About the World's Largest Fish MarketTsukiji Market, or Tsukiji, is the largest fish market in the world, where more than 50,000 people work. All the seafood sold in Tokyo is from this market.
The market, active since 1935, is also the oldest market of Tokyo's wholesale markets and is a tourist attraction, no less than any other active market of merchants and wholesalers. In fact, it is the Tokyo Fish Exchange, where fish are sold to the highest bidder and the prices given are very expensive.
About the Fish Exchange, Tsukiji MarketThe unique part of the Tsukiji Market is a stock exchange of fish, which operates from dawn, while most Tokyo residents are still asleep. This is where the Tokyo restaurants purchase their fish, which will be consumed later in the day. As the place which presents sushi to the world, this market is the center of interest of the famous Japanese delicacy.
It all begins at night when the ships unload a variety of fresh fish and seafood. At dawn traders prepare them for sale. Later, restaurant representatives come to purchase the fresh fish and seafood, which will be taken to the restaurants. Finally, in the restaurant’s kitchens, sushi will be prepared in all its forms along with the other wonderful dishes.
It all starts early in the morning, when the auction of these big fish is held. The merchants arrive and examine carefully giant tuna fish from all over the world. Each fish is marked by the merchants so that they can offer a price according to the quality and size of the fish. An hour later, they gather for an auction, which is held in a unique language that a stranger will probably not understand. They hint using their fingers to mark their proposals.
After the sale, the fish are paid for and taken to the shops, restaurants and kitchens. From there they will be distributed to us, the diners in Japan.
The External MarketNext to the auction area there is a huge outdoor market, where over 1,000 wholesale fish traders, known to traders and restaurateurs, are placed in very clean stalls. Here seafood, for instance fish, crabs, squid and octopus are sold throughout the whole day.
Many Japanese locals buy fish and seafood from this market to prepare at home. It is the leading place to buy fresh fish for the traditional Japanese kitchen. In the fish market, which by the way has no smell of fish, you can also enjoy many restaurants and stalls offering fresh fish and seafood dishes, excellent sushi and more.
The entrance to the market is completely free, even if you are a tourist and do not intend on buying.
TipsEarly in the morning, the fish market is usually muddy and wet. It is recommended to dress accordance.
Only 120 visitors are given access to the public sale per day, therefore arrive at the Kachidoki Gate of Osakana Fukyu Information Center at 5 am.
The best time to visit the market is between 5:00 - 8:00 am
In order to eat a delicious cheap meal, take a left at the exit of the market, before the bridge, to the alley of shops and small restaurants with sushi and tempura.