When a fish market is listed as number one on numerous lists about a city, your trip can either go one of two ways. On the one hand, it could be because there’s not much going on, but on the other hand, it could be because you’re in Tokyo, and you’re about to witness the craziness of Tsukiji!

We set off early in the morning with hopes of getting shoved into a metro by a white-gloved man, but sadly our route was fairly quiet. Still, it meant we arrived unruffled to enjoy the onslaught of the world’s largest fish market.

Tsukiji fish market has stood on its current spot since 1935, although it is scheduled to move to a new home in November 2016, not least because the current infrastructure can’t really handle the number of tourists streaming in every day.

Tsukiji Fish Market
Tsukiji Fish Market
Tsukiji Fish Market

An Early Start

If you arrive at the market early enough, you might make it into the tuna auctions, perennial favourite of the jet-lagged. There are two admissions of 60 people, one at 5.25 and one at 5.50, but be warned that queues start forming well before 5am.

If you’re a lazy-bones like me, you can still enjoy the buzz of the normal market, which is open from 9am every day. Since business closes up for the day around 11am, you’ll want to get there as close to 9 as possible. Upon arrival, you’ll receive a map to help you understand which areas you can and can’t enter – this is a working market with fork-lift trucks whizzing around, so some areas are not safe for visitors. You’ll also need to wear closed toe shoes and watch where you step.

Tsukiji Fish Market
Tsukiji Fish Market
Tsukiji Fish Market

The market is large and fascinating, with a frenetic pace, which made it a really interesting place to walk around. It was a fantastic opportunity to watch people going about their business.

Breakfast of Champions

After the main market, the outer market was a bit of a relief – shops selling food related products, as well as restaurants offering sushi breakfasts were the order of the day here. After a bit of a wander, we were drawn into one place by a chatty waiter who spoke excellent English, and was just generally awesome. He explained all the dishes to us, offered to swap things around and settled us at his bar with a Japanese couple.

I ended up going for a combination of normal tuna, mashed tuna with spring onions and marinated tuna with rice – delicious, but I’m not sure it’s something I could eat for breakfast every day!

Tsukiji Fish Market
Tsukiji Fish Market
Tsukiji Fish Market

What is your favourite market experience?