Photo Journal: The Daily Catch at Tsukiji Fish Market in Tokyo, Japan

One of the happiest memories from my childhood, aside from Saturday morning cartoons in Transformers pj’s, was family fishing and crabbing trips at the docks at Captree State Park.


Up at the crack of dawn, we would start our day trip at the local bait and tackle shop for fresh hooks, worms, lead sinkers and then pass the fug out excitedly dream about all the colorful fish and sea life we would encounter while making our way to the shores in Long Island. Always one of the earliest to arrive, we would make our way to the furthest point on the pier, settle our lawn chairs as a stake to our claim and prepare for the long day’s catch.


My dad would hook the wriggling worms, my mom would tie the succulent chicken legs; then my brother and I would diligently man the fishing rods and crab traps. And between the four of us, we always caught our fill for the day.


For two impatient children, waiting and earning our dinner was an important lesson we learned on these family excursions. And as the sun, sea and surf rose and waned, our excitement would grow along with the pile of fish and crab in our bucket. This lesson wasn’t one without its reward and between the four of us, we always caught our fill for the day.


During my latest trip to Tokyo, I took a fishing trip down memory lane to the city’s eminent Tsukiji Fish Market (築地市場). Giving up a few precious hours of sleep, our bloodshot eyes were met with an endless array of fresh fish and seafood of all shapes and sizes. As the world’s largest fish market, Tsukiji Market handles over 2,000 tons of seafood per day.


Fresh off the morning’s tuna auction, we trolled from stall to stall to admire the abundant reward of the midnight journey embarked on night after night. Amidst the matrix-like atmosphere, docking trucks, gliding scooters, and frenzied buyers and sellers darted in from all directions.


Beyond the displays of the market’s offerings, the unwearied pride and respect to provide for the country’s main food staple reeled through the entire cycle from the catch, the cut and even the clean. While we had heard mixed reviews about the trade off of the market’s sights for valuable sleep (and boy do I like to sleep), my friends and I thought this experience was definitely the catch of the day.



Westin Tokyo
1-4-1 Mita
Tokyo 153-8580, Japan
+81 3-5423-7000


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Write a Comment

  • I love your writing as it always makes me feel as though I’m right there with you. And your photos are absolutely gorgeous.

    3 May 2015 at 11:39 AM
  • I’ve heard of this place! Great photos. I especially love your captures of each human and their expressions.

    30 April 2015 at 11:22 AM
  • This was a very engaging and beautiful post. I love fish, and even though it is the category of protein that looks the most like what it actually is, unlike the processed beef and chicken products, we still forget the kind of work that it takes to supply it. You have given me a new appreciation for the art of fishing. Your photos and related story are beautiful and awe inspiring. Thank you!

    30 April 2015 at 12:25 AM
  • Lisa, even though I don’t like fish, the pictures are very visual and well done. Each picture portrays the passion and pride of the Japanese of their love for fish. Whilst on a long-haul cycle ride, I caught my first 3 fish, Rainbow fish, with a hand reel and delighted in the wonderful colours of the fish. I wanted to throw them back but my partners wanted us to eat them for lunch as it was our meal for the day! I allowed him to gut the fish. I was sad to eat them they were so beautiful creatures :)

    27 April 2015 at 1:50 PM