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Tsukiji Fish Market, Tokyo

See the Tokyo Guide ›
Metro: Tsukiji Shijo
view web site ›'s insider take:

The best time to visit the world's largest fish market is at dawn, when most of the action takes place. (On your first day in Tokyo, your walloping jet lag will surely wake you before the sun comes up, anyway.) Tsukiji covers an area of more than two million square feet and handles more than 2,000 tons of fish each day. Don't be shy about wandering the narrow, inner lanes, where fish flown in daily from around the world are displayed and haggled over. But watch your back and keep moving: This is a serious place of business, and sellers and buyers—and scooters and motorized dollies—move fast and furiously. (Spectators were briefly banned from the exciting tuna auctions because they were getting in the way; currently, the tuna auction is off-limits except from 5 to 6:15 am.) If you oversleep, don't despair: The outer market is a great place to buy everything you'll need to prepare a Japanese feast in your own kitchen (check out the beautiful knives!), plus traditional woven baskets for hauling your purchases home. And of course, there are great (if basic) sushi restaurants there for a late breakfast, such as Sushi Dai, guaranteed the freshest you'll ever eat (81-3-3547-6797). With a controversial move to reclaimed land in Tokyo Bay slated for 2014, it's worth experiencing Tsukiji now, in its present incarnation.—Updated by Rebecca Willa Davis

Open Mondays through Saturdays 5 am to 2 pm.

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