Visiting Tsukiji Fish market is a must. It is the biggest, busiest fish market in the world and it is known for tuna auctions.
The tour is not that easy to take. Before you get to the market, you have to overcome some inconveniences like, for example, waking up at 4 AM, taking a cab in the middle of a night and hoping you won’t get lost and appear on time before the other tourist will, since admission to the place is very limited.
Well.. it was our very first night in Japan, so we had a jet lag and getting up early was not a problem. Neither was catching a taxi. Trying to explain an old Japanese driver the directions to the market was thought, but still manageable. A real problem happened when we arrived at the place, which appeared to be a huge, busy area and we had no idea which direction to take to get to the tuna auction hall. Thanks to one spontaneous fisherman, who gave us a ride on his ‘turret truck’, we managed to be in time.
First, you need to fill out a form. Second, the staff gathers tourists in a cold room with old tv screeners and plays a video with emergency rules and lots of things not to do 😉 For example:
- do not use camera flash
- do not shout
- follow your guide
- never ever cross lanes separating tourists from real fishermen work.
The tour takes less than half an hour and you head directly to the auction hall. It is very cold and loudly there. Huge frozen tunas lie divided in groups on the floor where buyers can check quality of meat. Once an auctioneer comes, they gather in front of him and bid for chosen tuna.
After the tour we decided to visit the port since the fish market wasn’t open for retailers before 8AM. But it’s well worth waiting. I have never seen so much fish and seafood in my life 😉
Once we had enough of fishy smell and crowded wet alleys, our next stop was bar area where fresh Maguro (tuna) sushi is served. I’m not an expert, but I must admit, it was the most delicate and soft meat I’ve ever tried. It was one of these moments and tastes that stay in your memory for a very long time, and so does this raw and ugly piece of octopus sushi we couldn’t finish and chewed for some time even after getting out a bar. Bleh..
This was the best and truest Japanese day. Recommend it to everyone as a number one experience in Tokyo.