There is no way on earth I’m getting up at 3:30am to stand outside a fish market for a few hours in the freezing cold just to see some tuna getting sold! I’ve been through a few commercial fish markets over the years and I doubt this one will be all that different, it’ll all be in Japanese. I’m sure many disagree but for me this experience is not worth the 3:30am wake up.
The buildings that make up part of the drawcard to Tsukiji fish market are open to the public from early on, I arrived a little before 8am and already plenty of ready to eat food was available, with more vendors opening as I walked around, peering at things and stuff. There was plenty to look at, the cool fish motifs on buildings, on roller shutters, posters and flags, the people here seem like interesting people and the hidden views tucked away in the corners are easy to find if you explore, above the electrical cables strewn between buildings look like liquorice strips in the sky.
The ready to eat food offer was quite varied, with a great mix of stalls offering food to eat on the hoof, think fried things as well as the expected sushi, sashimi and fish, there are casual joints, super casual joints and the occasional, slightly classier restaurants. Many of the venues had queues from early on, some filled with business men before the head to work. The sushi bar where we had breakfast was teeming with suits on the first lap around the market buildings, enjoying the tasty made to order sushi before work.
Obviously there was fish here, fresh fish, frozen fish, live prawns and crustacea and the odd live fish too, not just in the tanks of the posher restaurants. Some of the fish is trimmed, some portioned some just lying around on ice. The dry fish stalls are similar to many that you can find in Asia, with an impressive and unrivalled range of dried seaweed available too. The stuffed animals decorating the dried fish shops was weird, like a small natural history museum, with dried scallops.
I do need to return to the Tsukiji market on another day, as the main wholesale and smaller fish market that I’m happy to visit after 10am when they open to the public was closed on my first visit. I hadn’t checked that it would be open on the Wednesday I was planning to visit, I assumed it would be open, woops. Damned Wednesdays didn’t contemplate that this would be a day to close. Not that I really mind, another opportunity to eat some more freshly prepared sushi will not be unwelcome.