Tokyo: Awash with Japanese seafood

Octopus for sale at the Tsukiji fish market in Tokyo.
Octopus for sale at the Tsukiji fish market in Tokyo.

A VISIT to the teeming Tsukiji fish market - the world's biggest - is free and is a must on any visit to Tokyo.

Like the hordes of people streaming out of train stations or its neon skyline, the scale and bustle of Tsukiji confirms that you are in one of the world's great cities.

The market is more like a city, spread out over 23ha and the workplace of about 60,000 wholesalers, accountants, auctioneers, company officials and distributors.

Almost 500 types of seafood are handled at Tsukiji every day, and more than 600 billion yen (about $8.9 billion) worth of seafood is processed there each year.

Below grimy steel girders polystyrene boxes are stacked high with every imaginable sea creature, prepared in every imaginable way.

Workers whizz through the narrow lanes on electric carts laden with goods, while chefs and retailers busily select the produce needed for the coming day's trade.

Chunks of octopus tentacle sit next to what seems like hundreds of prehistorically huge crabs in cramped glass tanks.

An ecstatic-looking pink cartoon whale, up there with Bambi on a level of innocence, entices passers-by to try a row of barbecued skewers.

As a sales tactic it comes as a shock, even in a city where the police force has its own cutsey cartoon mascot (the mouse-eared Pipo-kun).

But Tsukiji is far from the mechanical economy of a slaughterhouse - our group is stilled by the sight of a worker slowly slicing a massive tuna in two.

With his long blade and solemn, careful movements, the act takes on a ceremonial air and the care and attention demonstrate why it's impossible to find a bad meal in this city.

Tsukiji is an example of what Tokyo rewards most - observation.

When hours can be spent wandering a market or simply watching the flow of people at an intersection, accommodation really is just a place to lay your head.


  • Where to stay: Capsule Hotel Asakusa Riverside: Offers male and female capsule dormitories, and friendly staff speak some English.
  • What to do: Make an early-morning visit to the Tsukiji fish market, where hundreds of alleyways are filled with every imaginable creature of the deep - including whale. Afterwards pull up a seat at one of the market's sushi restaurants for melt-in-your-mouth sashimi.

* Nicholas Jones visited Japan as guest of Air New Zealand.

Topics:  japan tokyo

Massive closing down sale at RM Williams Warwick

Today is the last day RM Williams will be open in Warwick.

Recognise a caring role in our community

Teresa Storey-Higgins cares for her daughter.

TOOWOOMBA mother Teresa Storey-Higgins is a carer.

Break from daily work for Tina

Clifton woman Tina Torcetti is a carer for her son, Callum.

TINA Torcetti, from Clifton, is a full-time carer.

Local Partners

Australia Day Award nominations now open

ALL those who know someone who has made an outstanding contribution to the Warwick community is encouraged to nominate them for an Australia Day Award.

Former Split Enz front man Tim Finn finds new niche

Singer Tim Finn has written the music for theatre production Ladies in Black.

Musician finds his way to theatre

Former Warwick State High student is second

Victorian rider and former Warwick High student Lee Kimber (right) goes for his beast at the Warwick Rodeo.

Former Warwick High student to compete in national finals

13 things to do on the Southern Downs this weekend

Darcy Meek (left) is the early leader in parkrun on Saturday before being first man home.

Photo Gerard Walsh / Warwick Daily News

Here's a list of 13 things to do this weekend.

Azealia Banks won't take legal action against Russell Crowe

Rapper Azealia Banks

Rapper drops legal action against Russell Crowe

Brad Pitt meets with his kids amid divorce proceedings

Actor Brad Pitt

Brad Pitt has met up with his oldest son Maddox

Pictures of Taylor Swift allegedly being groped are sealed

They could "complicate jury selection".

Bruce Springsteen finds therapy useful

Singer Bruce Springsteen

Singer encourages others to seek help

Kerry Washington wants one more child

Kerry Washington recently gave birth to her second child

Kerry has only just become a new mum again

TRAVEL: Musicals light up Sydney

David Campbell performs in Dream Lover.

We take a trip through one of Sydney's finer scenes

Hit songwriter's Noosa mansion on market

SPECIAL PLACE: The Cintamani estate is going to tender, marketed by Tom Offermann Real Estate.

Is this Queensland's best property?

Kiwi siblings snap up Dotcom mansion for $32.5m

The new toy company owners of the Coatesville mansion want replace any controversy with positivity and fun. Photo / Barfoot and Thompson

The trio paid $32.5 million for the property in June

New $200 million development will create 580 jobs

Cassie And Josh with baby Alfie and daughter Andee. They have bought at new Lennox Head development Epiq.

Majority of new positions will be given to Northern Rivers locals

Cherrabah's mega resort plans axed

PLANS for a massive development at Cherrabah have been scrapped.

What our mayor thinks of the new draft SEQPlan

The plan to use the innovative technology as part of the new Maroochydore CBD was cemented on site today when Mayor Mark Jamieson and Envac Asia Region president Chun Yong Ha formally signed the contract for the $20 million underground waste collection system.

New plan accommodates Sunshine Coast Council's vision for growth.

Dusit Thani finance crisis 'just a small hiccup'

ON TRACK: Springfield Land Chairman, Maha Sinnathamby, Ipswich Mayor Paul Pisasale, Developer Richard Turner and Springfield Land Deputy Chairman, Bob Sharpless, at the recent resort sod turning ceremony.

Property developer says project remains firmly on track