The Tsukiji Fish Market

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The other day I pulled myself out of bed at 5am to go see the action at Tokyo's infamous Tsukiji fish market. This is a massive hub in the city, the arrival/distribution point for almost all of Tokyo's fish. With 32+ million people who love their fish, it's hard to imagine just how much seafood must flow through there on a daily basis.

To give an idea of the size of this market... from wikipedia:

Tsukiji alone handles over 2000 metric tons of seafood per day. The number of registered employees varies from 60,000 to 65,000...

I had a pretty good idea of what it was going to be like before I arrived. However, it was /nothing/ like what I thought it would be. I took a few photos and videos but was never able to come close to capturing the vibe and manic-ness of the place. I thought I'd be able to stand back and just take in the craziness, but I just got swept up into it. There were very few times I was able to just stop and take a breath and grab a few photos... anytime I stopped moving I risked being run over by one of the hundreds of little flat bed electric cars speeding around the market.

While I was there I got yelled at, almost run over by three electric cars, nearly had a bucket of fish guts spilled over the lower half of my body, and pushed out of the way. My adrenaline was about five notches higher than normal and most of the time I was just focused on how to stay out of everyone's way and let them go about their work while I snapped a few shots. If felt similar to my first day on working on a construction site, but better, since I didn't actually have to do any real work.

What I found the most impressive was the dynamic and the vibe in the market. I arrived at 5:45am at which time there were only a few tourists around. Each area of the market was quite different, it transitioned between the raw fish, fresh from the boat, to the market stalls that were gutting and prepping the fish, to the small shops and sushi places just outside the market who were selling it for breakfast straight from the market. A large amount of the imported produce seems to come through this port as well. This was the beginning of the process of the food being distributed all the way down to the supermarkets and restaurants throughout the city, it was really interesting to take in the very start of it all.

I was really glad I got up early to head over there (most of the action happens between 5am -> 6:15am), because by the I left at around 7am, tourists were arriving in droves. Dang tourists! (My photoset from the market is here.)