Tsukiji Fish Market, Tokyo, Japan
Not surprisingly, it’s busy inside the world’s largest seafood market.
It’s just turned nine o’clock in the morning at Tokyo’s Tsukiji Market and the early rush is over… but that doesn’t mean things have stopped.There are more than 900 stalls crammed into the giant steel-roofed building and they’ve all got more to sell.
As the sun rises over Japan each morning (except Sunday), Tsukiji is the epicentre of the country’s fish trade with the important auctions to secure the best catch of the day.
Things are so hectic during this period that tourists aren’t allowed in until things have calmed down a bit at 9am. That’s when I get my chance to see the market for myself.
All around, people are whizzing past on electronic trolleys, carrying boxes, chopping fish, and negotiating deals with buyers.
There are more than 400 types of seafood on sale here and everywhere you walk there are new and interesting wares to discover.
Once you’re inside, it’s easy to get lost because the rows of stalls seem to stretch on in very direction. With no direct sunlight coming in, there’s an eerie feeling amongst the crowds.
The smell of fish is everywhere.
It’s estimated that more than 8 billion US dollars worth of seafood is sold every year. It’s a huge figure but that’s the kind of trade that’s needed to sustain Japan’s fish diet.
This is a country where seafood is critical to so many of the national dishes and that’s why such a large space is needed for a market like this.
There are plans to relocate the market somewhere else because it takes up so much prime real estate on the water in a city where land is a commodity in short supply. I hope if it does get moved to a more modern centre it will still retain some of the charm of Tsukiji.
For those of you who prefer just to quickly browse, here’s a collection of the photos. As you’ll see, there’s a very unique look to the markets where natural light breaks through only occasionally and it’s hard to gauge the time of day.
You’ll also notice how colourful some of the seafood for sale is. A lot of the product is still alive when it is sold so there’s almost a feeling of being in a huge aquarium at times.
THE BEST ACCOMMODATION AT TOKYO STATION
Tokyo is a huge city and there are lots of different areas you could stay. For tourists, I would recommend either around Tokyo station or Shinjuku.
If you’re looking for a backpacker option, you can get comfortable dorm beds at the great Wise Owl Hostel.
Tokyo is expensive but APA Hotel Ginza-Takaracho is a good price for a nice hotel near the station.
For a trendy modern hotel close to the station, I think you’ll like The Gate Hotel Tokyo by Hulic.
And for one of the best hotels in Tokyo, I would recommend The Peninsula.
THE BEST ACCOMMODATION IN TOKYO: SHINJUKU
Staying in Shinjuku puts you in one of the busiest parts of city, which is great for exploring during the day and at night.
For backpackers, you can get good dorms beds at the cool Imano Hostel.
An affordable hotel in central Shinjuku is IBIS Tokyo Shinjuku.
If you’re looking for a cool design hotel, then Bespoke Hotel Shinjuku is a great choice.
And for a luxury stay, you can’t go past the gorgeous Park Hyatt.
16 thoughts on “Plenty more fish…”
Michael, love it! The audio track truly is the perfect match.
Your transitions are timed well and the organization of your pics creates a good flow. Kudos!
Thanks. It was a little bit of an experiment but I might try to do some more in the future.
Loved the video with the audio track. It gives you a real sense of the place.
Can’t wait to check out the fish market when I head to Japan!
You should definitely check it out – it’s an incredible place. I hope the audio gives you a realistic feel of what it’s like… that’s how it was for me, I feel.
Your photos are remarkable, Michael, and the video is so well done! Kudos!
Thanks, Mel. I don’t consider myself to be much of a photographer but I’m trying to learn some new things and experiment a bit.
That is incredible! Seafood and fish doesn’t get any fresher than that.
And there are some great restaurants around the market where the food is as fresh as it gets. But there were big queues for the popular ones!
We’re an Aussie expat family living in Chiba for 3 years (one down, 2 to go) and my husband has visited here, but I haven’t been yet – can’t wait to go though! And we’ll time it for lunch 😉
Oh, you should definitely go! Unless you’re in a pre-arranged tour or something, you won’t be able to get into the main market area until after 9am. But it’s an easy place to get to on the subway and then walk around for a bit. Definitely have a meal there, though. There are lots of good options for lunch around the perimeter.
Somehow I find the intimate pictures of fish more creepy than the enormous penises at that festival you wrote about.
I love markets and tend to try to go see them as we travel, but the idea of a room that size smelling of fish would turn me off.
The stink was incredible. You could smell it as you got off at the subway station – and that was underground and a couple of hundred metres away!
I didn’t make the market last March (2012), when I visited my oldest son, who resides in Japan. Maybe next time! We did scarf down our fair share of Sushi and Sashimi! Saludos!
I reckon it’s worth going – it’s a pretty huge and remarkable place. They say the sushi and sashimi is really good at the restaurants around the edges… but I think there are plenty of great places all across Japan!
Great photographs of Tsukiji, it seems like we might have visited the market around the same time 😀
Oh cool! Did you enjoy it as well? There’s so much cool stuff to see there, isn’t there?!