Tsukiji Market is the biggest wholesale fish and seafood market in the world. Also one of the largest wholesale food markets of any kind, too. So not only fish and sea goodies, vegetables, fruits and etc. are also available. Times Travel listed visiting the Tsukiji market as number one out of 10 things to do in Tokyo.
So what’s a tourist supposed to be at a wholesales market for? I was there several times but only on extremely rare occasions was it to buy raw fish for cooking. When I followed my chef friend to see the tuna auction and watch him pick and purchase fish for his restaurant was probably the only time that I considered the trip as a visit for a wholesale purchase. I normally was there just to have sushi for breakfast.
But many guide books say you need to see the tuna auction or else you are not really there! Here’s the fact about the tuna auction. After it became so famous, the tourists swarm just for photo opportunities or an experience of a lifetime or whatever, but the people who are there every day don’t really want to a career as a model so they limit the number of visitors in a day.
You need to line up at the “Osakana Fukyu Center” (Fish Information Center…whewwww) by 4am or earlier to apply for a visitor pass. The errrr…Fukyu center will open at 5am and give out only 120 visitor passes per day. They divide visitors into 2 groups, with only 60 people in each group. The first group will be admitted to the auction between 5:25am-5:50am, the second group will go at 5:50am-6:15am.
So, if you aren’t jet-lagged enough to go there at 4am, then don’t bother. Get some sleep and go there after the chaos has subsided after 9am. There is also an outer market, the section that is open to the public, which you can visit anytime. There are a lot of shops and restaurants too.
Here some pictures of the market. This is the first part. I’m weeding through my thousands of pictures right now. The next one will be pictures and info of foods at the market.