If you read any guidebook or website about Tokyo, you’ll soon be told that Tsujiki Fish Market is ‘One You Can’t Miss.’ In this case, however, we’d agree: this market is something to see.
Tsujiki Fish Market is comprised of two markets, an inner and outer, and although you have to get there early it’s a fascinating way to spend a morning. The outer market is where you can sample the wares of the inner, full of food sellers, prepared fish, and street food stalls. In the inner market, chefs and those in the restaurant industry buy the highest quality fish wholesale. The inner market only opens to the public at 9am, after the tuna auctions have taken place. Here you’ll see every colour and kind of fish and seafood you can imagine, and gruff sellers who won’t let you take photos and will absolutely run you over at speed in their turret trucks if you get in the way. It’s a working market, after all, and there’s a vibrancy and energy in the air that is thrilling and confusing all at once. Selling at Tsujiki is serious business; if you’re against seeing live fish being cut and prepared at an astonishing rate I’d steer clear. A fruit and veg market next door is equally worth taking the time to explore, even if it’s just to see something you’ve never seen before. Did you know wasabi is a knobbly, chunky root? I didn’t.
We knew people who got up to queue at 3am to see the fish come in and the tuna auctions begin, but as access to the inner workings is so limited if you don’t work in the industry we didn’t see the point. Instead, we paid for the Tokyo FooDrink Tour tour with Japan Wonder Travel and would absolutely recommend anyone do the same. Yuko, our guide, was lovely and told us more about the history and future of the market than we could have found out for ourselves. Included with the tour was a sushi making class using fresh fish bought from the market that day, and polishing off our homemade attempts for lunch rounded the morning off nicely.
Have you been to Tsujiki Fish Market? What was your favourite part?