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Pre-Dawn at the Tsujiki Fish Market, Tokyo

A quintissential activity for any traveler visiting Tokyo for the first time is a pre-dawn visit to the tuna auction at the Tsujiki Fish Market – and I did just that.

About 4 in the morning, trucks full of flash frozen tuna start arriving and offloading the fish into the auction house. Small forklifts zip around everywhere, and the area is full of activity from every angle.

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The group of 40 tourists who were allowed in every day wear green vests. We were then escorted from the main office building to the tuna auction floor. On the auctionhouse floor, tuna buyers walk around with small hooks and flashlights, peeling back a pre-cut piece of tuna flesh and inspecting the quality of the meat. This happens for about 20 minutes, and then the auctioning begins. It’s all very hectic and fast, and seems to accomplish its purpose. Before long, we were being ushered out again.

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After the tuna auction, I met a few other travelers, and the four of us sat down at one of the Sushi Bars inside the fish market. It was obviously the freshest sushi I’ve ever had.

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Surrounding the fish market are all sorts of accessory dealers, including lots of custom knife shops.

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