Tokyo’s Tsukiji Fish Market

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Tokyo

So I found myself in Japan, as you do. Three months spun past again, and I needed to satisfy the Australian authorities once more by leaving the country for a period of time. I toyed with a few ideas before choosing to go to Japan; my dates coincided with the start of cherry-blossom season and so I thought it would be a wonderful opportunity to experience that. In total I stayed almost three weeks, spending most of that time in Tokyo itself.

Tokyo is reportedly the largest and most highly-populated city in the world. At first glance, it can be quite overwhelming and it is hard to know where to start.

I started at the Tsukiji Fish Market, if for no other reason than it was walking distance from my hotel.

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Until recently, Tsukiji consisted of an ‘inner’ and ‘outer market. The inner (wholesale) section was famous for its tuna auctions; visitors would head there at 5AM hoping to be allowed in to watch.

The wholesale market, complete with tuna auctions, has now been moved out to Toyoso, a bit more of a trek if you want to visit. Now only the outer market remains at Tsukiji, although it is still well worth the trip. Let’s face it; I was never going to get myself up and out at 4.30 in the morning anyway.

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Narrow streets of Tsukiji

 

Tsukiji (pronunced skee-gee, or roughly) consists of a few congested, narrow lanes, crammed full of restaurants and shops. The market first opened in 1935, following the devastating earthquake of 1923 that destroyed the previous fish market.

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The market is mainly for fish and seafood, along with some other fresh produce and some connected paraphernalia such as fish-knives and pans.

It is quite touristy and the narrow streets soon become very crowded.

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This man drew a large crowd watching him produce the Japanese ‘sweet’ omelette called tamagoyaki 

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wasabi

A few shop-owners speak a little English, but most do not. It often leaves you guessing about what a food could possibly be. I downloaded a translation app called iTranslate, which takes a photo and translates the Japanese writing to English, but the translation often left me none the wiser.

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any guesses?

The market opens officially at 5AM Monday to Saturday, although most places actually open nearer 7AM. I got there around 8.30. It’s a great place to enjoy a sushi breakfast, as it would be hard to find fresher fish anywhere.

More Tokyo-based shenanigans to follow very shortly…

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