Tsukiji is the world’s largest fish market – 10x the size of its nearest competitor. This had to be a stop on my trip in Tokyo. Tourists are tolerated but it’s a stressful time – narrow aisles, slippery floors, packed crowds of busy shoppers, and motorized vehicles that are aiming for you from every direction – you have to be alert. And mindful that these people scurrying around are trying to make a living, many owners of small mom and pop shops across Tokyo.
Most of the fish is housed under one gigantic roof that runs seemingly forever. There are hundreds (thousands?) of stalls, most themselves mom and pop operations, that have about 100-150 sqft of “retail” space; and a very tiny office, usually large enough for just a chair and a cash register. The stalls and aisles are generally organized by type of seafood.
You will obviously see a lot of blood and death – not to mention corpses being hacked by knife and power saws. The seafood runs the entire gamut of possibilities – from the familiar to monstrosities straight out of 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea. It is fascinating to think of all the permutations of shrimp and fish – and it certainly provides ample excuse for repeat trips to Tokyo sushi spots.