Friday, 19 February 2010

Tsukiji Fish Market

We were up earlier than usual to get down to the Tsukiji Fish Market this morning. Tsukiji is Tokyo's central wholesale fish market is probably the largest fish market in the world. Kazuya Ichiyanagi told us last night that her gets down to the market at 7am every morning to buy fresh fish for his sushi. We said there is no way we'd be helping him shop in the morning then. The wholesale tuna auction is open for tourists to take a gander at the hundreds of tuna carcasses being auctioned but it is only open from 5am to 6am. There is no fucking way you will be getting me out of bed to see a god damned frozen fish being auctioned at 5am while I'm on vacation no thank you very much. We did manage to drag ourselves out of bed to get down to the market at a more civilised 10am though. As you would expect for a place that shuts at midday almost all the fish is gone and the place is being packed away. The place is enormous. It makes Sydney's fish markets seem embarrassingly small. No wonder Kazuya smiled when we asked him if he'd been to the Sydney Fish Market. He had by he way.
The market is a hive of activity still though. People in gumboots are hosing down their stalls and fridges. Tiny little scooter sized trucks are zipping boxes and carcasses around the place. Tuna heads and fish bits are being tossed away and groups of tourists are picking their way through this confusing array of stalls trying to avoid being run over by the tiny trucks or men dragging trolleys or being splashed by bloody water.
It was still a good opportunity for snapshots and video though. In amongst the frantic packing some tuna was still being sawed up and there was still plenty of fish on display. I thought we tourists would be just in the way and be annoying to the stall holders but they would still turn there fish around for us, unasked, so that we could photograph it at a better angle. That is one of things we shall take home from Japan. Just how friendly and accommodating the people are. We think we know why the Japanese are so hung up on whaling too. One of the photos below is a box of what we think is krill. Apparently it is a bit of a delicacy and we've had it a couple times now. I say apparently a delicacy because it doesn't taste that great and you usually mix it in with rice. As I mentioned I think the problem the Japanese have with whales is they compete for the same food source - krill.
We also found the moon fish liver. It is displayed hanging from the fishes body. The photo is below in all its gory glory.
At the markets there are also a bunch of cheap sushi places. You'll find the tourists queuing up to eat at these places (see the last photo). Not us though. We've had the pick of the sushi places the previous couple of days. After a hard day dodging ice, water and trolleys we were going to go French. There are a number of good French restaurants in Tokyo. First though we went for a stroll in the park. Which is the next blog post. See you there.


  1. Where are they hiding the whale meat?

  2. Good question. I saw a doco once that said much of it is canned. I think they almost give it away as school lunches to get the kids hooked. Apparently most people don't like the taste. As far as we know we haven't seen it anywhere.