The Tsukiji Market

7 12 2014

I would never have done it on my own but I was asked if I wanted to join a group of friends that was going to the Tsukiji Market, the biggest wholesale market in Japan (apparently the world), known especially for its fish market and tuna auctions, right in the center of Tokyo before the crack of dawn.  I agreed because I was game for hanging out with them as well as the fact that I had never been to the market before and it is supposed to be relocating soon (though we don’t know exactly when).

The main reason for the group’s trip was to visit the tuna auction.  We agreed to meet in front of one of the gates to the market where they let in people wishing to witness the auction at 4:45 am.  I got there at 4:40 am and immediately came in contact with this guy.

What?!

What?!

There were quite a few tourists in the same situation around me.  My friends arrived soon after and we were all advised to go and enjoy sushi around the corner.  We later learned from the sushi shop we ate at that you had to start lining up at 3:30 am to make the 5:25/5:50 am auctions open to up to 60 visitors each.

The gate to the tuna auction area.

The gate to the tuna auction area.

Oh well.  We decided to walk around and explore the “outer market“, the area immediately outside the “inner” wholesale market, where retail and wholesale vendors were just starting to open shops.

The disappointed bunch.

The disappointed bunch.

IMG_9735

Near the main entrance to the "inner market" a caution sign for tourists

Near the main entrance to the “inner market” a caution sign for tourists

And we walk into the "inner" wholesale market.

And we walk into the “inner” wholesale market.

My friend Janis behind boxes of fresh "sanma" = Pacific saury.

My friend Janis behind boxes of fresh “sanma” = Pacific saury.

So much fresh wasabi!!

So much fresh wasabi!!

The sushi shop where we decided to have breakfast.  Other shops had long long lines it was going to take hours to eat.  This one was opening at 6 am and we started to line up at 5:45 am.

The sushi shop where we decided to have breakfast. Other shops had long long lines it was going to take hours before we could eat. This one was opening at 6 am and we started to line up at 5:45 am. We were kind of sad about its no-photo policy but it looked like the right kind of shop. And we were right.

Minutes before opening, the sushi "neta" is lined up.

Minutes before opening, the sushi “neta” is lined up.

"Open for business" sign displayed, we go in.  I had the best sushi ever...

“Open for business” sign displayed, we go in. I had the best sushi ever…

When we came out at about 6:40 am, a long line in front of the shop.

When we came out at about 6:40 am, a long line in front of the shop.

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