We got up super early – 2 a.m.
Got ready, had a small bite to eat, hopped into taxi; on our way to see the world’s largest fish market – Tsukiji.
Even though Tokyo streets were deserted this time of the morning, it took 45 minutes to get there.
Once there it was a two-hour wait, standing in an already waiting line, to ensure we got into the market for its opening at 5 a.m.
Tsukiji, sells about $20 million of seafood daily, the equivalent of 3.6 million pounds. The fish comes from all over the world and as many as 480 species of fish are brought in.
The 900 fish dealers buy and sell the fish all over the world. A total of 60,000 to 65,000 people work there.
The market is best known for its tuna auction.
Record prices are paid for tuna. At one auction a 612 pound blue fin (the best you can have) tuna sold for more than $4 million.
The market consists of two areas – the inner market where the fish is sold and bought, and the outer market, where endless streets are dotted with restaurants and shops.
After the market we ended up at a great restaurant at 7 a.m. We feasted on the freshest sushi and sashimi, straight from the market. Eating fresh fish early in the morning is not unusual in Japan, especially in this area. Restaurants here open at 5 a.m. and close by 11 a.m.
And even though the shops and restaurants are still open, Tsukiji was shut down in 2018 and replaced by the Toyosu Market.
It’s the same as Tsukiji, just another location and more modern.
Another great place we discovered was the neighborhood of Koenji.
Koenji avoided the major Japanese modernization of the 1980s. It has the retro character of pre-boom Japan. It’s Tokyo’s coolest neighborhood full of quaint small shops, Buddhist temples, restaurants and excellent street food.
Final stop, of our three discoveries – Tokyo Station.
The station is used by more than 500,000 people daily, with 4,000 trains departing and arriving daily. But it is more than a train station. It is an underground city. Everything you need is available at the small stores, big stores, food courts, restaurants.
Take look at this slideshow.