I kicked off my first day in Japan by waking up super early (4 a.m.!) and heading down to the world-famous Tsukiji Fish Market. A tradition that dates back to the Edo period, the riverside market is renowned for its massive size, collective expertise in fish, and its almost surgical tuna auction. Although it’s not an official tourist attraction, I was able to attend the auction and wander the stalls before catching some fresh fish for breakfast in the form of sushi.

I recorded the morning’s events on my iPhone, using that lovely digital nomad app Hipstamatic. Although I’m normally a phone photography purist (no tricks, no adjustments), the mind-blowing fish fest of Tsukiji deserved something special. Which settings, you ask? Well, I went with the one that was invented right here in Tokyo: the Shibuya (Robo Glitter lens, no flash & Ina’s 1969 film).

 

 

 

Workers arrive at the Tsukiji fish market before sunrise, often before 5 o'clock in the morning. By 11:00 a.m., all the fish will be gone--sold, traded, cut, and distributed. There will be no more fish available. (Andrew Evans/NGS)

 

 

The tuna auction at Tsukiji fish market starts early, by 5:30 a.m., with hundreds of frozen tuna laid out in careful rows, ready for inspection. (Andrew Evans/NGS)

 

 

 

A trained buyer inspects each of the frozen tuna, touching the exposed pink flesh at the back of the cut tail. When he finds a quality fish, he will make a bid in the auction. (Andrew Evans/NGS)

 

 

 

Buyers and sellers argue about the merits and quality of the day's tuna. Eventually a price will be decided upon. (Andrew Evans/NGS)

 

 

 

Only licensed buyers like this man can enter and make bids at the tuna auction. Empty-handed, he exclaims, "I have no money today, so it's easy: No fish!" (Andrew Evans/NGS)

 

 

 

A sold tuna weighing some 30 kg (66 pounds) is marked and will be pushed away to the buyer's booth at the Tsukiji fish market in Tokyo. (Andrew Evans/NGS)

 

 

 

Sold tuna is painted with a red character that identifies the buyer. The tuna in the front was of slightly less quality than the others and was therefore not sold with the rest. (Andrew Evans/NGS)

 

 

 

Butchers use band saws to cut the frozen tuna into more manageable pieces at Tokyo's Tsukiji fish market. (Andrew Evans/NGS)

 

 

 

Working quickly with the hard frozen tuna, butchers use a giant cleaver to slice away any of the bony portions. (Andrew Evans/NGS)

 

 

 

Extra-sharp knives are used to clean the fish at Tsukiji fish market. Butchers work swiftly and with precision. (Andrew Evans/NGS)

 

 

 

A fishmonger at Tsukiji market communicates the day's catch with his contacts and collects their orders. (Andrew Evans/NGS)

 

 

 

Bought, cut, and deboned, this high-quality tuna is stored in refrigerated cases at Tokyo's Tsukiji fish market. (Andrew Evans/NGS)

 

 

 

Dozens of small back-alley kitchens cook up aromatic meals for visitors and workers at the Tsukiji fish market. (Andrew Evans/NGS)

 

 

 

A chef at the famous Sushi-Dai restaurant serves fresh fish to customers at the sushi bar. The decades-old relationships between fishing boats and buyers give the restaurant its high reputation at Tsukiji fish market. (Andrew Evans/NGS)

 

 

 

Buyer's booths and endless fish stands create a separate city that lies inside Tokyo's Tsukiji fish market. (Andrew Evans/NGS)

 

 

 

Besides tuna, the Tsukiji fish market sells an array of other fish, like these fresh-caught red snapper. (Andrew Evans/NGS)

 

 

 

"Taco," or octopus, is a Japanese favorite. In Tsukiji fish market, they are sold live (in tanks) and cooked, like this one. (Andrew Evans/NGS)

 

 

 

A motorized cart (used to transport fish) whizzes past at Tokyo's Tsukiji's fish market. Constant traffic keeps people on their toes, and tourists are discouraged from entering the area. (Andrew Evans/NGS)

 

 

 

At a stall outside the Tsukiji market, a "grandmother" sells everything necessary for making sushi, including nori (seaweed rolls) and tamago, a traditional Japanese omelette. (Andrew Evans/NGS)

Comments

  1. [...] Tsukiji in Hipstamatic Aug, 31, 2011 (0) Digital Nomad » [...]

  2. [...] Market. Tour the market with him via his tweets below, then hop over to his Digital Nomad blog to see more photos of the bustling [...]

  3. [...] Market. Tour the market with him via his tweets below, then hop over to his Digital Nomad blog to see more photos of the bustling [...]

  4. Billy
    Pocatello ID
    September 2, 2011, 11:13 am

    I stayed in Stukiji district while working in Japan. You will not find better sushi shops. But they come with a price.

  5. Billy
    Pocatello ID
    September 2, 2011, 11:13 am

    I stayed in Tsukiji district while working in Japan. You will not find better sushi shops. But they come with a price.

  6. Aloha...
    September 14, 2011, 7:30 pm

    “Tako”, not “Taco”…

  7. Hiroshima in Hipstamatic – Digital Nomad
    September 16, 2011, 4:46 pm

    [...] of history, the city of Hiroshima takes on a somewhat ethereal quality, which I tried to capture (once again) by shooting with the iPhone app [...]

  8. Jens Kuhfs
    Germany
    January 3, 2012, 4:27 am

    Nice Story ! Thanks for sharing. I like Sushi too ;)

  9. [...] you are going there or not.  National Geographic’s Digital Nomad paid a visit to Tsukiji Fishmarket and took some great iPhone shots. This is a place that I’ve wanted to visit for a long while [...]

  10. Shetland by iPhone 5 – Digital Nomad
    January 11, 2013, 8:02 am

    [...] pics, including galleries of Niagara Falls, Quebec, Ålesund (Norway), and both Hiroshima and Tsukiji. I have shot with my phone from open door of a helicopter in flight and from the back of a camel. [...]