Why would you want to go to a Fish Market? Well, it’s the biggest in the world and a very unique experience! First there is the danger and excitement of entering the market without getting run over by the constant stream of forklifts, trucks, scooters, heavy equipment, and then rows of tiny restaurants serving up fresh seafood, and the list goes on.
Unfortunately, possibly the most interesting aspect of the experience is going to take some effort to see. You'll have to wake up in the wee hours of the morning depending on where you live in order to attend. First you must line up at the Osakana Fukyu Center (Fish Information Center) at the Kachidoki Gate to apply for a visitor pass to attend the auctions. Count on visitors lining up before hand; in order to play it completely safe you would want to be at Tsukiji by 4:00 so you can get a spot in line as it is first come first serve for the first one hundred and forty visitors. Between 5:00 and 5:40 the first seventy visitors will be admitted, and then at 5:40 and 6:15 the last seventy will be admitted. The tuna auctions are held between 5:00am and 6:15am. They are held every day but Sunday.
Visitors are permitted to browse the wholesale area no early than 9:00am. There is no signing in or line as in the Tuna Auctions. Thousands of merchants and buyers from all over the bay come to do business here, selling all manner of sea products in hundreds of shops.
Six rows of restaurants and shops are crammed into the Tsukiji complex, offering anything from fresh sushi right off the boat, to razor sharp knives and fish hooks. The shops themselves are tiny, enough room for a few seats and a kitchen. Most of the food prep and washing is done out the back side of the restaurant, in the opposite alley. This way you get the curiosity of walking down a row of store fronts, and on the next row its all 'store backs' where you can see the inner workings of the shop; staff knelt down on the ground scrubbing pots and dishes, putting garnishes on a plate of sushi, or yelling back orders to each other.
Guided tours are available for those who want one, at a price of $50 USD per group
Hibiya Subway line - Tsukiji Station
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