One of the most exciting things about world travel is the chance to experience the marketplaces around the globe. Whether it’s the GreenFlea Market in New York’s West Village, Chor Bazaar of Mumbai or the Saint-Ouen flea market in Paris.
One of the most unique, and perhaps appetizing, marketplaces is the 80-year old Tsukiji fish market in Tokyo. It’s such an iconic location in Tokyo, and the largest fish market in the world. A tourist destination, yes, but also a thriving working market that sees about 2,000 tons of seafood pass through its merchant stalls every day.
I had the opportunity to visit the Tsukiji market back in 2010 when I was on a business trip/photo shoot in Tokyo. When I first heard about this operation, I knew I wanted to see it live and in person. To get there, though, you have to get up super early: It gets started in the wee hours and closes by early afternoon.
Despite the early hour that we got there, we still missed the famed tuna auctions. Still, there was plenty to see and experience. It’s aisle after aisle, stall after stall, sea creature after sea creature of all kinds of visual goodness. It’s a seafood lover’s paradise, and photographer’s dream.
And while there was a bit of a language barrier, I was often able to have some good conversations with the rubber-booted fishmongers. They were very gracious in allowing photography as well.
Like many market places, the Tsukiji market isn’t JUST fish, though. Also part of it is a thriving retail community where you can pick up basically anything you can imagine. But the cutlery that you can buy here is some of the finest in the world. From green tea chocolate square to some of the sharpest knives you can find, it’s all here.
Tokyo is spending $4.5 billion to relocate the Tsukiji fish market to better accommodate truck traffic. The move is slated to begin around 2016. If you get the chance to see the Tsukiji Market in its current state, I highly recommend the experience. You’ll see things – especially monsters of the deep – that you may never get the chance to see anyplace else.
And meet some great people in the process.
You can view more of Mark Krajnak’s work on his website at Jersey Style Photography.