What Is Toyosu Market?

By Kate Boland on March 16 2020 in World Facts

Toyosu market is a massive wholesale fish market in Tokyo. Image credit: wikimedia.org
  • Reservations are needed for the early morning auction observation deck.
  • Katsuo-bushi are dried bonito fish flakes and are a popular souvenir from the market.
  • The public can not buy fish at the market, it is just for wholesale buyers.

In 2018 Japan’s famous Tsukiji Market shuttered its doors for the last time and relocated to a man-made island in the Bay of Tokyo. Home to the world-famous tuna auction, where the stakes are high and millions of dollars are exchanged for the highest grade seafood, the old market had become an unexpected hot spot for tourists and could no longer contain the thousands of visitors and curious onlookers who came daily through its doors.

Renamed the Toyosu Market, the new, modern complex has fast become one of the city’s most popular attractions. Housed in three massive buildings, Toyosu Market is interconnected by covered walkways and is adjacent to the Shijo-mae metro Station. Although visitors are prohibited on the auction floor, tourists arrive as early as 5:30 am to watch the action from the upper-level viewing platforms. 

Wholesale Fish Market

From the throngs of visitors each day you’d never guess that the general public is not allowed to purchase fresh seafood at the fish market. Tourists often arrive before 6 a.m. and head to the second-floor viewing platform to watch the fast-paced tuna auction below. A loudspeaker blasts the sounds of the opening bell along with the shouts of the auctioneers and the fevered bidding. Bluefin tuna can sell well into the millions, and the fast-paced action has been likened to the New York Stock Exchange.

Intermediate Fish Market

The early morning auction is the main attraction, but there is more to see and do throughout the day. A trip to Toyosu market wouldn’t be complete without a visit to the fourth floor of the Fisheries Intermediate Wholesale market. Wall to wall windows offer a view to the fish market and smaller auctions below while visitors browse for professional-grade cookware and utensils, dried bonito flakes and packaged seafood, restaurants offering some of the freshest sushi in all of Japan.  

Fruit and Vegetable Market

This is not your neighborhood farmers’ market. Like the seafood markets, this building is divided into an upper and lower level. The wholesale market and auction hall for fruits and vegetables are located below while a spacious observation deck and restaurants are located above. On the lower level, forklifts ferry pallets of boxed fruit and vegetables along pristine corridors, ready to be shipped out to grocery stores throughout the country. Kitchenware shops, sushi spots, and souvenir stands line the upper level.

Toyosu Market welcomes up to 40,000 visitors a day, including vendors, buyers, and tourists. Since the building of the new facility groups of schoolchildren on field trips has become a common sight alongside large organized bus tours. The most popular day to visit is hatsuseri, which is the first wholesale auction of the new year. Buying and selling on this day is thought to bring good luck and the prices for bluefin skyrocket. Organizers are hoping to expand the complex soon to include a hotel and public bath, as well as opportunities for the general public to purchase fish at the market.

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