Translated by MATCHA
Jonai And Jogai: Find Your Way Around Tsukiji Fish Market Like A Pro
Written by Ai Yoneda
If you are planning a trip to see the world famous Tsukiji Fish Market, then you may hear words like 'jonai' and 'jogai' being mentioned. Read on to learn more about what these terms mean, and what they will mean to visitors too.
Day in and day out, Tsukiji Market is bustling with tourists both domestic and international. It is split into two areas: jonai and jogai. However, it is difficult to tell the difference between these two areas for first time visitors no matter where they come from. In this article, we will go over the differences between both sides of the market.
The jonai, or inner market, refers to the area where professional buyers go to make their purchases.
Tsukiji Market is the oldest central wholesale market of the eleven found in Tokyo, and not only provides seafood and marine products, but also fruits and vegetables. This market handles the greatest volume of seafood anywhere in the world, and mainly performs auctions and wholesale sales of unprocessed/fresh foods. At the auctions, the seller (wholesalers) sell the fish they've caught to buyers (who are intermediate wholesalers). The jonai auctions are typically open to the public; anyone can go and watch the tuna auctions that take place very early in the morning here.
Intermediate wholesalers take the items they have purchased at the auctions and bring them to their own jonai-based shops. Please be careful when visiting the jonai area; the foods sold here are intended for seafood and sushi restaurants, as such they are sold by size/volume and are not suitable for home use.
The jonai first and foremost is an area where tradespeople work. As you can see in the photo above, workers zip about using turret trucks or other vehicles, and there are no pathways for tourists to walk along here. Please be careful of the vehicles driving about around you when visiting the jonai area.
Within the jonai is an area called Uogashi Yoko-cho. This is where people who work at Tsukiji Market come to eat, and it is open to the public as well.
In Uogashi Yoko-cho you can find places that serve sushi and kaisen-don, which is a large bowl filled with rice and then topped with sashimi, as well as stores that sell kitchen knives for professional cooks, and souvenir shops. However, space that each establishment occurs is quite narrow, which means that there is limited seating no matter where you visit here.
Many say that the jonai is where you will the absolute freshest, most delicious sushi, sashimi, and kaisendon in the area. There are always lines outside the restaurants like Yamato Sushi and Sushidai here.
If you are planning to visit the jonai area, there are a few things you should note:
- Young children, families with strollers, people wearing sandals or high heels, or anyone carrying or rolling large pieces of luggage may not enter the jonai area.
- Watch out for cars, trucks, turret trucks, and other vehicles in the area.
- Do not approach or attempt to climb on the turret trucks.
- The jonai is a 100% no-smoking area. Do no smoke here other than in the designated smoking areas.
- Visitors may not bring pets or dangerous items into the area (weapons, flammable liquids, etc).
- Tours of intermediate wholesalers are only available after 9:00 to small groups of people.
With these points fresh in our minds, just how do you access the jonai market?