This week’s Photo Friday topic (#FriFotos on Twitter) is EXOTIC. I immediately started thinking of all the exotic fish species I saw at the Tsukiji Fish Market in Tokyo, the biggest wholesale fish and seafood market in the world.
I went through the market with Shinji Nohara, the Tokyo food fixer. He’s guided some illustrious names in the travel/foodie world, including Anthony Bourdain, Alan Richman and Adam Platt. He got me through an AMAZING sushi breakfast at 5 a.m., but more on that later.
I didn’t get to see the famed tuna auction because it’s off-limits to tourists between Dec. 1 and Jan. 22, the busiest time of the year. Even when the auction is open, you need to plan ahead; only 120 people are allowed in per day. You apply at the Osakana Fukyu Center (Fish Information Center) at the Kachidoki Gate, starting at 5 a.m. on a first-come, first-serve basis.
I saw only a handful of other tourists when I walked around the market with Shinji. No matter, I was too busy checking out all the different and unusual species. The market handles more than 400 types of edible sea life, from seaweed to monster tuna to geoduck to things that I found unidentifiable.
The sheer volume is also staggering. Shinji told me that about 200,000 tons of fish move through the market every day.
If you’re going to Tokyo, don’t let the early wakeup call deter you from visiting Tsukiji Fish Market. It’s one of the city’s most famous tourist attractions for a reason. And who knows, maybe it will inspire you to try a variety of seafood that you’ve never had before.
My trip to Japan was sponsored by several hotels and government organizations, but my opinions remain my own.
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