If witnessing the delicate slaughter of fresh fish is your cup of tea, then it’s worth waking up in the early hours of the morning for such an unforgettable experience. Tsukiji Fish Market (築地市場 Tsukiji Shijō)is packed with old and young men (mostly) whizzing around on their car-like trams expertly missing the back of your heels with superb maneuvering techniques. The smell of fish hangs deliciously in the air as you take your journey through the jungle of market stalls. Around a thousand or more to be precise.
It’s important to note that at least 80% of the fish eaten in Tokyo passes through Tsukiji before being brought into shops and restaurants in any-one day. Bearing this in mind, you will find it rather amusing to watch the business men checking out the stacks of fishes whilst rambling away on their mobile phones during a tuna auction.
Be warned though, this is the biggest wholesale fish and seafood market in the world. Tsukiji is not a playground, serious money is transferred during this lively event, as the Japanese are serious about fresh fish (in particular for sushi and maki-zushi) and the way it is handled. The tuna auctions begin at five-thirty in the morning, and try not to blink as you will miss major sales being bought. And if you do go, don’t forget to check out the women in the background typing away on their laptops, checking bank accounts, stocks and transfers – it makes for quite a sight.
If you have a weak stomach, then it’s best you don’t eat before heading out to the market. The sight of tradesmen slapping fishes with a cold, dirty knife is enough to make anybody throw-up, and if that’s not bad enough, then look out for the fishermen who kill their fish in true samurai style, slowly prodding and sliding their knife ever so delicately into their fish.
All the walking and smell of fresh fish is bound to make you tired and hungry, so it’s definitely worth popping into one of the nearby sushi restaurants/stalls to grab yourself a fresh Tekka/Maguro Don (tuna on top of with rice in a bowl).
+ Closest stations: Tsukiji, Tsukijishijo
+ Days: Mon-Sat 5am – 3pm (closed sunday, market and national holidays)
+ Plenty of delicious noodle stalls, sushi bars and restaurants
+ Peak selling period 5 – 7:30am
+ Tuna auctions 5:30 – 6:30am (maximum limit of 120 visitors per day on a first-come, first-serve basis)
+ It’s free!!!
Find out more: http://www.tsukiji-market.or.jp/tukiji_e.htm