With so much to see and do in the fast-paced super city of Tokyo, it can be difficult at times to pinpoint what to prioritise. In saying this whether you are here for a short time or a long time, the markets of Tokyo are a must and throughout this article we will breakdown the best markets that you should visit.
Tsukiji’s Outer Market
Gigantic oysters! a multitude of fresh seafood stalls, along with restaurants serving delicious eel and Kaisen Don, what better way to top the list than the famous Tsukiji Outer Market. Open every day aside form Sundays, public holidays and some places on a Wednesday.
Secondly for many this would be the number 1 on the list and for good reason. The market caters to all kinds of people, an early riser?, no problem, you can head there at 5am if you wish with many of the restaurants and stalls along the strip open from this time up until around 12 midday to early afternoon. On the flip side if you prefer a bit of a sleep in or some exploring before, you can still roll on in later and make the most of this market.
Finally, markets’ can be difficult at times as you have to arrive early to experience them fully, however Tsukiji provides some flexibility. A flexible market with a nostalgic energy, what more could you ask for.
Up until October 2018 this market was a part of the Tsukiji market, since then it has branched out into its own unique style and offers a bit of a twist on the previously discussed and older Tsukiji Market. Open every day apart from Sundays and public holidays.
Furthermore, the standout here is size being much bigger than Tsukiji. This is a great place to go if you want a wider range of restaurants and fresh seafood, along with the opportunity to buy kitchen utensils in a modern twist to Tsukiji. One of the main attractions is also the live tuna and seafood auctions. “Did you just say, “live seafood auctions”? yes we did! while this is unique, please keep in mind these auctions are for viewing ONLY and reservations generally need to be made in advance.
It can be natural to see Tsukiji and Toyosu as the same thing, however this is far from the truth. To summarise, Tsukiji is the original old style seafood market. Toyosu on the other hand is a modern equivalent offering a wider range of products and attractions. Both special and worth visiting in their own way.
The pinnacle in terms of a general market strip offering food, clothing, souvenirs and much more. Most commonly known as just “Ameyoko” this market screams atmosphere and Japan. There is something for everyone at Ameyoko, which will also mean it can be crowdy, however well worth the visit. Gifts for friends, family and yourself will be easy to find, while earning a well-earned rest and refuel at one of the many restaurants and food stalls. Open every day.
Nestled in the heart of Harajuku, this is a famous long strip of different shops, food stalls, restaurants, in a market feel. This place is a quirky variation on Ameya Yokocho, with a very strong reputation with locals and tourists alike. One mention of the name and it will be quickly associated with Japan. Many markets are very similar across the world, however Takeshitadori is very unique in it’s out there, extravagant and eccentric styles.
Another great thing about Takeshita is its location and that it’s open every day. Many other well known areas such as Harajuku itself and Ometesando, both famous areas for shopping and exploring are within minutes of this place, so if you need a bit of variation from the quirkiness, or need options for your friends and family this area will have something for everyone.
Top tip: Grab yourself one of the many cool printed/glow in the dark t-shirts from one of the clothing stalls, you’ll see them hanging outside a lot of the shops.
A visit to Tokyo is not complete without visiting a temple. Nakamise is a shopping street/market at Asakusa, located beside the Sensoji Temple. The perfect place to pick up some local souvenirs for your friends and family back home. Keep an eye out for souvenir lanterns similar to ones found at the temple, and Japanese sandals for a more traditional gift.
In addition to this the old nostalgic feel of Nakamise and Asakusa also give off a great vibe, and what better way to break up your visit to a religious site than a bit of shopping in between.
Last but not least, there are also some really cool food snacks to be purchased here, look out for the wasabi crackers, and strawberry mochi. Open every day.
Oi Racecourse – Tokyo City Flea Market
One of the biggest flea markets in Tokyo. The first great aspect about this market is that it is open almost every weekend of the year. Don’t worry if you happen to go on a weekend where it is not, they will most likely still have some shopping on the same street.
Did you used to be the best at bartering? Or keen to give it a go? Well look no further than this top market, as you can bargain with the shop owners here as many of them are open to this.
The takeaway form this is if your running on a budget, or simply want a bargain this flea market is perfect as there are many second hand shopping items for sale, along with some delicious food options at an affordable price, just don’t forget to go early as a lot of stalls for shopping and food close around 12pm midday.
Conclusion – Best Markets in Tokyo
To sum it all up, Tokyo is on many peoples travel lists. In saying this going to Tokyo without visiting at least one market would not be a complete experience. Tokyo offers a wide variety of markets, however the above markets are our pick of the best ones for there atmosphere and product selection. Even if you just visit one of the top markets, you won’t be disappointed, and it will give you an unforgettable experience.
Always keep in mind when planning any of the above options on a public holiday or any national celebration day, there may be closures or limitations. So, what are you waiting for? Book out a few days to visit all of them, or just squeeze one into a day on your itinerary, have fun!