Up early the next morning we’re hitting the road to visit the humongous Tsukiji wholesale fish and vegetable market.
It’s the biggest wholesale fish and seafood market in the world and also one of the largest wholesale food markets of any kind.
The world famous fish auctions in the inner market opens at 3am. with the arrival of the products by ship, truck and plane from all over the world.
The market handles more than 400 different types of seafood from cheap seaweed to expensive caviar, tiny sardines to huge tuna.
As I’m not an early riser, there’s no chance that we’d actually be in time to see the bidding frenzy (and as a veggy I can’t stand the smell of sigh TBH!)
Instead we’re looking forward to pottering around and soaking up the atmosphere and sights in the outer market streets.
The outer market is a ragtag collection of retail shops and stalls that sell fresh seafood, street snacks, and kitchen supplies.
Lots of sushi restaurants are to be found here and some have huge queues due to their popularity.
Every conceivable type of seafood can be found here, on sticks, bloodied in bowls, displayed on ice.
It’s not just fish based items however, it’s also a vegetable market. Above is fresh wasabi and colourful , edible flowers.
Nosey tourists are reminded not to “push” the scallops! Now all I want to do is squeeze them…
There’s lots of colourful characters around the market while the tiny snack bars heave with hungry locals and curious tourists.
Amongst the traditional methods of food preservation you can see “Himono” – a traditional salting and air-drying process used to preserve fish for a long time. The process helps concentrate the flavor of the fish.
Tiny Sushi sweets, wasabi beans and vegetable chips are more colourful snacks.
Another ingredient that you’ll see everywhere is dried bonito flakes used to make “dashi” (clear fish stock) which an essential ingredient in Japanese cuisine.
Bonito go through a rigorous process of boiling, smoking, fermenting, and drying.
There are calls to relocate the historic market. This was scheduled to take place in November 2016, in preparation for the 2020 Olympics, but the move was postponed.
Lucky for us as we managed to see it in its original location before it is potentially destroyed forever.
We also manage to see our first Sumo wrestler! Out doing his shopping . . . and the man spots his doppelganger.