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Tsukiji Market

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Tsukiji Market - The biggest fish market (August 2009)

Tuna auction

The Tokyo Metropolitan Central Wholesale Market, commonly known as the Tsukiji Market,
is the biggest wholesale fish and seafood market in the world
and also one of the largest wholesale food markets of any kind.
Many visitors from China, Singapore, Philippines and many other countries in Asia
come to the market to experience this unique Japanese tradition.
Many major Tokyo hotels offer translator services and travel guides for International travelers.

Tsukiji Market
is only a few blocks from the famous shpping area, Ginza.
There is Japan's biggest and maybe world biggest fish market.
The area is 230,000 sq.m. 5 times larger than Tokyo Dome (baseball stadium).

This is the main entrance of Tsukiji Market.

entrance of Tsukiji market

You can enter freely but you need a previous registration if you are a big group.
And please remind several things before you go.
- Closed on Sunday, National holidays and some other days.
- Be careful of the small cart called 'turret'.
- Floor is wet and your clothes might get dirty.
- No flash when you take a picture. No touch to the fish.
- Little chilly in tuna auction area.

If you want to see the 'Tuna Auction', you have to go very early in the morning.
You can enter the auction area between 5:00 to 6:15 am.
You can see the preparation from 5:00.

The auction which you can see is 'Frozen tuna'.
Some papers are on the fish which indicate the weight, origin, etc.
The man is painting the number with red food coloring.

numbering on the tuna

The tale is cut and part of the fish body is also cut for the examination.
The middlemen (intermediate wholesalers) examine the quality and predict the price.

cut talewholesaler checking the tuna

Then the auction starts around 5:30 am.
The auctionner rings the bell to notify the beginning of the auction.
Then auction starts.


He spoke very fast and use special terms.
And middlemen indicate the bid price with their fingers.
So, it is almost impossible to understand what is going on even for Japanese visitors!

The price of one tuna fish can be more than 1 million yen (100,000 USD),
but it takes only several seconds to finish one deal!
Isn't it incredible?

After the deal has done, transporter called 'Karuko' brings tuna with the cart 'Turret' or handbarrow.


The sold tuna will be brought to the middlemen's stalls in the marketplace.
There, the tuna will be cut into small pieces and sold to the retailers and sushi shops, etc.
There are about 900 stalls in the property of marketplace (called 'Jonaishijo')

The aisle is very narrow, so please be careful of yourself and also not to bother middlemen.

middlemen's stallsmiddlemen's stalls

It is not only the fish which is sold in Tsukiji Market, but also vegetables.

vegetable market in Tsukijivegetable market in Tsukiji

Also there are shops and restaurant in the marketplace.

There are also many shops just outside of the marketplace which is called 'Jogaishijo'.
They sell the products both to the retailers and individual visitors.


There, you can buy the products and you can taste the fresh sea food.
Most of the restaurants are small and not beautiful.
If you find beautiful big restaurant, it probably is a newly opened chain restaurant.
Check out Tsukiji Market and have some fresh sea food when you stay hotel in Tokyo.


Just next to the Tsukiji Market, there is Namiyoke Jinja Shrine.
In the precinct, there is a monuments 'Sushi-zuka', 'Ebi-zuka' and so on to express the gratitude to the sea creatures

Namiyoke Jinja Shrine

If you plan to visit Tsukiji Market, you shoud go with a guide. Or you should study beforehand,
because the market is not well organized for the visitors, and system and location are very complicated.
But of course it is very interesting place for the foreing visitors to understand one of the various aspects of Japan.

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