Tsukiji Fish Market

The most famous fish market in the world. Located on the lower-east side of Tokyo, this is where all of the deep sea fishermen return and unload their haul. Sales start at the crack of dawn. The place is bustling at 4:30am, and by noon everything is being washed down and cleaned for the next day. Men appointed by chefs from the top sushi restaurants in the world are there making  purchases, which can often come to thousands of dollars. Life there is incredible.

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Fish are loaded and driven around on these electric carts. Workers fly around the bay on these machines, smoking cigarettes and lifting hundreds of styrofoam boxes around as the sun comes up and begins the new day. Their work is very tough and must be done quickly. The tourists peppered throughout their workspace is often a nuisance, which is tolerated, but by no means welcomed with smiles and open arms. You can sense though that they all have a certain degree of pride and honor to work in such a famed place. They are the best, they know this, and the fact that travelers from across the world are willing to wake up before the sun rises just to see them work is a daily reminder of this.  One just has to show respect and stay out of their way.

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The highest peak of the entire market: the tuna sales. Its incredible to see how big these creatures are in real life. One of the days I was there, the most expensive tuna sale that has ever been conducted took place. The tuna sold for 155.4 million yen (roughly 1.8 million dollars). The sales start at 4:30 AM and are over by 5:00.

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The “intermediate market,” where literally hundreds of species of various sea creatures are up for sale.

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Professionals.

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fresh wasabi

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Perhaps the best sushi knives in the world. This company is hundreds of years old and used to make swords for the samurai in Kyoto.

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Cutting a tuna with a jigsaw. When the tuna are caught, they are immediately thrown into a deep freeze a hundred degrees or so below zero to preserve their freshness.

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Tsukiji sushi. Easily the best on the planet.

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2 thoughts on “Tsukiji Fish Market

    • Jones, I was hoping to tell you about this market in person. The whole time I was there, I kept thinking back to trunks and I knew in a way what their work was like. Basically trunks with fish instead of duffs.

      Now, imagine working your ass of in the warehouse in Jersey waiting for a truck to arrive, when a bus pulls in. Out of the bus Japanese tourists begin to file out. They enter the warehouse, start wandering around the piles looking at tags and feeling the duffs, taking pictures of all the warehouse guys as they work.

      Tsukiji….Maybe not that extreme, but that’s the image that kept coming to mind.

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