I take the opportunity of the recent transfer of the Tokyo fish market to Toyosu (which I have not been lucky enough to visit, for now) to talk about the old fish market, the famous Tsukiji Market.
I visited this market in 2016 during my trip to Japan.
The Tsukiji market was famous for its tuna auctions held in the morning before dawn and which many tourists could also attend as spectators. During my stay in Tokyo I decided not to take part in this experience, I had the feeling that if I waking up so early in the morning I would then waste the following day trying to recover from the tiredness due to the few hours of sleep.
The tuna auctions are still held in the new market location, which is why in the future I do not exclude that I can still participate as a spectator in one of them.
However, I considered it essential to visit the market, open to tourists from 9 am.
As soon as you I enterd the market, the first thing that strikes me was certainly a strong fishy smell which, for a person who is not accustomed to it, can be somewhat annoying to the point of becoming nauseating. If you have a bit of a spirit of adaptation, however, this unpleasant sensation passes quickly to leave room for curiosity to peek through the fresh fish stalls to discover fish species never seen before.
Immediately afterwards I remained struck by the hard work of the employees who, regardless of the tourists who watch them in amazement, continue their hard work undisturbed.
There is a sort of orderly confusion, forgive the oxymoron but it is precisely what I thought entering this market.
A large number of people who buy fish and as many who sell it, speaking out loud to overlook the constant buzz that business inevitably generates.
The diesel carts full of freshly caught fish whizzing through the narrow streets that divide the various stalls were the most dangerous thing on the market, I risked being hit by one of them several times. The rule was to be very careful and move to let them pass, after all we were tourists who wander around the market without haste, while the people who guide them were working and rightly have the right to precedence.
After exploring the market far and wide, stopping at a sushi restaurant seemed the most obvious and wise choice. In fact, the Tskuji market sushi was famous for being the best and freshest in the entire city of Tokyo.
I stopped in one of the tiny little restaurants that were all along the perimeter and in the immediate vicinity of the market, I remember that it didn't take me long to choose one because, I was sure of it, the fish served in each of these was of excellent quality .
These restaurants with no more than ten seats were really characteristic, the sushi was prepared by the masters in front of your eyes and served individually. Watching the masters at work was like watching an artistic show, with their safe but delicate and precise movements down to the last detail, these sushi artists won my attention and my heart. It is a wonderful show that I recommend you to watch if you have the chance once in your life.
I don't know what happened to all these activities that gravitated around the Tsukiji fish market, I hope they continue to serve their delicious sushi to tourists and locals, perhaps they have moved following the market to its new location or they remained in the same place they had occupied for decades and to which, I am sure, each of them was particularly fond of.
I hope to return to Japan soon to visit the new fish market and find out what happened to all the wonderful people who worked there.