A taste of the outer market (Photo: istolethetv / CC BY 2.0)

Tsukiji Outer Market

A cacophony of history and flavour in the backstreets

A taste of the outer market (Photo: istolethetv / CC BY 2.0)
Sleiman Azizi   - 4 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
Hustling and bustling thoroughfare (Photo: Aimaimyi / CC BY-SA 3.0)

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
Warren-filled crowds really create an atmosphere here (Photo: Aimaimyi / CC BY-SA 3.0)

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
Sushi Okame is just by the entrance to Outer Market (Photo: 江戸村のとくぞう / CC BY-SA 4.0)

There is a bewildering array of options to choose from to satisfy the 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.

More info

Find out more about Tsukiji Market.

Sleiman Azizi

Sleiman Azizi @sleiman.azizi

I'm a Japanese Permanent Resident with over 650 published articles on Japan as well as 5 English language books inspired by traditional Japanese literature.I'm also a Japan Travel expert for Tokyo, so if you've anything to say about Japan's never ending capital - or just Japan in general - don't ...