5 Things You Should Know About Toyosu Market In Japan
A dive into one of the largest seafood markets in the world
When it was time for Tsukiji to close its doors and start anew in Toyosu, mixed reactions filled the air, particularly by the businesses that had no choice but to relocate to a new building located two kilometres away. After all, the legendary Tsukiji Market is an irreplaceable icon of Japanese seafood.
In October 2018, the transition was finally complete. At 40 hectares, which is 1.7 times larger than the old market, Toyosu greeted its visitors and wholesalers with state-of-the-art equipment and facilities. Part of the reason for the transition was to solve the issues of disorderliness and inefficiency in the previous building.
Now that the brand new building is up and running, here are some things you should know in case you’re planning for a visit.
1. Toyosu’s main attraction is the tuna auction
The tuna auctions isn’t anything new for Toyosu. In fact, it had been around since the early days of Tsukiji more than 80 years ago.
To compete with other buyers in a bid to get the best quality catch within their financial means, buyers have to make their way to the market as early as 4.30 am.
As the tunas are all laid out in uniform rows, a ring of the bell signals the start of the bidding process that usually lasts for 1 hour.
To bid, buyers will have to raise their digit gestures (teyari) to indicate their bids and amount to purchase. The highest bidder will be announced by the auctioneer, in which will be sold by the winning intermediate wholesaler to other businesses such as restaurants, retail and supermarkets.
2. Tourists are able to observe the auction
Now that there’s a whole Fish Wholesale Market Building where the tuna auctions are carried out, the management can provide visitors with better view of the tuna auction process without disruption. The only downside to this is that visitors can no longer witness it up-close, unlike in Tsukiji.
To observe the auction, visitors can proceed to the second-floor observation deck which doubles as a gallery. There is actually a second option of the special observation deck on a lower floor which is the closest you can get to the auction. However, you would need advanced application for access to this deck.
3. A great place to learn about tuna and seafood
It’s not every day we get too see giant majestic tunas laid out fresh in rows right in front of our eyes. Plus, if you’re up for learning about where your favourite tuna sushis and sashimis actually come from, Toyosu is the place to visit.
Did you know that a wild bluefin tuna can go up to more than 250kg? In fact, that isn’t even close to the largest giant bluefin tuna ever caught and sold at Tsukiji Market in 1986 which weighed 496 kg at a length of 288 cm.
There’s actually a life-sized replica of this giant monster at the entrance of Fish Wholesale Market Market building for you to take advantage of for your social media posts.
Other than its main tuna attraction, Toyosu houses over 550 seafood wholesalers and 100 fruit and vegetable traders, seeing a massive trade of over 2,800 tonnes of seafood, fruit and vegetables daily. Hence, visitors can feast their eyes on different varieties of rare seafood!
4. Just like any other parts of Japan, Toyosu is a food haven
Once the tuna auction concludes, and perhaps followed by a tour around the Toyosu Market, the usual travel itinerary would probably include a sumptuous feast of what the local culinary scene has to offer.
Head on to the third floor of the Fisheries Intermediate Wholesale Market to find over 40 food stall selections. One can guarantee the freshness of the seafood and ingredients used in these stalls as they are delivered straight from the market itself.
The food offered are not limited to seafood and sushi, but also a wide range of Japanese specialties. It can be tough to pick a stall, but if you’re all up for waiting, choose the ones that have longer queues - which usually means they are worth the wait.
As a recommendation, hop on over to the ever-popular Sushi Dai which is also a former tenant of the old market. However, unless you’re one of the early birds, do prepare to wait as the queue starts as early as 6 am.
5. You can bring home a piece of Japan
One can find a wide selection of food items, snacks, gifts and even kitchen utensils in Toyosu, therefore we don’t recommend going home empty handed. Be sure to do some shopping at Uogashi Yokocho to get some sundries and goods, including kitchen utensils such as kitchen knives that are catered to chefs and professionals.
To end your Toyosu trip on a high note, don’t miss your chance to bring home of the most sought-after confectioneries include dango, mochi, sweets, tamagoyaki, sake, rice malt and chocolates!