Travel Reports by Villagemayor view profile of Villagemayor

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Note: The opinions and views expressed in this user report are those of the individual author and do not necessarily reflect the opinions and views of japan-guide.com.

November 11, 2017 - Tsukiji's (Truly) Last Breath

Back in late-2015 I had published a travel report on what was supposed to be Tsukiji's last few months of operation. At that time, the move was to coincide with the redevelopment plans for the 2020 Summer Olympics. Two years later, I once again come to the realization that the move to Toyoso will take place. And this time, they mean it. I have mixed emotions about this move. On the one hand I am all for heritage conservation and to preserve the livelihood of the fish mongers and wholesalers, and not to mention the hundreds of chefs that descend upon the market. But I see the need for a new facility and to physically separate the workers from the unruly tourists.

This report is a tribute to the thousands of people who work in this market, and had been for generations.

These jitneys were invented here in the market due to the tight corners and the need to serve all the vendors
Conflict between tourists and employees of the Market

These diesel powered jitneys will no longer be needed as the new facility will be greatly expanded in size and is more efficient.

Exposed infrastructure gives it old world charm
The bad side of the wholesale industry. Piles of Styrofoam boxes
Would you wait six hours for a plate of sashimi?

What makes Tsukiji Market so famous to me is the food of course, but also the constant but organized conflicts between the employees of the Market and the tourists. From an architectural and urban landscape perspective, it is the mid 20th-century infrastructure with exposed wires linking all buildings, and the thousands of wasted styrofoam boxes that are strewn everywhere.

This is what I prefer. The food that locals eat

But sushi is not the only food offered at the Market. I have been to Tsukiji enough times that I don't want sushi here. I stake out the stuff locals eat. They are not only cheap and cheerful, they are also delicious and unpretentious. Here is one such location which specializes in Japanese curry.

Inside a well-known curry restaurant. Notice the patrons are all men and local

Inside the layout is very traditional and despite the small space, every inch is used. The patrons as you can see are men, older, and local. There are employees of the market interspersed with those wearing suit jackets. One thing in common here is they all speak Japanese. It is so easy to be lost in translation but this is where the best experience you will have.

And with the move, this restaurant operator will have to relocate, or shut down. I was saddened by this as I will never have their amazing curry again.

Seafood curry. This is where the real food is.

Of all the dishes I could have, I wanted the most touristy dish, which is the seafood curry. Loads of curry sauce, it is dotted with lots of seafood like shrimp, squid, crab, and scallop. Although all slightly overcooked, they were so delicious. Lots of rice and cabbage to soak the curry up.

Within the Inner Market, some store vendors
The backside of the buildings with small lorries and jitneys

The Market will officially close in October 2018, days before I am scheduled to return to Japan. I would like to personally thank each and every generations of workers over the decades for providing fresh seafood to all of us for consumption. We take for granted that fresh fish is so readily available in Tokyo.

We (cautiously) welcome Toyoso and the new home of these fish mongers and wholesalers.

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List of Posts:
2018/10/21 - Tohoku Series: Mt. Hakkoda (bcR)
2018/10/20 - Tohoku Series: Aomori (Xs)
2018/10/20 - Tohoku Series: Seafood Capital, Aomori (Xs)
2018/10/19 - Tohoku Series: Juniko
2018/10/19 - Tohoku Series: Gono Line
2018/10/18 - Tohoku Series: Tazawako (c)
2018/10/18 - Tohoku Series: Kakunodate (p)
2018/10/17 - Tohoku Series: Akita (Hcs)
2018/10/16 - The Pokemon Cafe experience
2018/10/16 - Early Morning Meiji stroll
2017/11/11 - Tsukiji's (Truly) Last Breath
2017/10/31 - Yokohama - Western Port City
2017/10/30 - Tateishi Nakamise Shotengai - Stepping into a Time Warp
2017/10/29 - Oya History Museum - A Cavern in Time
2017/10/28 - Nikko - Land of Spirituality and Tourists Part Two
2017/10/28 - Nikko - Land of Spirituality and Tourists Part One
2017/10/27 - Aizu - Wakamatsu and Kitakata: Land of Ramen and Red Cows
2017/10/27 - Ouchijuku - Historic Town in Fukushima Prefecture
2017/10/25 - Noboribetsu - The Comforts of Hell!
2017/10/24 - Otaru - Land of History and Economic Power Part One
2017/10/24 - Otaru - Land of History and Economic Power Part Two
2017/10/23 - Sapporo - Fresh Seafood and Western History
2017/10/22 - Lake Toya - A Land of Destruction and Beauty Part Three
2017/10/21 - Lake Toya - A Land of Destruction and Beauty Part Two
2017/10/21 - Lake Toya - A Land of Destruction and Beauty Part One
2017/10/20 - Hakodate in 18 hours - Part Two
2017/10/20 - Hakodate in 18 hours - Part One
2017/10/20 - All aboard the Hokkaido Shinkansen in Gran Class style
2015/12/06 - Tsukiji's Last Breath
2015/12/02 - Kawagoe Day Trip
2015/11/29 - Pokemon Train on the JR Ofunato Line
2015/11/29 - Rikuzentakata, Iwate Prefecture
2015/11/28 - Yamadera
2015/11/23 - The Architecture of the Yoyogi National Gymnasium