For more than 80 years, Tokyo’s Tsukiji fish market had a reputation for supplying some of the freshest and best quality seafood anywhere. It was as large as 55 American football fields, generated sales of close to 6-billion dollars a year, and routinely shipped fish to high end sushi restaurants around the world! But having been built before the Second World War, it was a relic from an earlier era, and over the decades, it had become overcrowded, unsanitary, and unsafe.
After years of planning, the city decided to move the market last fall to a larger and more modern facility about a mile-and-a-half away. Despite the obvious benefits, there were also plenty of complaints that the new location was harder to get to, felt sterile and soulless, and simply lacked the charm of the old Tsukiji.
As luck would have it, I was visiting Japan for my first time right around then, a few weeks before the scheduled move, so I had the opportunity to visit Tsukiji for one last time and witness one of its famous early morning tuna auctions.
Tuna is well-loved in Japan, and it’s not unheard of for some of these fish to sell for tens or even hundreds of thousands of dollars. Last January, one single fish sold for a record $3.1 million dollars!
On the latest episode of Far From Home, I tour Tsukiji and wait in line overnight to see fish buyers bid on giant tuna at 6am, while much of Tokyo is still asleep!
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Thanks to my brother, Drew Gurian, for sharing these photos he took when he visited Tsukiji a number of years ago (and which were much better than the pictures I took with my iPhone).
Until next time.