5. Tokyo: Tsukiji Fish Market Discovery Tour
Spend your morning exploring Tsukiji Fish Market, the largest market of its kind in the world. The wholesale portion of the market where the famous tuna auction takes place has moved from the original Tsukiji site, a few kilometers across the water to Toyosu, but Tsukiji still is the best place to check and try all the products sold in Toyosu.
Start by wandering through Tsukiji’s outer market brimming with vibrant food stalls and retail shops. This is the place to be if you’re looking for the freshest and dare say, most delicious sushi breakfast one could ever hope for. With over 2,500 tons and 450 types of fish coming through the market every day, you’re bound to come across some foods and fish you’ve never seen before. Squid jerky, anyone? Or perhaps scrambled eggs on a stick? No matter what kind of unusual snacks you may encounter, Tsukiji promises to be an experience for all five senses.
Along the way, your tour guide will explain about the history of the market, all the different seafoods on offer, the legendary tuna auction (not included in the tour) and what a typical day is like for all the vendors who work inside the inner markets. Stop to sample a couple of fresh foods and you’re free to try any additional snacks at your own expense that may catch your eye or make you drool. Of course, it can be difficult to know where to start so your guide will point out some recommendations as well. Once you’re finished snacking, make your way to a nearby sake shop for a tasting and be introduced to Japan’s beloved beverage of choice. Learn how to taste the difference between different sakes and about the role it has played in Japanese culture. Be sure to make your favorite known.
As tour groups are prohibited from entering the inner markets, you’ll be left at the door to Tsukiji’s inner markets, where you can go explore on your own. Watch your step because things can “get a little fishy” as you carefully maneuver through the market’s chaotic, narrow and wet streets. Though visitors are not allowed to take photos inside the inner market, you won’t forget this extraordinary experience. But before you go off on your own, don’t forget to ask your local guide for tips on where else to visit during your stay in Tokyo.