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Notes on the Geography of Japan: Tokyo: Tsukiji

Originally next to Nihombashi Bridge, the Tokyo Fish market was moved after the quake of 1923 four kilometers south to filled land near where the Sumida River enters Tokyo Bay. The Tsukiji Central Wholesale Market became perhaps the biggest fish market in the world, although most of the merchandise arrives by air to Narita and is trucked to the market before being trucked out again.  All this is to end in 2016, when the market moves to nearby Toyosu to make way for a road built for the 2020 Olympics.

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Japan: Tokyo: Tsukiji picture 1

Over 2,000 tons of seafood comes through the market every day.  Most is boxed, but some, like this tuna, is too big for that.

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Standard boxes.

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Live shellfish, oxygenated.

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Scallops and clams.

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Oysters and shrimp.

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Cockles.

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Octopi. Bautiful in a way, the market can also seem like a charnal house--a place where the life of the sea is captured and put on display the day before its eaten. .

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Geoducks or, more phonetically, gooeyducks.

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Assorted crab.

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Carp and flounder.

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Sole.

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Cutlass fish.

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Whole tuna, freshly auctioned.

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The main act: tuna ready for auctioning.

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Lined up. Bluefin tuna, mostly from Mexico but some from Tunisia, will sell here for about $20 a kilogram. Less valuable bigeye tuna sell for half as much and come from Australia, Indonesia, Viet Nam, and the Maldives. 

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Still frozen: these fish have come a long way.

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Buyers and sellers.

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The bidding starts.

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Keeping track. 

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Theatrics.

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Shrewd customers.

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The fish is sold and labelled.

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Decapitation.

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Tidying up. The market has unfortunately been closed to visitors during the early-morning hours, when all the action takes place.


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