The world's biggest and busiest fish market was moved to from Nihonbashi to Tsukiji after the Great Kanto Earthquake of 1923, and part of it occupies the site of what was once Japan's first naval training academy. Today the market sprawls over some 54 acres of reclaimed land and employs approximately 15,000 people. Its warren of buildings houses about 1,200 vendors, supplying 90% of the seafood (and some of the vegetables, meat, and fruit) consumed in Tokyo every day—some
2,000 metric tons of it. Most of the seafood sold in Tsukiji comes in by truck, arriving through the night from fishing ports all over the country. A big attraction for tourists is the early-morining tuna auction. Limited to 120 visitors a day, people line up in front of the Fish Information Center well before it opens at 5 a.m.
Sep 5, 2006
You'll be seeing lots of shrines and temples during your visit to Japan ... here is the chance to do something very different. Make sure you get there at 5 AM or shortly after in order to view the auctions and to see the day's catches - then watch the catch cut up and distributed. Name the seafood and you will find it here. The place is immense. In fact, go there on your first day if you fly into Tokyo from the states - it will feel about 5-8
PM !! Yes, you'll have to take a taxi there because the subways aren't running that early, but it will be truly a unique, fascinating, and rewarding experience. I found the workers to be captivating and surprisingly quite tolerant of tourists. Many of the workers enjoyed having their pictures taken. Avoid sandals and even running/tennis shoes because of the wet floors.