Friday, November 16, 2007

Tsukiji Fish Market

The Tsukiji Fish Market is widely known as the largest fish market in the world, and is a great place to start your visit to Tokyo. Arriving in Tokyo from the the U.S. means you're pretty much guaranteed to wake up at some horribly early hour (4:30 a.m. in my case), and since the market opens at 5:30, you can experience the madness first hand!

It's an amazing experience; a large warehouse packed to capacity with fishmongers selling the mornings catch, much of it alive, some larger catches flash-frozen, and all incredibly fresh. Not a single whiff of "fishy smell" will permeate your nostrils anywhere you go. You will see fish you've never seen or heard of before, you can watch a man slice through thousands of dollars worth of tuna with katana of a fish knife, or see eels skinned and gutted in record time.

Of course you stand still for any time at all entirely at your own risk and peril, as hundreds of motorized carts run at breakneck speeds up and down the tight, wet alleys between stalls. Getting bumped and knocked is to be expected; just try not to upset anyone holding a large bloody knife!

Surprisingly a lot of Japanese tourists are there as well; I think we saw more Japanese with cameras than gaijin.

Here are a few pictures; the full collection in in a [gallery]

After an hour or so of walking around the market and watching all that delicious fish being sliced and diced, you'll find yourself hungry for a sushi breakfast! Just outside the market are rows and rows of shops and sushi restaurants, where you can have the freshest sushi you've ever had, washed down with beer or sake, sitting next to chain-smoking Japanese fisherman… all before 7:00 in the morning. Perfect!

Enjoy a larger [photo gallery] here.