Tsukiji Market is located in the heart of Tokyo’s business district. It’s the largest wholesale fish and seafood market in the world. Trucks clog the city streets in the early morning hours, delivering fish and seafood from around the world. The action starts as early as 2am, but in the popular imagination a day at Tsukiji kicks off with the tuna auctions. Professsor Ted Bestor, author of Tsukiji: The Fish Market at the Center of the World, says there are as many as twenty seafood auctions each morning, with five of them devoted solely to tuna. The fish is auctioned off to vendors who sell from stalls in the inner market. The photos below capture a morning in Tsukiji’s the inner market.
With the announcement of the 2020 Olympic Games in Tokyo, the city government confirmed that it will spend over $4 billion to relocate Tsukiji from it’s current location to a manmade island far outside the city center. The move is controversial for multiple reasons. First and foremost, the designated location was formerly a storage facility for a petrochemical company and as Bestor says, “it will be like putting a marketplace in a Superfund site.” He continues, “the other problem is that the island is a landfill island and landfill is subject to liquefaction which is what happens when an earthquake happens.”
In the below interview with Good Food’s Evan Kleiman, Chef David Kinch of Manresa in Los Gatos describes what he loves about Japanese food and what he learned from the Tsukiji Market. Beth Reiber, author of Frommer’s Japan and Frommer’s Tokyo remembers the market 30 years ago and Professor Ted Bestor describes the inner workings of Tsukiji, as well as the market’s pending move from the city center in 2016.