Monday, 20 December 2010

Tsukiji Fish Market, Tokyo - the eighth wonder of the world

Welcome to Tsukiji, the world's greatest fish market. Although market is probably the wrong word - this place is nothing short of a wonder (next to Tsukiji, Machu Picchu is a mound of bricks on a hill, etc). 

The 57 acre site is a city of seafood, where over 2,000 tonnes of the stuff is displayed and shifted each day - that's over 700,000 tonnes a year across more than 1,500 stalls. Over 60,000 people call Tsukiji their place of work, and very few of them can ever claim to have a dull day. 

That's because Tsukiji is an explosion of vivid colour, clattering sound and heady ocean scents that grabs all of your senses at once, shakes them up in a giant conch shell, tips them into a polystyrene box full of ice and sells them to a sushi chef. 

Pull on some shoes that you no longer love, and come wade through the fish guts, as we tour the myriad bonkers sights of Tsukiji.

Baby squid taking a nice bath with some ice cubes and some black ink.

Eels do it in blood-sullied water.

 Huge octopi brazenly showing off their tentacles.

More cephalopods than you can shake a squid at.

When the going gets weird, the 'geoduck' turns pro.

The Tsukiji barbershop singing troupe turns up for morning practice. 

'Salmon in a box' doesn't quite do this pic justice, does it?

"I'm sure I left a white polystyrene box around here somewhere."

Pfffft...your guess is as good as mine.

"Hey, I can see your brain from here."

For the life of them, Toshiro and Dave couldn't work out where the fishy smell was coming from.

There's nothing better than a bucket of eels, is there?

"One day I'm gonna get me an R2D2 unit like Haruki's."

Three men, an ancient looking cart, and a ready-made photo opportunity.

"Mom, which knife should I use to disembowel the nosey Englishman?"

Don't you just hate it when a prawn burrows into your neck?

"Aren't you glad you're not us?"

If you don't want to know what they did with this blood-soaked chopping board, razor-sharp knife and bit of bent coat hanger, don't look below.

It's a cruel world ain't it?


  1. Your last label says it all really. What an incredible experience. Did you eat anything fishy after the visit?

  2. Of course I ate something afterwards - I was ravenous! It's coming up soon on the blog.

  3. amazing! have to visit next time. at what time did you go? and what did you eat?

  4. I stayed up all night and got to the tuna auctions at around 4.30am to queue up (will blog about that soon). Then some restaurants opened up around 6.30-7am for stunningly fresh sashimi, which, of course, I had to queue up for. It was worth it.

  5. Hey James

    Firstly, loved your Tsukiji post. I went in July of 2008 and LOVED Tokyo. Made all that more exciting by an earthquake while I was there.

    I'm going to be in Dubai for work Feb 4th - Feb 11th. I run a similar type of blog now in Chicago (formerly London). Would you be interested in getting together at all? Would love to experience Dubai food through the eyes of a local. I was in Dubai last Jan but probably did more drinking than eating.

    I just followed you on Twitter. I'm @kristainchicago. Also, you can contact me via my blog.

    Thanks in advance, and happy eating!

  6. Amazing pics with award-winning captions. Looking forward to reading about the meals.

  7. That's very kind of you to say so, Tara, thanks. Will update when I have a chance - too bloomin' busy at the moment.

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