There is no doubt most of us have been to a fish market, and I would say that one would find it a rather boring affair. It’s just a market that sells seafood, right? Sure, the good ones have just about every poor creature that exists in the great ocean, but one would normally only go to a fish market to buy or eat some seafood of their liking.
Tsukiji Market, however, has somehow made itself a very popular tourist attraction in Tokyo. In fact, it is so popular that authorities had to temporarily disallow any tourists in the auction market for the last few months, as to not obstruct any live business transactions that are happening on the ground! Fortunately, this restriction was lifted 2 months ago, with a cap of just 140 tourists per day allowed to view this awesome event. If you are late, you’ll have to come back the next day.
So, what is this ‘awesome’ event? I am simply talking about Tuna auctioning that occurs from approximately 4am in the morning. Keen tourists like me, woke up at 4am to catch the first available train to rush to the market for this event. I was fortunate enough to make the cut, and wore the ‘honourary’ green jacket to tell everyone that I am ‘TOURIST’! So beware!
At first, there is not a lot of feeling of ‘awe’ watching various potential buyers inspecting each of the semi-frozen tunas lying on the ground.
The action really comes alive though, when auctioning starts. The star of this process is definitely the auctioneer, the one that makes the calls and accept bids, and the ONLY reason why this is such a great tourist attraction. He is not just ANY auctioneer, but one that pops up and down, and what sounds like rhythmic tune or rapping to most tourists! Most of us were lost for words watching them.
It is hard to describe them with photos and words. So, I have found a link to a Youtube video that the author appropriately called “Tsukiji Rappers”. Watch it to see exactly what I mean.
It is definitely awesome to watch live, and you should definitely not miss it if you come to Tokyo. I just hope they do not shut tourists out permanently one day! So, go there before it’s taken away from everyone!