The Tsukiji Fish Market in Toyko has become one of the hardest to visit places in the city. As the world’s largest fish market, it was once a popular tourist attraction, but it’s recently been shielded from the prying eyes of curious visitors and their cameras, because they got in the way of the busy fish mongers cleaning, slicing, and preparing their catches of the day for sale.
Just 120 people are allowed in the market per day to witness of their infamous tuna auctions, otherwise few other outsiders can gain entry without permission. While staying at the Park Hyatt Tokyo this past June, I had the opportunity to tour the market using a special pass acquired by my guide under secretive circumstances.
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My group weaved down a narrow stone walkway, sidestepping the motorized carts that sped through the market without a care for any tourist who might be standing in the way, their cargo—Styrofoam containers filled with sometimes frozen, sometimes still swimming fish—balanced precariously behind them. It’s immediately clear visitors are an unwelcome nuisance, but a few sideways glances from the workers are worth it for a peak inside.