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Tsukiji Fish Market

 

Normally one might not consider a fish market as a top spot for tourism, what with the stink and all, but the Tsukiji fish market in Tokyo has the distinction of being the largest fish market in the entire world.  The Japanese love their fish and an estimated 2000 tons of seafood products are sold at this market every day.  It is located in central Tokyo and is actually one of the most famous attractions in the city.  Every year it becomes more popular and has gotten to the point now where the sheer amount of people is causing serious issues with overcrowding.

The market is divided into two primary areas: the inner market and the outer market.  The inner market is where all the wholesale business in conducted, with hundreds of small fish stands all crammed into one crowded area.  There is a hustling and bustling atmosphere to the inner market as people rush about, loading carts full of fish for business or personal use.

Also within the inner market is the world famous tuna auction.  Hundreds of giant 

tuna make their way through the auction, which is so popular that they even give tours to visitors who wish to see it in action.  The numbers of visitors per day are limited to 120 people, however, and one is required to sign up on a first-come first-served list if they wish to participate in the tour.

The outer market is the more touristy area, with retail shops and restaurants.  This is where the smaller vendors set up their stalls and cater to individual customers without a need for bulk.  It is much easier for the average person to shop in the outer market.

When visiting Tsukiji, tourists need to be aware of a few things or run the risk of getting into trouble.  The market may be entertaining, but it is also a primary place of business for tens-of-thousands of businessmen and countless average citizens.  Before 9 a.m., the market is completely off-limits to visitors.  Also, there are many rules that are expected to be followed when visiting the markets, such as wearing proper shoes and not bringing young children along.  Tourists are general encouraged to stick to the outer market where they aren’t as likely to get in the way.

Still, regardless of the rules, if you’re really interested in seafood or just want to get a view of the hectic stream of activity which permeates the market, then Tsukiji might be a good stop for anyone visiting the Tokyo area.