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【Top Secret】Six Insider Facts about Tsukiji Market

There are many questions surrounding Tsukiji Market, such as "What does the general public have access to?" and "When will the market move?" This article answers some of these questions based on responses from people in the industry. It covers everything from basic information to some facts known only to a few.

Q. What is the difference between the inner and outer markets?

A. The inner market is where the professionals go for procurement, while the outer market is where the general public go.

Although these two areas are generally referred to as the inner and outer markets, the official name of the inner market is the Tokyo Metropolitan Central Wholesale Market (to be referred to as Tsukiji Market henceforth). It is where chefs, sushi restaurants, and retailers of fish and fresh produce go to procure their goods. There are a couple of stores, such as restaurants and shops selling cooking tools, that accept general customers too.

The private shopping district outside of Tsukiji Market is the Tsukiji Outer Market. It is generally referred to as “Jogai” to differentiate it from Tsukiji Market. Jogai is full of shops selling seafood and other ingredients and is crowded with regular shoppers and foreign tourists.

Q. What's at Tsukiji Market?

A. There are regular shops and restaurants in addition to wholesalers.

You can find spots like a wholesale building, broker building, and Uogashi Yokocho. The wholesale building is where auctions are held, with professionals deciding the prices of fish, fruit, and vegetables. Approximately 2 billion JPY is auctioned in a single day! The broker building is where greengrocers and sushi shops go for procurement. It houses approximately 650 brokers. No wonder Tsukiji is the world's biggest market!

Uogashi Yokocho is an area filled with shops targeted at people going to Tsukiji Market. It contains restaurants serving sushi and set meals, as well as shops selling items like cooking utensils and boots. It is also popular among the general public.

Q. Can anyone enter Tsukiji Market?

A. Apart from some prohibited areas, you are free to explore the area. However, be sure not to get in the way of the professionals!

There is a shopping district called Uogashi Yokocho that’s open to anyone for dining and shopping. This area originally opened to serve the professionals working at the market, so you can find many people involved with the market there in the early morning.

The brokers market opens to the general public at 10:00 am. People from all over the world come to see the unique atmosphere of a giant fish market. There are areas (such as the wholesale market) that are closed to the public all day, so be sure to check before going in!

Q. What is the best time to visit the shops at Tsukiji Market?

A. It is ideal to go at "Uogashi Time".

The shops and restaurants usually open early in the morning and many of them close shortly after noon. This is because they were originally opened to serve people working at the market. This style of opening primarily in the morning is called “Uogashi Time”.

Many of the shops are crowded in the morning with people working at the market, so it is recommended to research the best times to go in advance. Note that you should not bring strollers or suitcases into the market.

Q. What is going to move, and when?

A. Tsukiji Market - a public market - will move on October 11, 2018.

The wholesale market, as well as Uogashi Yokocho, will move to Toyosu Market. There are only five more months to enjoy the atmosphere of a historic market that has been in operation since the Showa period!

However, the outer market will not move, so you can continue to enjoy fresh seafood in the outer area of Tsukiji. Tsukiji Market will remain open until October 6 of this year. It is amazing that the entire move to Toyosu Market will only take four days!

Q. What is Toyosu Market like?

A. It is easy to access and is approximately twice the size of Tsukiji Market!

Toyosu Market meets the three requirements for moving: Large space, good transportation links, and close proximity to Tsukiji. Its area is approximately 100.6 acres, which is the size of about nine Tokyo Domes.

Toyosu Market also has great sanitary conditions and earthquake resistance. The auctions, which have been seen from the ground in Tsukiji, will be seen through a window in a clean building at Toyosu. There are high expectations for Toyosu Market, which will inherit the brand of Tsukiji.

[This article was originally published in Walkerplus on 05.18.2018]

*Please note that the information in this article is from the time of writing or publication and may differ from the latest information.

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