Saucers of sushi flocked by a number of diners revolve around an oval table. Sushi’s came in varied designs and species.  Meanwhile, the outside alleys were joined by fish vendors and a busy atmosphere of trucks, scooters, sellers and buyers competing for space.  It was a busy day ahead at the world’s biggest wholesale fish and seafood market and also the world’s largest wholesale food markets of any kind – Tsukiji Fish Market.

Witnessing the tuna auction was the primary goal for the trip to the market.  Besides, I had no intention of bargaining for some fresh produce and have it cooked by ourselves for a meal.  Devoid of any details except for the fact that auction happens at dawn, we were determined to leave the comfort of our beds at an earlier time. Not until during our drinking spree one night, when Filipino friends informed us that a reservation need to be made and that the same comes on a limited slot.  With that, we decided to let go of the idea of visiting for the tuna auction.

The maximum number which the market’s infrastructure can accommodate is 120 tourists per day at the auction area.  The Osakana Fukyu Center (Fish Information Center) at Kachidoki Gate is the venue for application on first come first serve basis.  Since it is impossible for us to catch the auction, we decided to roam around and had a taste test of varied foods in store.

There are areas in the Tsukiji Fish Market that are off limits.  Thus, we were lead to the outer market consisting of a few blocks of small retail shops and restaurants crowded along narrow lanes.  All sorts of food-related goods, fresh seafood and produce for sale in smaller portions are readily available.  On our first stop, we feasted on oysters.  The vendor showed us how to peel the oysters and how it was baked outright.

On the next corner, we saw a lot of tourist line up for a stall. Curious as we are, we placed an order.  Appearing like a cake, to my surprise, it was a sweetened scrambled egg.  Japanese cuisine is truly innovative.

It has been said that a visit to Tsukiji Fish Market is best combined with a fresh sushi breakfast or lunch at one of the restaurants, typically open from 5:00 in the morning to around noon or early afternoon.  So, we succumbed.

We had an early lunch at one of the revolving sushi bars of the market.  I can’t even remember the name of the shop but what is remarkable is that, it is priced reasonably and definitely worth the experience.  Each saucer of sushi’s presentation was gastronomically appealing.  It was definitely a work of art from the chef. 

After the set plates ordered were consumed, we decided to walk towards the upscale Ginza district to burn the calories intake and to ease the stomach after a heavy meal.

Before the market relocates next year, we are fortunate to have visited Tsukiji Fish Market on its current location. Though not of the same mission as the early bird tourists, the food trip is a best alternative for the famed tuna auction.

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