Monday, 28 January 2008

Tokyo's Tsukiji Fish Market

Ever since we decided to spend three days in Tokyo on the way Down Under, it was clear that we'd have to visit the world's biggest fish market. Many years ago I had seen a documentary about the famous tuna auctions at the crack of dawn - and it became one of the many myths shaping my image of Japan.

Anything fished out of the sea seems to transit via Tsukiji before turning up on a sashimi platter...

Tsukiji Fish Market Tokyo
Video sent by petitesetgrandesaventures

Audio Slide Show of Tokyo's Tsukiji Fish Market


So, day 3 in Tokyo we woke up at 4.00 am to make it on time to bid for an 800 kilo tuna. There are auctions for fresh tuna and auctions for frozen tuna. The tuna come from all over the world. On this morning there were fish from Mexico, South Africa, Italy, Spain, Australia and of course Japan...

The auctions start at 5.30 am with the ringing of bells. Most tuna weigh a few hundred kilos, but some can reach 800 kilos -- and can set you back up to 2,000,000 Yen. Each auctioneer has his own sing song pattern and quickly works through the various lines of tuna. Spotters scribble down the winning bids and look out for the hand signals of the buyers.

After sneaking through the live auction, we wandered around the outer market photographing the staggering shapes and colours of fish and worked up an appetite. So, shortly past six, we cued in front of the famous Daiwa - we were told it's the best place for an early morning Sushi breakfast. Undoubtedly a perfect way to end our little Fish Market adventure.

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