Tokyo’s Tsukiji Fish Market is sometimes called the “Wall Street of fish.”
Everyday, fishermen, wholesalers, and the owners of Japan’s top sushi restaurants gather to buy and sell more than $21 million of the freshest fish in the world.
In recent decades, the market has unexpectedly become one of Japan’s top tourists attractions. Thousands come to try to get a glimpse of the market’s world-famous tuna auction, where a single tuna once sold for $1.76 million.
But time is running out to see the market. In October, the market will move from its original location in central Tokyo to a new $5.42 billion site east with improved refrigeration, earthquake resistance, and sanitation facilities.
We took a walk through before dawn — when it’s off-limits to tourists — to see what the Tsukiji Market is like in action.
The Tsukiji Fish Market is located in the Tsukiji district in central Tokyo. It is bordered by the swanky shopping district Ginza and the Sumida River.
The best time to visit is before sunrise when fishermen are bringing in their catch and fishmongers are preparing fish for sale.
There are two parts to the market. The jōgai-shijō is a mix of sushi restaurants and shops that sell everything from wholesale restaurant supplies to groceries. The jōnai-shijō is where wholesalers process their fish and sell to restaurants. There’s also a wholesale produce market, which is the part I visited.