Japan 2012 - Tsukiji Fish Market Part I - the Outer Market
If you are a food lover, Tsujiki Market would have to be on the top of your list of must visits places in Tokyo. Many visitors who are really determined would get up at ungodly hours to vie for the limited slots for the tuna auctions which start at 5.00 a.m. every morning. Only 120 lucky visitors are allowed into the auction everyday. As for me, I value my sleep and comfort a bit more, so I only got to the market around 8.00 a.m.
Tsukiji is a huge wholesale market for fish, fruits and vegetables. It is one of the largest fish markets in the world, and a large portion of fish served in the best shashimi restaurants around the world come from here. In fact many Japanese restaurants would loudly advertise that their fish come air-flown straight from Tsukiji Market - whether or not its is entirely true.
To navigate the market, it is best to bring a map. There is a large outer market which is a maze of little stalls selling all kinds of things from bonito to himono, tamago, nerimono, tsukemono, etc. There are also lots of small eateries and restaurants for those who are hungry. It is worth spending some time to explore this area.
There are lots of stalls selling pre-cooked food items that are good for a snack.
If you are looking for premium Japanese ingredients this is the place, and probably much cheaper too as you are cutting out the middleman. But they don't seem too happy entertaining small quantities.