December 15, 2010

Tsukiji Fish Market, Tokyo - Japan

I must admit I've been slightly obsessed with the Tsukiji fish market for many years now. I find this world's biggest fish and seafood market simply fascinating, and our visit to the market certainly showed me that this is serious business, although perhaps also something of an organised chaos.

You must arrive early as this is when everything happens. Currently the famous tuna action area is closed from the public so we didn't have to rush to the market that early, but even when we arrived at 8 am the market was already on full swing. As a tourist you can't help feeling being 'on the way' as the busy stall holders go on with their daily business.

The area is absolutely mind blowing and there is so much to see and photograph that it can get a tad overwhelming. We stop to admire the skilful fish mongers cutting the massive fresh and frozen tunas, witness a rather gruesome way of killing the infamous fugu so that it keeps as fresh as possible, and of course enjoy what is possibly the freshest sushi and sashimi we'll ever get to taste.

The market is a popular spot for tourists and we soon realise that the most popular sushi restaurants get queues longer than we are willing to join. We don't really see the point of wasting so much time waiting when we know that we can get a superb meal anywhere around this area. We enjoy two fabulous meals: one in a tiny 'box' ran by a father and son outside the main market area and one in a flashier sushi place where we can watch the sushi chefs prepare the meal in front of us. Both meals are absolutely superlative.

Salmon on rice with a delicious miso sauce

Same dish but with tuna

The infamous fugu

Yep that's a big fish

These guys really know how to use seafood in various ways

Various grades of katsuobushi

There is lots of seaweed available in different forms

Skilful fish mongers cutting a tuna

A fish monger cleaning up

This is real wasabi, so delicious with sushi & sashimi!

The young sumo wrestlers shopping for lunch in between training

It was fascinating to see the sushi chefs in work




  1. What an amazing fish market. For a second there I thought the wasabi was some king of sea cucumber with tantacles!

  2. I have regrets that while I was in Tokyo I didn't make it to the fish markets.

    Keep enjoying your holiday!

  3. Wow, I would absolutely love to experience a Japanese fish market! Thanks for sharing your photos, they really are lovely!

  4. Very interesting post! It reminded me of an old friend of mine whose family had a fishing business specializing in these big tunas that they would fish off the Caribbean coast and sell at the auction market to Japanese businesses. I could never understand why Japanese would buy from so far but apparently it is a huge business and tunas fetch a pretty sum at auctions;

  5. I feel like I'm there with you with all of these wonderful pictures! Awesome.

  6. What interesting photos. I'm not sure I want to know about exactly how they kill the tuna....I am such a wimp when it comes to such things!

  7. I am not the biggest fish fan you will find (although I DO love me some sushi!)... but your photos were interesting. What a cool experience to have! Thanks for sharing!

  8. this is so awesome maria! hope you are having a lovely trip!
    I tried to visit tsukiji on my trip to tokyo but the one morning we were free - it was a holiday and everything was closed :( i blame all the sake consumed the prior evening!


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