This week is Japan week on travelmagnolia. Starting off with Tokyo’s Tsukiji Market – a MUST SEE and you only have a little more than a year before this iconic institution leaves central Tokyo and everything changes. A visit here is not for the faint-hearted and requires advance planning.
While it is possible to tour the stalls and small restaurants in the surrounding areas on one’s own, for a once-in-a-lifetime experience, find a way to see the actual auction that takes place most days around 5:30 a.m. when over 2000 TONS of tuna are sold.
Tickets are available at the Osakana Fukyu Center (Fish Information Center) at the Kachidoki Gate, starting from 5:00 am and lines form as early as 3:30 am (if you go on the first morning, you will be jet-lagged anyway!) and are limited to 120 people per day. It is worth checking with your travel agent or hotel concierge well in advance to see if they can assist you with the process.
Visitors are not allowed in the wholesale market area before 9:00 a.m., when most of the action is over. Be aware that many tours only include either the outer market, or take place later in the morning.
Unfortunately, photography is absolutely forbidden, so I had to resort to stealth iPhone shots. You can only imagine the scene in full swing – some much better (officially sanctioned) photos and more information here: Japan Guide.
Now if they could only figure out a styrofoam substitute…it’s a little overwhelming to think about where it all goes (since it never decomposes).