Bright and early on a rainy Saturday, our son booked into a once-a-month Saturday daycare that we always take advantage of, my better half & I took off for Tokyo to visit one of his Japan bucket list items, the Tsukiji Fish Market – the largest in the world.
The market has existed in this location for hundreds of years, but is scheduled to move this fall to a new location, so we wanted to visit before the transition took place.
To get the true fish market experience, you can line up starting at 3 a.m. to try and get one of the 30-60 guest passes to the 5 a.m. fish auction. With a toddler, we were probably up early enough to try, but everything I’d read about Tsukiji indicated this was not a family-friendly venture. It’s a working fish market, and though tourists have become more and more common, they aren’t the primary purpose of the market. So we strolled in around 10:30 a.m., when the industrial side of the market was looking a bit more like this:
The outer market, however, was still bustling.
Any kind of sea creature you could possibly eat was on sale somewhere in the rainy maze of vendors, including tuna bigger than me, squids as large as my head, and oysters larger than a hand.
And once you got tired of shopping for seafood, you could stop at one of the restaurants tucked inside the warren of shops to actually eat some seafood.
My personal favorite part of the entire fish market were all the kawaii images of bears with the fish. Were hungry bears a historic problem for the fish market?? Does Japan even have polar bears??
After we got nice and fishified, MBH and I walked to the much fancier part of town – Ginza. We found Chuo-dori, a street flanked by Tokyo’s flagship luxury stores and closed to vehicles on weekend afternoons.
The shopping was pretty incredible, and so was the architecture.
After a lot of (window) shopping (including three million yen earrings at Tiffanys), we decided to try some of the sakura (cherry blossom) seasonal Starbucks offerings, and managed to find…
After our refuel, we headed over to Wako, an awesomely named Tokyo department store with an art gallery on the sixth floor. We took in their kimono exhibition and a stroll through their fancy chopstick section, where their sets were sold for the equivalent of hundreds of American dollars.
To visit the Tsukiji Fish Market, learn more here. All of Ginza is easily walkable, we stopped at the Shinbashi station and walked the rest of the day from there.