In Japan (Week 2): Monday

Tsukiji fish Market

Located at the center of Tokyo, Tsukuji fish market is one of the largest fish markets in the world. It used to be a train station and is the most famous of over ten wholesale markets that handle the distribution of marine products, fruits and vegetables in central Tokyo. The market is mainly made up of inner market and outer market. Wholesale market is in the inner market, and we thought that is the most amazing part of Tsukiji. Hundreds of wholesale fish shops are well organized in different alleys. Most of the shops are run on a family basis and they open early in the morning around 4am and end around noon. There are plenty of marine products that are displayed in front of the shop, and some of them are unique from deep Japanese sea. With the dim light, it is more like a discovery journey of deep sea fishes rather than a tour of a fish market. Every shop has two floors where the second floor is used to be the home for the family. They work very hard to ensure the high quality of marine products. Another thing we noticed is that workers use every part of the fish – meat is cut for sale and the bone and head are used later as fertilizer for rice farms. This really shows one philosophy of Japanese life – a great appreciation of food. We didn’t have a chance to watch the famous tuna auction in inner market, but it is a unique experience to see how it works. Our tour guide told us the tuna price in the Tsukiji market has a big influence on the daily tuna price in Tokyo. Next time you want to watch it, get up early and be there around 3am!


The outer market has many retailers of marine related products (fresh or dry), plenty of restaurants and souvenir stores. It is crowed but also alive. You can eat the freshest sushi in the traditional street restaurants that have been operating for over 50 years. You can also buy some dried marine products that are not expensive and you probably can never find them in other places. Overall, the vivid Tsukiji market showed us the why Japanese love fish so much and how they appreciate the food source from the seas.