Tsukiji Central Fish Market
Tokyo Travel Blog› entry 20 of 32 › view all entries
November 10th, 2007 – by: hellokiel
The market is the hub for all the seafood that has been fished out of the sea before it gets redistributed all across Japan. Described as the "stock market" of fish, this market deals in a third of all the fish consumed in Japan - over 2,500 tons a day. Trucks come and go through its main gates, while bicycles, motorcyles, mopeds, rickshaws, and motorized delivery carts race around hauling styrofoam boxes full of fresh fish.
Also surrounding the outer market are several shops selling anything from umbrellas and boots, to sushi, to scales and ice picks.
The pace and the action at the market is unlike anything I had ever seen (sadly, it makes the Pike Place Market in Seattle look like child's play). Wherever we went, we were always in the way. Yet, the market remains open to the public and I can tell that these guys have well gotten used to foreigners wandering aimlessly through the crowds of professional sellers, buyers, and fishermen.
We went on the right day. It began pouring rain at about 11pm on Friday night when we decided that this would be a good time to stay out all night and go to the market. Because the activity at the market starts at 5am and the trains don't start running until after 5, we had to stay out all night to make it to the market in time. Staying out all night is never an easy task, even in Tokyo. We spent the night at a karaoke bar, an AMPM convenience store, two different bars, and wandering the streets of Shimbashi. The rain didn't let up once and it was a fairly long walk to the market at 4:30a.
We finally made it though and once we got caught up in the activity of the market, our fatigue wore off and we continued our journey, running on adrenaline.
By the time 7a came around, we had been through the entire market and decided to stop into one of the stalls for fresh sushi. The restaurants that reside inside the market are said to have the freshest sushi in the world. At one of the more popular restaurants, people had started lining up at 5am to get in and eat the sushi. We waited over half an hour to get a spot at another sushi bar where we ordered the tokubetsu-jou-nigiri, or extra special sushi. It was the best sushi I've ever had and probably ever will have. With our stomachs full, our senses on overload, and our bodies on the verge of collapse, we wandered back to the station to return home around 8a. It had been a long day, but it was worth the trip, the time, and the energy.
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