A morning in Tsukiji
A while ago we went to Tsukiji, currently the worlds biggest wholesale fish market. I have to say, that Tsukiji certainly has a special feel to it and it would be a shame if this experience would be lost. There are currently plans to relocate the market to a different area and only keeping the more touristy stuff at the current location. Fortunately (in my opinion) those plans are currently on hold and tourists get to explore Tsukiji some more.
Let`s start with a word about Tsukiji itself. The market is divided into an inner and an outer market. The inner market is closed to tourists in the morning hours while the outer market is already bustling with camera slinging people during the early morning hours. One of the most exiting attractions in Tsukiji is the Tuna auction at 5am in the inner market. A small amount of tourists is allowed to watch - but they are selected by a first come first serve principle and so it would be necessary to arrive at Tsukiji as early as 2am to get a chance. While we were intrigued, we decided that our beauty sleep was more important to us. Therefore we arrived when the sun was already up and first explored the outer market. The market was full of people walking around and exploring the countless small shops in the area. we also got a glimpse of the very interesting transport vehicles used by the people working there.
At 10:00 it was finally time: the inner market opened its doors to the public and we followed a stream of people inside. We already heard beforehand that the people working in Tsukiji are a little weary of tourists, since they are actually trying to conduct business, and tourists tend to stand in the way and shoot way to many pictures. So it would be nice to ask with a phrase like "Shashin mo ii desu ka?" if it was ok to take a picture (Lifting the camera and a friendly, asking smile works the same). Anyway, as a tourist you need to be prepared, that not everybody is thrilled to be photographed, simply because floods of tourists do that way to often.
After wandering through the inner market for a while, we got hungry. Being hungry and in Tsukiji really complement each other - at least if you like fish. We went to the outer market again, and went into the first Sushi place we stumbled across. The prices were really reasonable and we got the best うに (uni - sea urchin) and うなぎ (unagi - eel) we had so far. Even may more expensive places can not match the freshness you get this close to the fish market.
So, if you are ever in Tokyo and you get the chance - a visit to Tsukiji is high in my list of recommendations. If they don´t get rid of it....