The latest Guide to Enjoy the Toyosu Market after the COVID-19 Pandemic for 2021

September 28th 2020

All about Toyosu Guide for 2021!
Toyosu Tuna Auction 2020

There are well-known fish markets around the world, such as the Mercamadrid in Spain, the Sydney Fish Market in Australia, the Fulton Fish Market in New York, or the Billingsgate Fish Market in London.

Among them, the Tsukiji Market had been famous as the largest fish market in the world. It was said seafood that impresses gourmets around the globe comes together at Tsukiji and the market was featured in many movies, including Tsukiji Wonderland and Jiro Dreams of Sushi.

The beloved market was transferred to Toyosu in October 2018 due to the aging facilities.

Why from Tsukiji to Toyosu?

One of the reasons for moving was the aging facilities of the Tsukiji Market, but its structure had been also a concern: its atrium was always influenced by outside air and was not ideal in terms of hygiene.

Unlike Tsukiji, the Toyosu Market has a “cold chain,” which shuts out outside air and controls temperature 24 hours.

Tsukiji Market (Before Oct. 2018)
Toyosu Market (After Oct. 2018)

This system makes it possible for the market to implement the HACCP plans, an international standard for food hygiene management.

Since Japan cannot expect much increase in the domestic consumption of seafood due to the declining birthrate and population, the government and those who are involved with the market wanted to find a solution in enhancing the exports to Europe and the United States.

The control of hygiene was an important factor for the purpose and led to the transference of the market.

Where is the Toyosu Market?

It is located in the area along Tokyo Bay, 4 km southeast of Ginza in central Tokyo and 3 km southeast of Tsukiji, the market’s original site.

The access to the Toyosu Market is not as good as to Tsukiji, but the premises expanded by about 1.7 times, from 23 ha to 40 ha.

Tsukiji to Toyosu

Address:
Toyosu Market
6-6-1 Toyosu Koto-ku Tokyo Japan

How to get to the Toyosu Market

Most of the visitors come to the Toyosu Market to watch the tuna auction or try out the restaurants. Since the auction is held around 5:30 to 6:30am, I recommend three following modes of transportations.

Taxi

You can catch a taxi on the street, ask the hotel’s front desk to call one for you, or use an app such as Japan Taxi. It usually takes about 10 minutes and costs 1,500 to 2,000 JPY (Approx. 14USD to 19USD) to get to the Toyosu Market from the Ginza area.

Since there are multiple buildings in the Toyosu Market, an inexperienced taxi driver may not know which place you want to go. Tell that you are going to the Management Facilities Building in the Toyosu Market. If the driver still does not know where it is, show this map.

Map in Japanese
How to go to Toyosu Market by a taxi
Map in English
How to go to Toyosu Market by a taxi in English

The entrance to the Management Facilities Building is on the second floor. Once you get off the taxi, go up to the pedestrian deck by elevator or stairs and head to the entrance.

Train

The nearest train station to the market is Shijo-mae Station on the Yurikamome Line. The first train comes around 5 to 6am, but the timetable varies on weekdays, weekends, and holidays.

We recommend that you use Japan Transit Planner to check the train schedule beforehand.

Once you get out of Shijo-mae Station, you can find a signpost to the Toyosu Market.

Please follow the signpost and head to the Management Facilities Building / Management Office.

Docomo Bike Share Service

If you ride a bike often, we recommend Docomo’s Bike Share Service. With this service started by the mobile phone company, you can rent an electric bike at different places of Tokyo and return it once you arrive at your destination.

It costs 1,500 JPY (approx. 14USD) per day, but an electric bike is easy to maneuver and you can also enjoy cycling while watching the sunrise over Tokyo Bay.

As the photo shows, it is also convenient since you can park the bike on the first floor of the Management Facilities Building.

After parking the bike, use stairs or an elevator to go up to the pedestrian deck and head to the entrance of the management office on the second floor.

As a side note, those who work in the food service industry, including Japanese sushi chefs, Italian chefs, or French chefs, use various types of transportations to go to the Toyosu Market early in the morning, like an electric bike, motorcycle, or train.

It is well known that some people complain about the poor access to the Toyosu Market, compared to Tsukiji.

Watching the Tuna Auction

There are two ways to watch the tuna auction.

One way is to apply online and win the visit in the lottery to watch the auction from the Observation Deck on the first floor.

A photo of the observation deck (First Floor) in 2019

When the application reopens, I will share the information on this website right away.

The other way is to watch the auction from the Observation Gallery Windows on the second floor.

You do not need to make a reservation.

A photo of the observation gallery windows (Second Floor) in 2019

As of September 2020, you can watch the auction only from the second floor, due to the closure of the Observation Deck on the first floor.

How to watch from the second floor

First, go through the pedestrian deck and head to the entrance of the Management Facilities Building (Management Offices) on the second floor.

New guidelines are implemented due to the COVID-19 pandemic. You are required to wear a face mask, have your temperature checked, and sanitize your hands before entering the building. If your temperature is 37.5℃ or higher, you cannot go inside.

Follow signs inside the building and go to the Observation Gallery.

Right beneath the long hallway, the auction is held from 5:30 to 6:30am.

You were not able to hear the sound of the auction before, but speakers are set up now so that visitors can enjoy the atmosphere even more (as of September 2020).

There were a lot of visitors in 2019, but we can see only a few in 2020.

Auctioneers and buyers are all wearing face masks.

Auctioners and Buyers in Toyosu
Roles of the Tuna Auction

Now We will explain about the tuna auction, the major feature of the Toyosu Market.

Tunas are brought together at Toyosu from all over the world and the auction starts around 5:30am.

