Tsukiji Fish Market

I visited the famous Tsukiji fish market on Friday May 2nd. Here’s what I did, with my recommendations for how to do it better / improve (if you need any external validation, just ask becca plofker):

  • 5:17am – Wake up and throw on some deodorant, sneakers, and clothes. Make sure you wear shoes that aren’t slippery. The ground will be wet and you don’t want to slip and fall into some fish tank.
  • 5:25am – Walk to the fish market from my hotel in Ginza.
  • 5:35am – Meandered through the fish market, getting lost along the way. Finally stumbled upon the frozen fish auction in the back right side of the complex. I watched them auction off thousands of dollars of frozen fish.
  • 6:00am – Watch them take the fish from the floor of the auction and put them onto carts. They simply drag the fish along the ground with a crowbar. Not the most appetizing sight.

  • 6:05am – Walk through the rest of the market where vendors are selling the food that has been unloaded in the middle of the night. Every kind of edible animal that comes from the sea is being sold here. They were gutting fish, packaging it into resealable containers, and then selling it to Sushi chefs right in front of me. In the video below, I was afraid I would piss off the guy with the huge knife. In my imagination, he took the bigger knife / sword and chopped me in half. Luckily, that didn’t happen.

  • 6:35am – Walk to the restaurant alley to grab some sushi for breakfast. There were already a bunch of people in line at different sushi restaurants. I hadn’t done my homework about which restaurant I wanted to go to, but I figured that they all have access to the same extremely fresh fish and that I wouldn’t miss out. I was not disappointed.
  • 7:15am – Go back to the hotel, shower, and head to work. Not a bad start to the day.

It was an interesting experience for a bunch of different reasons. I have never spent that much time on a farm, so I’m not used to seeing my food in its original form before I eat it. There’s also a weird dynamic between the Japanese workers in the market and the loads of tourists staring at them with their mouths agape. It’s obvious that while you’re allowed to watch the circus that unfolds in the market, you shouldn’t be seen, heard, or get in the way of anyone. Workers drive around on carts that have a rotating wheel in the front, and they would no qualms about running you over. Seriously.

I think I timed it pretty well, but I think I could have gotten there earlier and spent more time walking around and enjoying the sights. I uploaded my photos from the entire morning earlier today. They had some funky looking fish on sale.


  1. Yessss!! Fish market!!

  2. well done sir. A complete Tsukiji experience, and all before a days work. nothing babyish about that.

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