Tsukiji Fish Market – If Only Every City Had One

Posted By Jeremy in Asia | 4 comments

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Tsukiji Fish MarketI love seafood.  If I could afford it I would probably cook it everyday.  Tuna, scallops, shrimp, crabs, and more; it is all good.  For a seafood lover like myself, I have found quite possibly the best seafood market on the planet and it is one worth all the hype that you hear: the Tsukiji Fish Market in Tokyo, Japan.

The Largest Market I’ve Ever Seen

Tsukiji Fish Market

The Tsukiji Fish Market is famous for one of the largest tuna auctions on the planet.  Almost every single day of the year in the early hours of the morning the world’s biggest tuna fish are auctioned off to sushi purveyors from around Japan, Asia, and more.  A limited number of tickets are available to see the actual auction, and tourists are required to get there at 4:30 in the morning to score one of the limited spots for the day.  Since most metro lines don’t run that early, I decided to go later in the day, right as the market was closing.

Finding the market was relatively simple, just follow the fish smell and other tourists heading into the large creepy looking warehouse past a row of small restaurants and shops.  If there are tons of acetylene powered lift carts rolling around, you’re in the right place.  Further back is the actual market, in which the amazing catches of the day are on display and are eventually near sold out by closing time at 10:30am.

So Many Tasty Items

Tsukiji Fish Market

Now, having said that I want one, the one thing I actually would like differently is the prices.  Although I am not sure of the units they measure the cost in (per kilo, 100 grams, etc), the listed cost for any given item was significantly higher than anything I would like to purchase myself.  With it being the freshest and best seafood in the world, however, I guess you can’t expect anything otherwise.

Of the random creatures that were found in the market, only a few could be distinguished as ones I actually recognized.  Squid, eel, octopus (both living and dispatched), many kinds of tuna, jumbo tuna heads leftover from the days catch, geoduck, clams, mussels, shrimp, prawns, random fish, and more!

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Tsukiji Fish Market

It is dizzying to try and count all the unique kinds of creatures that are available for purchase.  So instead of buying some yourself, it is much easier to go to a nearby sushi restaurant and seek out some of the freshest food on your own in prices that are a bit more suitable for anyone’s budget. Those nearest to the market are the most expensive and have the longest wait, but a short walk away opens up spectacular deals. Thanks to a new friend I met at the market I ended up at Sushizanmai (a 3-story 24 hour establishment) thanks to a quick phone call to his dad and had this spectacular feast for under $30 US!


Jeremy founded Living the Dream in 2008 to chronicle his long-term trip around Asia. Since then he has been on two long-term trips, visited 68 countries, and is just getting started. He is now on a Lifestyle Design quest to build businesses to pursue a life of travel.

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  1. Speaking of craving sushi now…. you have me drooling here!

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  2. It’d be hard to explain really why “not the best”.
    Just a feeling.
    The top three sushi I have ever had are… and it’s a tie for number one!
    -At a restaurant called Hotaru in Paris! Yes, the best sushi I had was in Paris! I happen to know the chef and he’s a Japanese French (both parents are Japanese (his dad opened the very first Japanese restaurant in France), but he was born and raised in France, he then spent 10 years or so in Japan where he learned how to become a sushi chef, and his cuisine (sushi and the rest) is just divine.

    -A sushi restaurant in Takamatsu, Japan. I’ve only been three times, but it never disappointed. I think the fact that most of the fish you’ll eat was alive in a fish tank in the restaurant shortly before plays a big part in the fact that it’s so good. Fish is not caught and killed as you order, but almost, and most of the sushi you’ll eat, especially if you go when the restaurant is busy may not even go through a fridge, even less a freezer. It can’t get any fresher than that.

    -The ones I had in Tsukiji come only number three, but it was a close call. 😉

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  3. I’m curious to find out how that wasnt the best sushi you’ve ever had. Where did you go to get better sushi at? I think my plate was around $25 and worth every penny.

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  4. Mmmm… Tsukiji Sushi…
    When I visited I couldn’t believe the lines for the restaurants right next to the market (they’re actually on market grounds I think), and it was only 10.30AM.
    So like you, I went to a restaurant a bit further away, “hidden” inside a Shirasu shop.
    It was amazing, but I must admit that it was not the best sushi I have ever had (but it is definitely in the top 3) and it definitely was the most expensive (about $30 which seems to be the price of every sushi restaurant around Tsukiji).

    Now, I want sushi… 🙂

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