Tsukiji Fish Market

Friday, September 13th, 2013

The Tsukiji Fish Market is Japans biggest fish market and every tourist guide of Tokyo has at least one page mentioning it. Also, before the market starts, there is the tuna-auctioning, where big fat frozen tunas are auctioned to other stores, restaurants and all the shops in the fish market.

I went to the market before, but hadn’t seen the auctioning yet, which is limited to 120 people per day (but is for free).
Since trains stop in Tokyo between 1 and 4 a.m., a friend and I went after some eating and drinking for a long walk down to the fish market (we could’ve stayed in some place near the fish market too, there are a lot of places in Tokyo to spend the night). Arriving around 2:30, the guard told us that we should come back around 3:30 to get into the auctioning. After some waiting at the river nearby, we went back at 3:20 to see already some tourists lining up.
Well, more tourists came, at 4 we were let inside, waited another hour and at 5:20, the first group of 60 people were let in to see the lined up tuna and some auctioning. I think, the small tunas were around 300kg and the big ones… well, no idea, but probably double or triple the weight. And prices start at 1500 Yen per kilo, and I have no idea how much they go up with the quality.

After the auctioning, we walked around the shops outside the main market hall, since tourists are allowed in there from 9 a.m.
Sleep derived, we ate some fishy breakfast, waited another hour and went into the main hall, where we were mostly trying to survive the small vehicles driving around everywhere.
Well, if you want to see a lot of fish, maybe even eat or buy some, this is a place worth to go. And if not, it’s still a interesting place I would always return to.

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Tuna auctioning. This was before the auction, when the buyers walked around inspecting the fish.

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You can see here, that the tail is cut of and a part of the flesh is almost cut of. Thats the part where buyers look at the flesh to determine the quality of the fish. I have no idea though how exactly they do it.

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These vehicles transport all the goods around the market – and there are a lot of them. You have to watch out, because they don’t slow down for you. As a tourist here, you are observing a busy work-place, so you should try your best not to disturb the sale.

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A temple beside the market, where buyers/sellers come to pray, a guide-book said. On the right, you see Katsuobushi, which are bonito flakes, made from dried bonito fish.

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These are the dried bonito fish the Katsuobushi are shaved from.

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In the outer market, a lot of Tamagoyaki where made. Tourists can also enjoy the still warm, freshly made egg-rolls.

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Sold Tuna.

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Wasabi. I bet a lot of you didn’t know what it looks like.

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In the outer market, there are also a lot of (sushi-)restaurants. A cook enjoying breakfast behind the shop.

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Cooking.

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Oh, my breakfast. Kaisendon, which is a rice bowl with various raw fish on top.

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Inside the main market hall.

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This guy is cutting frozen fish (probably tuna) with an electric saw. You see these saws everywhere here, because the small shops buy the frozen tuna in the auctioning and cut those in smaller pieces for selling.

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