanent Resident, I drool over proper soba and sushi while Japanese aesthetics ticks all the right boxes for me.With over 100 published articles on Japan as well as 5 English language books written in a traditional Japanese style, I also happen enjoy writing. Funny that...I'm also the Regional Partner for Tokyo, Japan's never ending capital, so if you've anything to say about Tokyo - or Japan in general - don't be shy and contact with me via sleiman.azizi@japantravel.com

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