Japan Highlights: Tsukiji Fish Market

Tsukiji Fish Market, also known as Tokyo Metropolitan Central Wholesale Market, is considered the largest fish market in the world.


Based on a few guidebooks and internet sites, it is best to visit the market early in the morning especially if one is hopeful to see the seafood auction; in particular, the whole frozen tuna auction which happens between 5:00 and 6:30 in the morning. We woke up at 4:00 in the morning and got to the market at 5:10 am. Not knowing where to go or how to get to the warehouse where the live auction happens, we followed a tourist guide who was leading a couple of tourists to the same place.


We were warned beforehand that tourists are not allowed in the area where the auction happens. Also, taking flash photography is not allowed while auctions are under way as they are a distraction. Upon arriving, we were content in waiting outside hoping to catch a glimpse of the auction and possibly take a picture or two (of course without flash). However, as soon as one of the automatic doors opened, a gush of tourists suddenly rushed to get inside so we immediately followed, albeit confused. Everyone started taking pictures and before we knew it, a security guard bearing a placard approached all of us and told us that we’re not allowed in the area. We kinda felt bad for the guy as he didn’t seem to have much control of the crowd.



Anyway, a lot of the tourists continued to move from one door to another in order to gain entrance back into the auction area but we decided to stay outside and view all the action from a distance. Once the tuna is sold, the wholesalers fetch their purchases back into the market in barrows and prepare them for selling to restaurant owners and retailers.



The place got busier with streams of tourists continuing to flock the warehouse so we decided to move on and explore the rest of the market. The whole place was an assault to all senses! With its narrow and winding paths, it’s a wonder how everyone gets around in such a fast pace.


Even these Turret truck drivers seemed to be gliding around the market with ease. What a skill!


Look at all these fresh produce. I wish we had a kitchen in the hotel room.






After moving past the fish and seafood section which I call the wet section, then comes the dry section of the market.





Do you know what these are? We didn’t know what they were at first but they’re actually wasabi root.


There’s more! The market expands further outside. You can find almost anything here, from all sorts of pickles and beans to kitchen utensils and sea urchin shells.





You can even buy a stuffed polar bear, a giant turtle or a full-size crocodile. Bringing them back to your home country is another thing!


By 7:30 am, we were a little bit tired and hungry. What better way to enjoy fresh fish and seafood than having sushi for breakfast. We looked around for a bit and finally decided on this place as the host outside was able to explain to us the dishes in English and their prices were reasonable.


We ordered the deluxe set as it had the best variety. It was entertaining to see them make our plate and the presentation was beautiful. It was certainly the best sushi we’ve ever had. Everything was fresh, not to mention freshly prepared.

Oishi! IMG_3024

I would highly recommend visiting the Tsukiji Fish Market if you’re in Tokyo. It was a wonderful experience and truly a place not to be missed.

However, please bear in mind that first and foremost, it is a place of business. There is a high degree of respect for food in Japan and ingredients in particular. They recognize that it is one of Tokyo’s top tourist attractions but their priority is keeping the business running. Some would even wait for you until you’re done taking pictures of their stall or produce. Be respectful and simply saying “Sumimasen” (Excuse me) or “Arigato” (Thank you) would suffice.

In addition, be aware of the traffic at all times — foot traffic, bicycles, Turret trucks, etc. Do not wander around like you’re in a park. You could easily get run over as everyone moves in a fast pace.

Oh yeah, and remember: do not touch or handle the produce!

Related Posts with Thumbnails
Facebook email PDF
This entry was posted in Places & Travel and tagged , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. Post a comment or leave a trackback: Trackback URL.

Post a Comment

Your email is never published nor shared. Required fields are marked *


You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <strike> <strong>