There’s so much more to traveling in Japan when you do as the locals do. Eating at fancy restaurants, cafe-hopping in kissatens, and trying out street food are all great ways to experience Japan’s food culture, but have you ever tried going on a food trip in Tokyo’s busy markets?
Japan’s most popular market, the Tsukiji Market, is a mecca of flavors waiting for you to discover. Though the Tsukiji Fish Market itself moved to a new location in Toyosu in 2018, the outer market is still as thriving as ever– it’s actually one of the best ways to travel by taste, as you eat cheap yet delicious and fresh dishes early in the morning.
To give you a glimpse of what to expect in Tsukiji Market, we’ve listed down some of the things you can try here!
How to get to Tsukiji Market
From Tokyo Station, take the Marunochi Subway Line from Tokyo to Ginza. Then, transfer to Hibiya Subway Line going to Tsukiji Station. From there, the Tsukiji Market is just a six-minute walk.
Tip: Get a Tokyo Subway 24/48/72 hour ticket for a hassle-free subway ride going around the city. Get your
What To Try
Eel, sea urchin, oysters
The best thing about Tsukiji Market is that you absolutely get the freshest catch in the early morning if you plan to go there for breakfast. Their fresh-off-the-boat seafood is something you wouldn’t want to miss. Try their blow-torched scallops, placed in a super-sized shell filled with oyster and sea urchin for the perfect bitesize buffet. If you prefer grilled food, they also sell scallop and unagi skewers. Fan of oysters? You’re sure to find a gigantic and fresh one in the market stalls!
Image via KKDay Supplier
Probably the most popular dish in Tsukiji Market would be kaisendon. Kaisendon is Japan’s seafood rice bowl, with kaisen meaning seafood and don meaning rice. These rice bowls are served in many restaurants and shops in the inner market. The sushi chef prepares the food in front of the customers as they dine in front of the bar. Its freshly-caught seafood gives off a distinct ocean taste that ensures that tells the seafood is fresh. There are different varieties of kaisendon to choose from, too.
Crabs and Lobster
via yuki0328 on Pixabay
Besides getting fresh crabs from the market, why not try them on the spot for your meal? Tsukiji outer market also serves ready-to-eat crabs. One of the must-tries here is scorched Alaskan king crab legs with their succulent meat. There’s also a crab fish cake too.
Image via KKDay supplier
Kakigori is Japan’s version of shaved ice dessert. They’re drizzled with syrup flavors, from strawberry to matcha, chocolate, or vanilla. Some stalls decorate their kakigori with different designs and character figures, much to the delight of the kids. During summer, expect long lines as it’s the favorite go-to dessert of people to beat the summer heat!
Want to travel by taste? Hop on a Tokyo FooDrink tour and get to know more about Tsukiji Market and Asakusa!
via Kouki Kuriyama on Flickr
One of the cheapest yet most satisfying foods you can try in Tsukiji Outer Market is tamagoyaki. It’s a sweet egg omelet dish that’s very filling whether for breakfast or snack. You’ll find these in tiny shops where the chefs do live cooking of tamagoyaki. Other tamago versions you can try are tamagoyaki sandwiches or tamagoyaki on a stick.
via Kim on Flickr
Aside from seafood, you’ll also find desserts in Tsukiji Market. Try mochi, a Japanese rice cake made with glutinous rice and a variety of sweet fillings such as sweet bean paste, or whole fruits like strawberries. There are ice cream versions of it too. These melt-in-your-mouth goodness are usually found in tiny stalls.
Matcha Ice Cream
Another dessert to try in Tsukiji Market is matcha ice cream, a Japanese green tea-flavored ice cream. It’s also a summer favorite as it’s very delicious, perfect for the sweet tooth. Some stalls also serve different flavors of ice cream as well.
via Yida Li on Flickr
Want something filling and cheap? Try onigiri, made with triangle-shaped rice balls stuffed with seafood, egg, or meat and wrapped in dried seaweed. Onigiris are very handy to eat, and they’re great for whenever you want to eat them– for breakfast, lunch, snack, picnic, or dinner. The best thing about it is that there are lots of varieties to choose from.
Want to go on a food and educational trip in Tsukiji? Book a Tsukiji Market and Sushi Making Experience and get a better understanding of the Japanese food culture.