TOKYO: Tsukiji Fish Market
Tsukiji Fish Market is a place that every traveler should visit when in Tokyo. It is a busy workplace and absolutely fascinating - workers whisking fish around on electric ta-rays at full speed, carrying boxes full of octopus, huge fish eyes, giant tuna, buckets of urchins, and exotic fish. You have to be careful not to get run over by them. It is a working market and the relations between the sellers and tourists can be a bit testy. Tourists taking snapshots and selfies is grudgingly tolerated rather than openly welcomed.
An active wholesale market, Tsukiji sells $21 million worth of the freshest fish every day. It's all packed in crushed ice since there is no conditioning inside. Most of the stalls have been family run since the 1920s when Tsukiji was first opened.
The busy streets around the market are lined with shops and sushi bars with long lines of customers who are waiting for an early morning sushi breakfast. You have to yell your order outside and somehow, magically the correct dish arrives when you have finally got a seat behind the counter. The delicacies include akami (lean tuna), chutoro (medium fatty tuna), and melt-in-your-mouth otoro (fatty tuna). Just remember the rule of eating sushi! Dip the fish in soya sauce not the rice! Sushi comes already seasoned with wasabi, most locals keep it clean and don't add wasabi into the soya sauce.
Update from October 2018: After 83 years, the Tsukiji Fish Market moved to a new location to Toyosu Market in October 2018 to make room to the 2020 Tokyo Olympics. However, the outer market -- a maze of hundreds of vendors selling dried food, green tea, and souvenirs will remain in its current space for tourists to explore.
Read about other fun thins to do in Tokyo in our guides TOKYO: The Savvy & Fine Guide to the Best of Tokyo and The Savvy and Fine Guide to the Best of Tokyo: Beyond Sightseeing