Day Tour

Tasting Tsukiji, a Market Tour (3 Hours)

Context Travel

Tokyo, Japan

Valid for Travel Now Through: 20 Mar 2019

Tasting Tsukiji, a Market Tour (3 Hours )

Tokyo, Japan

Tour Features


  • Culture, History & Arts
  • Food & Wine
  • Sightseeing



Recommended Ages

12 and Above

Activity Level



Japan’s cuisine is heavily influenced by the seasons and geography. Seafood plays an important role in diet, and Tsukiji fish market, the world’s largest, is the center of seafood in Tokyo. The market is divided into two sections—the wholesale inner market and the retail outer market. On the inside, the smell of fish hangs in the air as fishmongers in rubber boots hold the iconic pre-dawn tuna auctions. Outside is a labyrinth of shops selling everything from seafood and dried snacks to unique kitchen tools and wasabi in its raw form. The bustling, narrow walkways are filled with the sounds of business and chatter as locals buy up the freshest catches. During our three-hour Tsukiji outer market tour, we’ll visit a bevy of these stalls to further our discussion on Japanese food culture past and present and how being an island affects this.

Tsukiji district was built from land reclaimed from Tokyo Bay; tsukiji translates to “reclaimed land.” To see what the area looked like before the market was built in 1935, we’ll start our walk at an exhibition of historical woodblock prints and of photographs of the market’s famous tuna auctions. We’ll then begin our market visit, starting off at handful of small shops that sell restaurant-quality kitchen supplies like hand-forged knives. Exploring the many kitchen tools on offer, our docent will explain how different items are used to create some of the dishes we’ll see later in the tour.Japanese food really plays to the senses. As we eat in restaurants and graze at stalls throughout our time together, we’ll see how impeccably presented meals are, from a hearty selection of humble rice balls to delicate sashimi. The dishes not only taste superb but are aesthetically pleasing. During our walk, we’ll sample a variety of key ingredients, from pickled things (tsukemono) to ingredients for authentic miso soup broth. Pickling plays an important role in Japanese cuisine because it allows seasonal foods to be preserved for consumption throughout the year. Tsukemono are served with almost every meal, with cucumbers and daikon being the most common. At Tsukiji, we’ll see a rainbow of pickled produce, from eggplant to Japanese plums (ume).

For our sit-down lunch, we may go for raw fish served over bowls of rice (kaisendon), or tempura, curry, or sushi, depending on preferences. We’ll continue eating our way through the outer market, where we may make stops for tamagoyaki, the rolled, slightly sweet omelet, pomegranate vinegar, meat dumplings, and gluten in assorted forms. We’ll wrap up on a sweet note, with a Tsukiji-only twist on the traditional taiyaki, fish-shaped cakes made of crispy pancake batter and filled with red bean paste, with or without a tangy apricot center.

After a delicious walk through Tsukiji outer market, we’ll leave with all five senses satisfied and with a better understanding of the influences on Japanese cuisine.

About Us

The Context vision is to create an atmosphere—a context, if you will—for curious travelers to engage with local experts; to give them access to places and cultures that might otherwise remain out of sight to the casual visitor; to invite them off the tourist track and into the real life of the people, history, and heritage that make these cultural capitals amazing. With no more than six people, you'll participate in an intimate, hands-on, conversational experience. No Tour Guides - Our docents are first and foremost scholars or specialists, with MAs, Ph.D.s, or other terminal degrees in their fields of study.

Insider Tip

Contact your Virtuoso Travel Advisor for insider knowledge to help enhance your experience.

Terms & Conditions

Context walks can be cancelled up to 48 hours prior to the walk with an 85% refund. Within 48 hours all reservations are final and cannot be refunded. Walks are held rain or shine with some variations to accommodate the weather. If you are running late for your meeting with our docent, we ask that you call to alert us so that we can relay the message to the docent. No shows are treated as last-minute cancellations and are non-refundable. Cancellations within three business days need to be made by phone to the emergency number provided in your confirmation email. Cancellations within three business days made via email or by calling our U.S. 800 number may not be honored. Other terms and conditions may apply.

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By: Joe C

Reviewed on: 27 Jun 2018

Without question they did a superb job.
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By: MJ

Reviewed on: 14 Aug 2018

The trip was our first experience with Context and it was amazing!
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By: Shari

Reviewed on: 17 Nov 2018

The 6 person maximum of Context tours really made for an intimate learning experience. The docents they get to lead the groups were top notch!
Travel Advisor:  Kelly Millington