The Tokyo Fish Market is a must see destination for anyone visiting Tokyo. It is located in the special ward of Chuo, and is also known as the Tsukiji Market.
Once you enter into the labyrinth of alleys, tunnels, and throngs of people that make up the Tsukiji Market you are greeted with a cornucopia of baskets, shelves, freezers, aquariums, and styrofoam boxes filled with all manner of sea creatures.
As your visual senses become overloaded with the eclectic displays of aquatic life you begin to notice another sense overpowering your frontal lobe – the smells of ramen, oysters, sushi, dumplings, tea, Tonkatsu, curry, gyoza, and Saba Shioyaki to name a few.
The Tokyo Fish Market is a bustling industry with restaurant owners and home chefs flocking here by the hundreds of thousands to purchase seafood for the day’s menu. Your head is on a constant swivel soaking in the views and keeping out of the way of scooters, bicycles, motorized carts, trucks, and Kei cars zipping about with alarming carelessness.
The Tokyo Fish Market doesn’t just sell seafood though. There are numerous shops that carry vegetables, beef, chicken, and all sorts of kitchen ware from knives, to bowls, plates, and tea and sake sets.
Located on the edge of the fish market is the Namiyoke Inari Shrine which is where the fishermen have gone for the last 300 years to pray for the protection of the fishermen headed out to sea that day.
If you go between the hours of 9:00-11:00am you may catch the Tuna auction. I arrived after 12 so I missed it but I still got to watch them offloading some Tuna heads. The heads of the Tuna have the best meat and are quite valuable.
Once you’ve gotten your fill of seafood head over to the Hamarikyu Gardens for some peace and quiet as well as some spectacular views of the Tokyo skyline. The backdrop of the city is a unique yet stark contrast to the natural beauty of this park that is nearly 400 years old!