Posted by: jyunbugspeaks | June 25, 2013

The World’s Largest Fish Market: Welcome to Tsukiji

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Ever wonder what goes on at a fish market? How about the world’s largest? I sure didn’t but I 20130623-014555.jpgkept reading about it in several travel guides so my curiosity got the better of me. However before I went I did some research on the Net and checked out some interesting documentaries about the Tokyo Metropolitan Central Wholesale Market or The Tsukiji Fish Market as the locals call it. This massive market that was built in 1923 after The Great Kanto earthquake leveled the Nihonbashi fishmarket and relocated to the Tsukiji district. The unique complex houses an inner market (jonai shijo) which is the licenced wholesale market, auction area and where the general chaos happens. The outer market (jogai-shijo) has many retail shops that sell everything from bamboo kitchen utensils to groceries to exotic teas. Also located in this area are the tiny food stalls that are famous for their “sushi breakfast”. I’ll get to my experience on that later on in this post but first…

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The market opens at 3am and the seafood starts arriving from around the world by boat, train, truck and airplane and does not let up until 9 or 10am. I was told that if you arrive at 5am a select few could witness the live auction that takes place in the inner market. Normally this area is off limits to tourists as they generally tend to get in the way ofIMG_0652 some serious bidding and have over the years become a nuisance to the merchants. Bids for the 300 Ibs tuna can go high and hard and I guess having screaming kids, flashing bulbs going off and chatter can be annoying. I forgoed this opportunity as I could not get my ass out of bed earlier IMG_0627than 8am so I managed to explore the place well after the chaos had ended. Still there was plenty to snap pictures of and I did get to speak to some exhausted merchants and fishermen (in Japanese as no one speaks any english at these places). They told me that they have traded their wares for years at this location but soon this whole operation will move to Toyosu, Koto as this market sits on some pretty expensive property and the Japanes government wants to use this land for other purposes. Construction is scheduled to be complete by 2014. Well at least I got a chance to check this place out before it moved on as it has some great history and no doubt has been an thriving part of the Japanese culture.IMG_0614

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After touring the place and getting thoroughly saturated in fish guts and sea water we decided to head out to the outer market to try the famous “sushi breakfast” at one of those tiny food stalls. Which one to choose from? They’re so many…well we used my gf’s simple technique of looking for the biggest line as usually those don’t disappoint (usually…flashes of the Gundam Cafe fiasco started to pop into my head). Luckily for us IMG_0636this super tiny restaurant with a gigantic lineup did not disappoint. The menu was pretty simple as they had about 12 items which consisted of various combinations of ultra fresh toro (that’s tuna), sake (that’s salmon), uni (yellow guts of the prickly sea urchin), yellow tail, fresh raw oysters and deep fried jumbo prawns. I chose the salmon and uni combo and my gf got the salmon and tuna combo and we also ordered 2 jumbo prawns. The presenation was very pretty andIMG_0739 the sashimi cuts of the seafood were amazing. So fresh with a hint of sea water but the best thing was the jumbo prawns. Lightly breaded in japanese panko bread crumbs and gently fried in oil, these plump babies were the best deep fried shrimp I have ever tasted…period. I would easily grab those again if I ever come back there! Oh on a side note, a very humorous thing happened at the restaurant. A couple of Korean tourists ordered the raw oysters but I guess one of them never anticipated the texture in their mouth because he suddenly bolted from his seat and took off outside with his mouth covered and never returned. Smiling awkwardly his buddy caually paid the bill and walked out looking for him. Good thing we didn’t order the oysters as they were humongus and I could see myself gaging on them too.

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Traditional sushi breakfast

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Biggest prawns I’ve ever ate.

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After gorging on seafood and barely hitting the noon hour we decided to look around at the local shops for a bit and then head out to Ginza for some afternoon tea and cake. Japan has become famous for their killer pasteries and my girlfriend was dying to try some of them. I have to admit they were quite good and can be additive. Everything the Japanese make seems to be cute, pretty and very delicious. Let’s just say we eat our fair share and then some! Here is a small sample of what we ate during our trip…please don’t judge as we couldn’t help ourselves….

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Honey Brick Toast Japanese style!

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Up next, my two day unbelievable excursion via Japan Rail to Osaka and Kyoto where I was luckily enough to witness the cherry blossom again!

Please let me know what your thoughts are on this and any other blog post on my site! Any feed back would be much appreciated.

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Responses

  1. No judgement…just in jealous awe of the montage of cake pictures, haha. Tsukiji is one of the top places on our list of ‘must-do’ in Asia. Fingers crossed we make it there before long! Nice work 🙂

    • I hope you guys make it there and Japan. The fish market is awesome but the cakes…those pretty pretty cakes are well worth the trip lol.

    • Actually from HK its a short trip. We did a 3 day excursion for pretty cheap and you can stuff yourself pretty good in 3 days!

    • Haha yes we went a little overboard with the cakes but they were so gooood! I hope you guys do make it to the Tsukiji fish market. It’s an awesome place!


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