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築地 – Tsukiji – Part 1

I’m writing this at 4 in the morning on our 5th day in Japan. When will I be able to sleep like a normal human being again? I don’t know. Hopefully soon. What are the causes you ask? It’s a combination of factors I suppose. Jet lag is probably the biggest one. My excitement over each day is another. A pillow I have yet to become fond of is also a possible contributor. Finally, I get too hot without the AC on, yet I can’t sleep with any sort of fan blowing on me either. Am I tired? You betcha. Can I sleep? Not to save my life. Oh well, this will pass at some point.

Yesterday morning I was also up by 4. My daughter has usually been up by 4 as well. Since there is nothing else to do at 4 in the morning, my daughter and I decided to go to the world’s largest fish market. We went to Tsukiji once before, two years ago, but I felt rather unfulfilled since we never found the tuna auction on that morning, my SD card of pictures from the day (including the Tokyo International Anime Fair) went bad and I lost all the photos in the process, and we didn’t sample the sushi. This time we succeeded on all three accounts that we failed before.

takadanobaba metro station first train tokyo japan

The first train doesn’t run until 5 in the morning. We were on that first metro, leaving Takadanobaba at 5:06. I’m not sure why they don’t begin earlier as many people need to get to Tsukiji before 5:30. The first train was packed by the time we got there, standing room only, and Tsukiji workers were literally running to their jobs at 5:30 a.m. It was quite a sight considering the early hour. Surprisingly, thousands of people were already at Tsukiji. I wondered how they all got there without the trains yet running. I suppose some live in the area, but then I spied one of the large, motorbike/motorcycle parking lots.

motorcycles at tsukiji tokyo japan

The seemingly endless rows of fresh seafood and the variety are staggering. I’ll share a few of the 100+ pictures I took in this Tsukiji series.

octopus tako tsukiji market tokyo japan

The characters for Tsukiji (築地) mean “build earth.” That is because this neck of the Tokyo woods (and indeed many coastal areas in Japan) is artificial land or land reclamation. I read a book on Tsukiji before visiting last time, and that helps to make Tsukiji more meaningful to me than it may be to some.

tuna auction tsukiji tokyo japan maguro

The tuna auction was the highlight of our trip this time. I’ll show you a video of it in a future post in this series.

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