Dispatches: A Taste of Tsukiji
Wow. I was very bummed to hear that. The 80 year old Tsukiji fish market is such an iconic location in Tokyo. A tourist destination, yes, but a thriving, everyday working market that has 2,000 tons of seafood pass through it’s stalls every day.
I had the opportunity to visit Tsukiji back in 2010 when I was on a business trip/photo shoot in Tokyo. When I first heard about this operation, I knew I wanted to see it live and in person. But you have to get up early as it closes by late morning, early afternoon. It was up to our Tokyo-based fixer, Rico, to get us there. First stop, the Tokyo subway.
Rico’s help was priceless in navigating the subway and about 30 minutes later, we found ourselves at the market. It was just after 7, and it was bustling.
We got there too late to see the famed tuna auctions, but we still found plenty to see and experience. Aisle after aisle, stall after stall, sea creature after sea creature. It was a seafood lovers paradise and photographer’s dream.
I was just amazed at how big the place was, and how much there was to see.
And while there was a bit of a language barrier, we were still able to have some good conversations with the fishmongers. This gent was was especially friendly.
The Tsukiji market isn’t JUST fish, though. Also part of it is a thriving marketplace where you can pick up basically anything you can imagine. But the cutlery that you can buy here is some of the finest in the world. I debated long and hard about getting a knife for my kitchen and shipping it back. Never did though.
After spending a couple of hours wandering around Tsukiji, the real payoff happened. Rico took us to this tiny little place where, at about 9:30 in the morning, we had some of the freshest, tastiest sushi can you image.
If you get the chance to see it in it’s current state, I highly recommend the experience. You’ll see things – monsters of the deep – that you may never get the chance to see anyplace else. And meet some great people in the process.
I wish I could get back to the Tsukiji Market before it moves but it’s highly unlikely. Still, I’ll always remember the sights and, yes, the smells, of this iconic place.
For a little more of a taste of Tsukiji, watch this short video I shot.
© Mark V. Krajnak | JerseyStyle Photography | All Rights Reserved 2014