On the way out the door to the Tsukiji Fish market, I tossed a CLIF bar in my bag. I had read somewhere that sushi is breakfast food in Japan and I had also read about the excellent places to pick up fresh sushi near the fish market (imagine such a coincidence!). In hindsight, the CLIF bar was a great hedge against my rapidly deteriorating appetite for sushi. After a walk through the market, I had no desire for anything that once lived in water…
As I navigated my way to Tsukiji station, I grew increasingly curious about what I’d find at the market. I had seen the photos of giant tuna and I imagined that the market would be busy, but I was definitely not expecting so much chaos. Unlike many other landmarks in Tokyo, it was not immediately clear that I was in the fish market. From the outside, it looked like a garbage factory. Lots of trucks, boxes, and turret trucks. Don’t know what a turret truck is? Practically a death sentence when there are hundreds of them zipping around without much regard for visitors.
The outer market was lined with merchants selling produce, and once I had made my way inside, I was intoxicated with the smell of… you guessed it, fish. I didn’t mind it at first, but after awhile, it was obnoxious and overwhelming. Boxes upon boxes of sea urchin, squid, octupus, eel, crab, shrimp, and various types of fish, surrounded me.
I spent the rest of my time in Japan eating Tempura.
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No trip to Tokyo is complete without a visit to the Tsukiji Fish Market. Yes, it's a little touristy (I was surrounded by random visitors while I was there), but it's a great experience and a wonderful opportunity to see things like this. I spent a little while watching these two skilled men break down this fish. Just be sure not to wear open footwear and don't forget to roll up your pants. You are in a fish market, after all, which means all kinds of guts and parts on the ground. Once you're done roaming around the market, visit one of the little restaurants just outside for the freshest sashimi you'll ever have. The action in the market and at those little restaurants starts early in the morning, so don't forget to set your alarm. It's totally worth it!
The book Tokyo Fish Market is a self-commissioned project by me and my good friend Ken, the writer. We felt the need to produce this book, as there are plans to demolish this historic market and relocate to another site in Tokyo, where a new market is currently under initial stages of construction.
Access to the auction & wholesale areas has become very difficult recently and tourists are under strict orders not to disturb any of the locals as they go about their business in a highly energized environment with very limited space.
Their patience for rubber necked Tourists can wear thin but despite this most are very accommodating. This book is filled with loads of great images that are quite difficult to capture for those not skilled in the art of photography in this type of environment.