The number varies each day, but on average 200 fresh tunas and 1,000 frozen tunas are placed on the auction block.

Five wholesalers host the tuna auction at the Toyosu Market and about 200 intermediate wholesalers are permitted to participate.

Auctioneers to Intermediate Wholesalers

These intermediate wholesalers come to the auction at the request of domestic sushi restaurants, supermarkets, department stores, and overseas restaurants.

They participate in the auction to fulfill these stores’ needs for particular types of tuna.

Intermediate Wholesalers to Restaurants
Restaurants to Customers

Since it takes time to land a tuna on the boat, its body temperature can rise meanwhile and “burn” the meat. You cannot tell its quality until the tuna is opened up after the auction.

Before the auction, buyers check the fish carefully and determine if it is worth buying. They examine where the tail is cut off with a flashlight and turn over the belly with a hook to check its fattiness.

High-quality bluefin tuna caught near Japan can be traded for 8,000 to 30,000 JPY per kg. Bluefin tuna caught off the shore of Boston can be even more expensive than those caught around Japan.

The statue of the record-size Bluefin Tuna

On the way to the Observation Gallery, you will find a life-size statue of the bluefin tuna caught in Japan. It was traded in 1986 at the Tsukiji Market and one of the largest tunas in history.

It weighed 496 kg!

The most expensive Tuna, more than 3.1 million USD

The highest price for tuna at the Toyosu Market was marked on January 5, 2019.

A 278-kg bluefin tuna was purchased for 333.6 million JPY (1.2 million JPY per kg) by Mr. Kimura, an owner of Sushizanmai, a national sushi restaurant chain.

*333.6 million JPY (approx. 3.1 million USD)
*1.2 million JPY per kg (approx. 11,000USD per kg)

As the media end up advertising the restaurant or store, the highest price could have been regarded as part of the PR cost.

Eat Good Food in the Morning

You may start to feel hungry while watching the tuna auction early in the morning. About 40 stores open from around 6am at the Toyosu Market so that market workers and tourists can have meals.

Now that you are at the market, enjoy good food from breakfast.

Sushi Dai

Even before featured as a Bib Gourmand restaurant in the Michelin Guide Tokyo 2015, Sushi Dai had been known as the busiest sushi restaurant in Tsukiji.

Sushi Dai is located in the Market Related Restaurants Area on the third floor of the Fisheries Intermediate Wholesale Market Building in Block 6.

Customers had to wait for more than an hour before the COVID-19 pandemic, but I could find a seat soon this time.

Please read this article for the detailed report of the food.

Daiwa Sushi

Another popular restaurant along with Sushi Dai in the Toyosu Market. Daiwa Sushi is located on the first floor of the Fruit and Vegetable Building in Block 5.

Like Sushi Dai, you needed to wait about an hour before the pandemic, but since tourists cannot come from abroad now, you can find a seat smoothly before 9am. The omakase (chef’s choice) set meal costs 4,400 JPY (Approx. 41USD).

Other restaurants

Personally, I recommend anago (Conger eel) nigiri-zushi at Sushi Bun and oyako-don (a rice bowl topped with chicken and eggs) at Torito.

Buy Kitchen Knives and Condiments!

Where is the Toyosu Proshop Market?

There is a street lined with shops that specialize in professional goods on the fourth floor of the Fisheries Intermediate Wholesale Market Building in Block 6.

It is called “Uogashi Yokocho” in Japanese or “Toyosu Proshop Market” in English.

Toyosu Proshop

As the name suggests, the area is designed for professional chefs and has about 70 stores that sell Japanese kitchen knives, rubber boots that prevent slipping on wet floors, condiments, nori (seaweed), and dried bonito flakes.

Buy Souvenirs from the Toyosu Market!

If you are looking for interesting souvenirs from the Toyosu Market, I recommend these goods.

You can buy them at Toyosu Ichiban, a gift shop in the Edo-mae Jokamachi area, which opened in January 2020.

Where is Edo-mae Jokamachi?

The Edo-mae Jokamachi area is right beneath Shijo-mae Station. Follow signs on the pedestrian deck and you will not miss it.

Edo Jokamachi

Once you find the Edo-mae Jokamachi area, look for Toyosu Ichiban. Since the Edo-mae Jokamachi will not open till 9am, unlike other areas, you should go there at the end of your visit to the Toyosu Market.

Bluefin Tuna Puzzle

The plastic model can be taken apart into different parts of tuna.

As you can learn about each section, such as o-toro (a belly part next to the head), chu-toro (a belly part toward rear), and red meat, this is a must-buy for tuna fans.

Tuna Puzzle Souvenir

A similar plastic model of tuna that you can take apart came out before, but it sold out immediately.

If you are interested, you may want to buy it soon. It costs 1,738 JPY (approx. 16USD) including tax.

Turret Truck Puzzle

If you are looking for even nerdier goods than a tuna plastic model, you may like a turret truck plastic model.

Assemble it and decorate your house to make your small fish market at home! This is also fast to sell, so do not wait too long. The price is 3,080 JPY including tax (approx. 28USD).

Turley Souvenir Toyosu

If things went as planned, the Tokyo Olympic Games were to be held this summer and the Toyosu Market must have been bustled with tourists, both from Japan and abroad. Because of the COVID-19 pandemic, the market is going through an unexpected situation.

People at the Toyosu Market are looking forward to welcoming all of you after things get settled down. If you love sushi or are interested in Japanese food culture, do visit the Toyosu Market.

The guidelines for admission may change depending on the situations surrounding the COVID-19 situation, so this article will be updated accordingly.

What would you like to know more?

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